If you have landed on this article, then you have probably heard of the words “Instagram Shadowban” in your Facebook Groups or Instagram Engagement Pods. However, did you know that the Instagram Shadowban could be limiting your growth, engagement and overall reach on Instagram? The Shadowban is a viral term that gained momentum in the early stages of Instagram. This banning has caused massive influencers to become invisible practically overnight.
Do you want to learn more about how your Instagram account is affected by the shadowban? Are you worried that your Instagram account might get shadowbanned? Do you need to remove the Instagram Shadowban from your account? If you said yes, to any of the previous questions you are in luck! Just below in this article, we are going to cover all and more about the infamous Instagram Shadowban.
Is the Instagram Shadowban Killing Your Engagement?
Have you noticed that your posts are receiving fewer likes, not showing up for hashtags and overall account reaching significantly fewer people? If all the above is true, you could be a victim to the mysterious Instagram Shadowban.
Instagram Shadowbanning is having users & influencers go crazy! Dropping engagement, by making newly available posts invisible to non-followers. The instagram shadowban is causing growth to come to a screeching halt for affected accounts.
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What Exactly is the Instagram Shadowban?
Instagram Shadowban: Shadowban, by definition, is the act of blocking a user from an online community in such a way that they don’t realize that they’ve been banned. In Instagram’s case, shadowbanning involves hiding your Instagram posts from users who don’t follow you. This is detrimental to an accounts growth!
Shadowbanning is not a new term in the social media space. It has been around since the early days for Twitter, where certain tweets were “harder to find” for certain accounts. However, Twitter quickly came out to state that there is no Shadowbanning on its platform. Simply, the Twitter Algorithm for post relevancy had a defect that caused this issue. So it wasn’t an intentional shadowban, but the result of an algorithm change on the platform.
Instagram has been implementing new explore page algorithms updates since June of 2016. While these new updates do provide great upgrades for the platform. There have been an increasing number of issues in terms of engagement and reach as a result. Many accounts have seen a significant drop in engagement after updates. Some influencer accounts have dropped as low as 50% in engagement!
Now, this doesn’t mean that if your account has been decreasing in engagement, that it’s been shadowbanned. Instagram stated the following:
All this talk of losing engagement could simply be an issue Instagram is trying to resolve with their hashtag algorithm. Which would be reminiscent of the Twitter Shadowbanning fiasco that we talked about previously. However, Alex Tooby believes that this could be Instagram’s way of disguising the announcement of the so-called “shadowban“.
Instagram’s Focus on Content Creation
This blanket statement from Instagram is something that is to be expected. We cannot forget that the reason Instagram started was to be a photo-sharing app between friends. The focus of the platform is almost entirely on the creation of unique and creative content. Howevever, as the monthly user base grows by the millions almost every single month. Brands, businesses and even influencers are starting to take advantage of the exposure and reach attained on the platform.
With so many accounts hoping on the social platform and striving to be the fastest growing account on Instagram. It seems Instagram is subtly telling account owners that this type of growth strategy is not going to work in the long run for your brand or business. Instagram wants account owners to focus more on content with value for their followers instead focusing on growing their follower count.
Understand that hashtags are a major gateway to organic target audiences. Having an account shadowbanned could lead to a huge decrease in followers and leads!
What Causes an Account to be Shadowbanned?
Instagram has yet to put out a formal statement as to the cause of shadowbanning. However, we do have some possible causes of the infamous “Instagram Shadowban”.
- Your Using Software that Violates Instagram’s Terms of Service. This includes but is not limited to, fake follower websites, auto-posting websites(not to be confused with push notifications like Buffer), fake likes websites and many others. Instagram has been cracking down on this and has even caused MassPlanner and Instagress to be shut down.
- You’re Exceeding your Daily/Hourly Limits. You have a limit as to how much you can engage within a given time frame. This engagement extends from likes to follows. Each engagement method is given a max amount per time period that cannot be exceeded. However, there is a 3-month growth process that enables your account to earn higher engagement rates as time moves on. Depending on the age of your account you receive 150 likes, 60 comments, and 60 follow/unfollow per hour.
- You’re using a broken or abused hashtag. Instagram has millions of users to keep track of. Monitoring each one on a daily basis is next to impossible. However, Instagram can monitor hashtags. As of last year, innocent hashtags such as #elevator can become overrun with nudity, spam, and racially insensitive material. When Instagram realizes that a hashtag has been “broken” they either ban or limits its use. Utilizing any broken hashtag on your post can stop you from ranking for that hashtag and others. Preventing you from ranking at all!
- Your account is continually being reported. Violating the terms of service or Community Guidelines (copyright, spam, infringement, etc.) is the fastest way to get on Instagram’s radar. Instagram may fully disable your account or give you a lengthy shadowban to put your account in timeout.
How Do I know If I Have Been Shadowbanned?
To determine if your account is a victim of shadowbanning. Gather 4-5 users that do not follow you (your friends can unfollow temporarily for this). Have them check to see if your most recent post is visible for a specific hashtag. Use a small hashtag that is not used by millions to discover your post quickly. For example, #yourbrandsname that way only your brands images will appear.
If no one can see your post, it’s possible you have been banished to the shadow realm. If some of the users see your post, then it’s more likely that your engagement has simply just dropped on your account (click here for solutions).
In addition, there are software systems that will detect if your account has been shadowbanned. But use them wisely, if they ask for login credentials it’s possible that the site is a squeeze page to steal accounts.
If your account has been shadowbanned, fear not we have some ways to remove the instagram shadowban!
How Do I Remove Instagram Shadowban?
Instagram has yet to release a full statement, giving insight to the remedy of the shadowban virus. However, through extensive research, we have compiled some of the top solutions that users have utilized to remove Instagram Shadowban.
Here are 7 Ways to Remove Instagram Shadowban:
- Go cold turkey. Reduce your activity significantly. Try to post and engage the bare minimum. Some users have gone 3 days,
others for 2 weeks before the ban is lifted. The lack of activity appears to be a reset button for your account.
- Delete Hashtags from a recent post. Instagram claims to have a “hashtag glitch”. Utilizing “broken hashtags” in your post may be infecting your other hashtags. Essentially, “breaking” all of them in the process.
- Remove hashtags from a recent post. This trick helps a lot of people and it appears to be the fastest way to remove the Instagram shadowban. In addition, users have reported changing up hashtags keeps your account somewhat protected. It signifies to Instagram that you are an active user and not a bot.
- Place Hashtags in Caption. Placing hashtags in the comments allows for your post to appear clean and concise. However, users have reported that putting hashtags in the comments have gotten their post shadowbanned in 1-2 hrs. Place your hashtags in the caption. Utilize bullet points or hyphens to push the hashtags farther down to keep your post clean and concise.
Summer days are the best!
#summer #summerfun #yrcharisma #apexpack
- Don’t Overload with hashtags. I am a firm believer in utilizing all 30 hashtags, each hashtag is an opportunity to reach a different spectrum of your target audience. Limiting your hashtags limits your growth. However, some users have reported the ban being lifted after they:
- Remove hashtags from an old post
- Post hashtags in the caption
- Use less than 30 hashtags
- “Report a Problem” to Instagram through the app: This is the simplest and most effective way to contact Instagram.
A few people are diligent enough to report the issue continuously until it was fixed.
- Do not switch to a business profile. When you switch to a business profile you signal to Instagram that you are a business. Instagram generates much of its revenue off paid ads from business and brands. Remember in 2007 when Facebook made pages’ organic search nonexistent?
Well, hello? Facebook owns Instagram. So it makes sense that they would cross-pollinate their strategies. It is only natural that Instagram will make businesses pay more for reach, engagement, and followers. Those handy tools that accompany a business account are not free.
- Switch back to a personal account. But remember to unlink your Instagram profile from your facebook page. The two go hand in hand. Since Facebook Pages are the advertising platform for both Facebook and Instagram.
1. Go Cold Turkey
2. Delete Hashtags from recent posts
3. Place Hashtags in Caption
4. Don’t Overload with hashtags.
5. Report a Problem
6. Do not switch to business profile
7. Switch back to a personal account
Is Instagram cracking down on black hat strategies? Yes! The Instagram Shadowban is just the beginning. It is my belief that as Instagram continues to grow by the hundreds of millions every year that their algorithm, community guidelines, and other tools may change in order to restrict those abusing the power platform. However, I do find it rather overzealous to shadowban an account for using consistent hashtags. Hashtags are the bread and butter of organic growth. Simply because we have done our research and found the most effective hashtags for our industry does not warrant a shadowban. But like Facebook, Instagram will soon adopt similar attributes to generate revenue from its users. Becoming a more brand-driven platform appears to be the direction that Instagram is heading for.