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Your formula to make it big on Instagram

It is getting harder for brands to attract eyeballs

SAMAA | - Posted: May 29, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago
Posted: May 29, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago

Instagram is a platform with huge marketing potential. It has one billion monthly active users, 64% of users between 18 and 34 years, 25+ million business accounts, and a projected $18 billion USD in ad revenue this year.

But, amid this cut-throat competition, it is getting harder for brands to attract eyeballs and grow their Instagram organically.

They are constantly looking for answers on how to increase engagement, grow followers organically, what is the right time to post and how many hashtags to use in a caption.

Lucky for them, answers lie in the Instagram Engagement Report 2021. They data in the report is based on the analysis of 100 million Instagram posts shared across one million accounts.

Based on that data, it provides answers for questions like:

  • how many hashtags to include in the caption
  • how long the caption should be
  • what is the best time to post on Instagram
  • which influencers get the highest engagement

Here are some key insights from the report that that would be valuable for businesses to grow their Instagram followers organically.

How to engage your audience?

Audience engagement is calculated by adding up the average likes and comments that you receive per post, divided by your total number of followers.

The average engagement of an Instagram post in 2020 was just 2.2.6%, that too if we add the engagements for posts by highly popular accounts.

One interesting insight is the decrease in engagement for image posts. In 2020, video posts were more likely to receive a higher number of likes and comments on average. This was followed by carousel posts, then single image posts.

There has also been a change in the way audience engages with posts. Engagement with posts via likes and comments is going down, and now users now engaging by saving, sharing, or simply viewing posts.

So, if you are looking to grow your Instagram organically, you need to focus more on video content. New features like Insta reels and stories are more effective in engaging the audience.

How long should the captions be

Longer captions receive more engagement on the Instagram.

The median engagement rate increases as captions got longer, and was highest with posts with captions between 1,000 & 2,000 characters.

The sweet spot of engaging caption length in the 500–1,000 and 1,000–2,000 characters range.


Hashtags or no hashtags? Too many hashtags or too few hashtags?

These have been the most contentious questions when it comes to posting on Instagram.

This report says: less hashtags.

In 2021, the average Instagram post had 6.93 hashtags, down from an average of 10.74 hashtags last year.

Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post. However, there is no proof that adding too many hashtags result in more engagement. Surprisingly, as the number of hashtags increased, average engagement rates dropped.

Top Instagram hashtags don’t necessarily bring engagement. The most engaging hashtags appear to be less generic than the most popular ones such as #love and #instagood.

This means brands should look for their personalized hashtags specific to their niche and steer away from highly popular and generic hashtags.

When to post on Instagram

It is no secret that engagement on Instagram fluctuates with time.

According to this report, engagements spike in the early evening between 6:00–8:00pm local time. This is the time of highest engagements.

Other peak hours for engagement are between 12:00-01:00pm local time.

The trick is to optimize your posting around the audience’s schedule to ensure that your brand is present as they scroll their Instagram feed

What day to post

The best day to post on Instagram depends on the nature of account. For lifestyle, restaurant, travel or blogs, the audience is likely to be more active on weekends.

For businesses, and news channels, followers engage more during weekdays.

For weekends, posts made on Sunday do slightly better than posts on Saturday. For week days, Monday is the best day for engagement, followed by Friday. Midweek see least engagement.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to growing your Instagram followers, reach and engagements. But, these insights give the basic idea on how to curate your instagram strategy for maximum reach and engagement.

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