Instagram likes and comments are plummeting

Instagram misses your likes.
Instagram misses your likes.
Image: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
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People can’t seem to keep up with Instagram. According to new data from social media analytics firm Quintly, the number of interactions—likes and comments—on Instagram photos posted by professional users, such as celebrities and brands, fell by an average of 27% between March 2015 and March 2016. For videos, interactions dropped by 39% in the same period.

Quintly believes the decline in interactions is a natural byproduct of Instagram’s growing user base; more posts means more competition for eyeballs (and thumb taps). The company found in the same study that Instagram users are publishing more frequently—just over one post per day, on average. (By contrast, Quintly found that Facebook users post an average of twice a day.)

The company also found that more popular accounts saw a steeper drop in interactions.

In other words, interactions aren’t down because Instagram is boring users. Instead, Quintly believes timelines are just more crowded now. As of September, Instagram reported 400 million monthly active users, an increase of about 100 million from a year earlier.

“This is normal; as Instagram matures, there’ll be less interactions,” says Quintly spokesperson Julian Gottke. “It’s really important for marketers to know that [their] goals can’t be the same as last year. It’s not realistic, and you can’t measure [success] the same way.”

For its study, Quintly monitored 13,000 Instagram accounts, belonging to its clients. Its sample size included accounts for professional athletes, politicians, celebrities, and corporate brand accounts, among others.