November 4, 2020

Have you noticed your Instagram reach dropping? Is engagement going down? Well, you’re not alone! I know that doesn’t make it better necessarily but this is a perfectly explainable occurrence.

Let’s break it all down:

Holiday Competition

Welcome to the final two months of the year. It’s Black Friday shopping in the US and it’s time for holiday advertising around the world.

We ALWAYS see a huge influx of ad spend with Facebook and Instagram in the last few months of the year as businesses ramp up their ad spend and take out many more ads to promote holiday shopping, products, and promotions. Logically, with more ads to display, organic reach goes down. We literally see this same trend every year.

It’s a simple math reality – more ads equals less organic placement because there just isn’t enough space to fit everything in.

Additionally, you can expect to pay way more for your Instagram and Facebook ads during these months. It’s a supply and demand issue. So yes, maybe you used to reach 1000 people on your monthly budget, and now you’ll reach a few hundred at the same budget. That’s normal!

So, yes, we see this same trend year over year. It’s normal.


It’s 2020…

And let’s face it, 2020 just f**cks everything up.

We have all these metrics and data that show consumer behavior. But all of that data is pre-covid. Back when people commuted to work. When people predictably used social media at set times of the day (lunch break, before bed, on weekends, etc.). But now so many people work from home and don’t have commutes, they have kids around 24/7. What they used to do on weekends, they do on weekdays. They aren’t scrolling through Facebook on the train to work. They are using their home computers throughout the day and maybe checking social media more often but for shorter periods of time.

Nothing is the same as it was when it comes to consumer behavior online.

And that means all our expectations and data are useless this year.

We may find we have more of our customers engaging with our content. Or maybe less. Or maybe the same. Or maybe we have no bleeping idea 

So, we can’t compare our performance to years past and expect any valid representation of performance. For better or worse, this year’s data is an outlier.

But it doesn’t end there…

I talked about all that ad spend. Well guess what? There are way more businesses online now than there were last year. Because they realized that connecting online is kind of a mandatory thing these days. So now we have MORE businesses creating content and buying ads in 2020 than any other year. This is proven by Facebook’s Q3 ad earnings that show a 22% increase over 2019 – and that was with the major companies boycottting Facebook ads during that period. Yeah, for real.

So we have more businesses, more content, more ads. And your content is just trying to fit in among all that other content.

Yes, you will have reduced reach. Yes, that means lower engagement. Yes, it is happening to almost everyone.

And, yes, you can still drive results with Instagram.

What now?

Consider posting less in your feed on Instagram. Don’t flood the content, that will actually hurt you in the long run.

Consider posting more Stories instead of feed posts.

Consider going live more often.

Consider creating Reels (yes, I said it  )

But regardless of what you do… please be strategic. Think long term. Think about your customers. Think about your audience.

How can you serve them? How can you create content THEY want? How can you use creative captions and calls-to-action to drive results that actually lead to conversions?

If you’re strategic, you can still drive results. Less engagement doesn’t have to mean less sales – if you do it right.

And, you can watch this video for more of my unfiltered thoughts on this topic:

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Marketers need to remind themselves that their audience is capable of changing the way they act and behave on different social media platforms. As such, they need to be prepared for any online marketing situation.

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