What I learnt on Instagram this month

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A peek into my Stats - June

Every month I (Bronte's mum) look at the data on Bronte’s Instagram account and try to make sense of what it means. It use to be easy; we could always tell which picture would do well and which wouldn’t do so well. Now the whole thing seems a totally mystery, like someone has changed the rules and we are all still trying to figure it out.

This month her engagement ranges between 8,500 likes to 2,500; a huge difference, with the bottom all being ads or gifted products, which isn’t unusual I guess. This never use to be the way until we understood the correct way to label ads and yes, this had an impact but not enough so to make us worried. We are proud of the ads we create and if people don’t want to engage with them that’s cool too. But we know it’s not because we lowered our standards or took items that were inauthentic to Bronte or her feed. The top two pictures, did not surprise me at all; even I look at them and think they are really great pictures, one having  nearly a 50,000 reach, 59% not following and the other over 35,500 with 36% not following, both very respectful figures. When we shift to the amount to follows gained from each post this shifts the top around a lot and while the top one stays the same, Bronte on the bed seems to be a firm favorite, which I know sounds odd. And then if we shift and look at impressions the whole list changed again. The photo with the most impressions did not get the most likes.

So what have I learnt this month from my data analysis?

1. The likes no longer have it.

I think the way people are interacting with photos is changing, in fact I see myself doing this. The better a picture is, if I am enticed by it so much I leave a comment and I often forget to like it. I often see this on Bronte’s; a picture with a lot of comments can often have fewer likes. I think that when we comment we often also forget to like. So for me I think the days of judging something merely on likes may be going and instead we move into real engagement, which seems great.

Also, some of the pictures that did well shocked me a little as they were so simple and literally took minutes to set up, versus some of the more complicated ones that can take hours.

2. As an audience changes so do their tastes.

A few months ago these pictures (like the one below) would not have done so well in her  feed, but as the audience changes, so do their tastes. These are also more of the types of photos we wanted on our feed, so we seeded them in gradually, the first few didn’t do so well but as the audience got used to them they are now some of our best performing pictures. So if you wanted to change the direction of your feed, add a few of these new types of photos and let the audience get used to them before you put more in.

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3. What we loved our audience didn't.

The pictures that we loved the most tended not to be the ones that the audience loved the most but that’s OK because we loved them. I think it’s important you create for yourself first and foremost and we are OK taking the hit on a photo if we love it.

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4. Engagement on ads is half the normal rate.

Whenever we post an ad or gifted post the engagement seems to be half of normal, which is consistent now as I can say with certainty that it is a thing. This is nothing to do with the algorithm and all to do with the fact that people don’t engage as much with ads and its all cool. However, I can’t help feeling slightly annoyed that people aren’t using the ad and gifted correctly and gaining an advantage in engagement because they are not putting these words at the beginning of the caption. But for us it’s much more important to be honest with our audience from the start and gain their trust. I’m sure that soon the audience will become much wiser to people pretending that things are not ads when they clearly are. Also I noticed some bigger accounts just doing all ads every day and I’m not sure how I feel about this. For some, their content is so good I don’t care and for others it leaves me feeling icky. I love what Sara Tasker says about the 80/20 rule and we try to never have more than two ads in one of Bronte’s top nine, even though sometimes it does happen by accident.

5. We said No a lot this month.

We also learnt this month that some brands take an age to pay you, which really doesn’t seem fair and some influencer platforms are a nightmare to use, which can be super-annoying. We have also said No this month; to  requests from clothing brands to authors. Some of the e-mails we get are dreadful; maybe I should share some with the names crossed out. They either write an essay and never get to the point or send you two unfriendly lines or worse still clearly have never looked at your feed because they are offering you something you would never show on your feed. It’s all fun.

6. Views in stories tend to be up

Not really sure why as we haven’t changed anything and IGTV seemed to come and go with a bang. we, as well as everyone else, are still trying to figure out what to do with it. Bronte's first video had over 3000 views, which she was pleased with and let’s face it I could never have got that starting afresh on YouTube.

All in all I feel the platform is changing and I actually like the way it is going. It feels like Instagram are trying to make us more of a creator’s community.