It’s not just that your content isn’t good — Instagram engagement is down across the board. Overall engagement on the app has dropped by around 44% since 2019, according to a new study by a social media company, Laterwhich analyzed approximately 81 million Instagram posts published between January 2019 and February 2022.
The drop in engagement dates back to when Instagram started pushing Reels in August 2020. The short-form video feature, intended to help Meta compete with the almighty TikTok, has become one of Mark Zuckerberg’s most prized possessions. . Unfortunately for us, this didn’t translate to a better Instagram experience.
With Zuckerberg plotting Meta’s every move according to the best way he could TikTok, user experience on Facebook and Instagram took a backseat. And TikTok continues to dominate, to hell with Zuckerberg’s interference.
Barely two percent — In its analysis, Later only focused on Instagram feed posts that were not created using the Reels feature. Classic video posts were the hardest hit year over year, with average engagement rates dropping from around 5% to just under 2% from 2019 to 2021.
Carousel posts received the most engagement in 2019 and managed to maintain that crown through 2021, although these also saw a significant drop in average engagement. The average engagement rate for all stream posts in 2019 hovered around 5.16% – in 2021 it had dropped to 2.88%.
In its own social strategy, Later found that engagement rates skyrocketed nearly 500% after integrating Reels. It’s evident through this kind of hard data that Instagram gives an algorithmic preference to Reels over other content.
It’s TikTok against the world — For most of Instagram’s life, engagement has been the name of the game — not just in the number of clicks each post receives, but also in keeping users busy and eager to come back to the app. This is how we ended up with an algorithmic flow in the first place.
Now that TikTok has become such a global force, Mark Zuckerberg is scared. Facebook is losing users. Instagram is Meta’s latest foothold in youth culture, and Zuck isn’t ready to let that slip away.
As an almost identical TikTok clone, Reels is where Meta decided to host its latest stand. We’ll be watching Zuckerberg pivot to video again and again until the end of time, despite the fun of the process.