In the past couple of months Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have been taking an active stance against fake engagement. They’ve asked popular “botting” companies, like Instagress, to stop offering their services and polluting the social media pool.
Sad news to all of you who fell in love with Instagress: by request of Instagram we've closed our web-service that helped you so much. pic.twitter.com/sIRYfFVywX— Instagress (@instagress) April 20, 2017
In non-tech terms, “instagram-related botting” refers to the automation of likes, comments, and follows. Instagress was one of the most prominent companies offering automated engagement services for Instagram Accounts, where a user could set certain rules and the service would automatically engage with relevant accounts.
Followers, likes, comments and views have traditionally been content creators’ strongest metric for success. When companies were looking for relatable personalities, their first check was followers and levels of engagement. As a result, artificial engagement services like Instagress found a way to take advantage of the system and farm engagement.
As Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook became more aware of ghost accounts and fake engagement they’ve improved their algorithms in pursuit of better metrics than the follower and like count. View time, shares, click-through rate, and UTM parameters have all become more important than an Influencer’s follower number.
Following the desire for “true engagement”, the advertising world turned its eye to the micro-influencer, a social media figure whose follower count ranges from 10,000 to 100,000, as a purveyor of true internet connectivity. Their smaller communities are more reminiscent of a close group of friends. Smaller numbers mean more intimate conversations and closer relationships.
From independent labels trying to build brand image to retail behemoths like Adidas, brands are heavily incorporating these micro-influencers into their marketing campaigns for the “more authentic” communities they’ve cultivated around their personal brands. However, a recent article by Digiday raised questions about the legitimacy of these micro influencers and their own use of botting services. Even the smaller players have been caught faking engagement and inflating their numbers.
Aside from the shuttering of Instagress, there hasn’t been a platform-wide shakeup this big since the 2014 “Instagram Rapture”, when millions of fake followers and accounts were deleted overnight. The most infamous victim of the purge was the user chiragchirag78, who went from 3,660,476 to just 8 followers overnight.
In evaluating the current changes, it’s important to examine the popularity of botting services rather than why they exist. Why are individuals so desperate to inflate their follower metrics?
Growth. Brand Recognition. Money. Traditionally likes and followers have been the gateway to success on these platforms, so users have pursued them through whatever means necessary.
As social media advertising has matured, the pure focus on followers is being replaced with an attempt to better understand influence. In response, larger social media platforms are actively culling fake accounts and penalizing people who use them. There’s a focus on authentic interaction and genuine reach. Brands are getting smarter about recognizing influencers and putting more of a stake in relationships instead of numbers.
At the end of the day you cannot brute force engagement. You can make smart data-driven decisions to improve it.
How can you cultivate that elusive organic engagement? Here are some easy steps you can include in your social strategy.
Have a good ratio of evergreen to trending content.
- The internet is always buzzing with the latest meme or pop culture reference (#covfefe anyone? Even that’s old now…), but it’s equally as important to have a cornerstone article that provides useful information your audience will keep coming back for.
- Interact with your audience
- Most important of all: Test
- AB testing is something that everyone has dabbled in, but that can seem daunting to start and difficult to integrate into your daily routine. You’ve all heard the excuses: “testing takes time”, “it’s hard to think of different headlines and images”, “I have to train the new intern on how to AB test”, “we don’t have the budget for it”. In the end, intelligent data gathering will always trump brute force methods for getting impressions, likes, and followers.
We want to take the intelligent route to moving the needle. Whether you’re a testing veteran or a beginner, Naytev makes the dark testing process as easy as possible.
With Naytev you can test 6-9 Packages of Content (different headers, post text, and thumbnails), whether they’re links, photos, or videos, and instantly publish the content to your page with earned engagement.
It’s that simple.
When testing with Naytev we also allow you the freedom to scale up to implement testing across teams at your own speed. Streamline work, grow engagement, and get results.
Have questions? Talk to us in chat! What do you think about Instagram shutting down Instagress?