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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Instagram Shadowban UPDATE!

Instagram Shadowban Experiment UPDATE!

This post is a follow-up to my original post about the Instagram Shadow-ban. If you haven't read that yet, this one probably won't make much sense, so check that out first at the banner below!

Done that? Awesome!

As you know, I ran an experiment to test whether Instagram Business accounts are selectively shadow-banned to encourage businesses to  pay for ads. I decided to switch back to a Personal account and see if my engagement and visibility changed dramatically.

Just to remind you guys, here were my stats before I switched my account from Business to Personal:

  • 3,290 followers, and  90 and 130 likes on average. 
  • Anywhere between 20 and 100 new followers every week
  • Every other post got a few comments, and about every eighth post got a lot of comments.

The hypothesis

Based off the shadow-ban concept, the theory was that Business accounts have their views drop dramatically, so that they have no choice but to pay for Instagram ads. So the hypothesis we tested was that switching to a Personal account would cause visibility and engagement to rise dramatically.

The controls:

In order to keep the comparison fair, I kept my posting schedule and content pretty much the same. Colour schemes, caption styles and hashtag lists were as similar as possible, and I made no significant changes to my profile description.


These couple of weeks happened to co-incide with the loss of someone very close to me. As a result, I was unable to post anything to any of my channels for a couple of days, Instagram included. I did notify my followers and received nothing but kind, sympathetic DMs and comments, which truly helped me through this difficult time, so a massive thank you to everyone who sent me a lovely message.

The Results:

As of 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27th, here are my Instagram stats:

  • 3,336 followers, and anywhere between 60 to 150 likes on individual posts.
  • An average of only about 20 new followers each week.
  • The number and frequency of comments on my posts remained pretty much the same.
I did notice that my follower count grew steadily, i.e. there wasn't quite as much fluctuation with follows and unfollows as there was in the weeks before the switch. 

Another noticeable difference was the massive fluctuation in engagement for each individual post. The range of how many likes each post gets was rather large. With the Business account, I could see older posts gaining more engagement as time went by, but as a Personal account, this simply didn't happen. In other words, older posts didn't get any more attention after about a day or two. 

But all in all, there was no dramatic change - better or worse - and changing back to a Personal account didn't really do much for my popularity on Instagram.

Factors to consider:

Now it wouldn't be truly scientific to draw strong conclusions based on this tiny experiment for a few reasons.

  1.  The sample size is literally just one. We'd need way more data to draw any reliable conclusions from this experiment.
  2. We only ran the experiment for two weeks. Perhaps there might be an amazing change in the next month or so.
  3. I have found that, in general, activity on Instagram is unusually low in the first quarter of the year, and unusually high in the last quarter. This could have made a difference to the data.
Switching Back

As of right now, I've switched my Instagram account back to Business, for a number of reasons. 

The first and most important one is that I need people to be able to drop me an e-mail without having to hunt for an address. As a follower, there is nothing that irritates me more than having to climb a mountain just to get in touch with someone, and I ain't putting the rest of you through that!

Secondly, the results pretty much show that having a Business account doesn't necessarily mean your posts automatically shadow-banned.

And finally, this entire exercise taught me one crucial lesson: I don't care.

I don't care about the numbers, I don't really care about having more likes or followers than someone else. All I want out of this brand is to create useful, informative and entertaining content, and it doesn't matter to me how many people see it, but rather what it makes them feel if they do see it.

So I guess the big take-away from this elaborate (not really) experiments is that the second you let go of the pressure of having a certain number of followers, or the feeling of not being "legit" enough to share content if no one is seeing it - once you let go of all that crap, you get to truly enjoy creating.

The only thing that really matters is what you think about your content, and the kind of impact you want to create in this world. Everything else is simply numbers, and if you live your life by a counter, you miss out on all the amazing opportunities to connect with actual people.

So there we go, guys, personally, the whole Business-ban thing seems a bit too tin-foil-y to me, and it honestly doesn't even matter as much as I thought it would.

Have any of you guys tried this experiment? Share with the rest of us what you found in the comments section of this post!

And remember, if you like this post, please take a second to share it with someone else who might find it interesting, too!

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Instagram Shadowban Experiment UPDATE

Alrighty, my little conspiracy theorists, I'll see you again very soon with more interesting ideas! Thank you so much for spending some time with me today, and I hope you have an amazing Wednesday! 

All my love,

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