Instagram has been THE hottest social media platform over the past couple of years. Over one billion active monthly users are uploading selfies or showing off their recent trip to the Maldives. Whether you like it or not, everyone is on Instagram. You’d think that with more active users, there would be an influx in the Instagram engagement rate, right? Well, you’d be wrong. 

From a recent report, Instagram engagement rates have declined significantly between May and July 2019. And by engagement rate, we’re talking about the total number of engagements on a post divided by the size of the account’s following at the time of posting. So, why has instagram reached dropped and how does it effect your brand? A decrease in engagement means a decrease in visibility on the Instagram feed. This creates something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fewer engagements means less visibility, which ultimately means… fewer engagements. Let’s take a look at three possible reasons why Instagram likes have dropped.

Seeing as we are a social media agency in London, if your brand is really going through a tough time during this Instagram engagement drought, don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

1. Branded Content Saturating Feeds

An analysis was conducted on branded accounts in 2019 which showed that the average instagram engagement rate in April was 1.4%, but now it has dropped to 0.8%.  Which is quite a downfall in such a short amount of time. One of the reasons we believe that engagement has declined is due to the saturation in branded content. Have you noticed this on your feed?

It is beginning to get more and more difficult for people to differentiate the distinction between ads and organic posts on Instagram. This might have an influence on whether people engage with a post or not. Brands can now sponsor organic influencer content which means that your feed can become overwhelmed with unsolicited material. This material will most likely look like stuff you actually signed up to see on your feed. With 50% of Instagram users following at least one brand, users are becoming more wary about whether to engage with what may seemingly look like organic posts. But in fact, they are ads. Sneaky, right?

2. The Rise of Micro-influencers

Micro-influencers have now entered the conversation. So, how do they contribute to the significant decrease in the instagram engagement rate? Well, micro-influencers are users who have over 10,000 followers on Instagram. These Instagram users may not have the highest reach compared to the Kylie Jenners of the Instagram world, but what they do have is a specific target audience. They have the power to influence their niche because of the strong bond they have with their followers. Due to the smaller amount of people they reach, micro-influencers have built a close-knit online community to create a more personal connection with followers than big brands. This supports the idea that users nowadays are more likely to engage with people they consider as ‘friends’ or who they relate to. Ultimately, dropping the overall instagram engagement rate.

3. Limiting Screen Time 

With Apple introducing a feature on their iphones enabling users to set allowances and limits on screen time and app use, people are actually using them. Users are becoming more self aware of how much time they spend on their phones and the possible negative impact this has on their mental health, that they are actively limiting their on-screen time. Around 60% of 16 to 25 year olds track their screen time . Considering Instagram’s demographic of users being mainly Millennials and Generation Z, this statistic supports the potential reason why instagram engagement rate has dropped over the past couple of months.

Overall, Instagram’s engagement rate has declined significantly and brands have been hit the hardest. Despite Instagram claiming that they haven’t changed their algorithms, the points above could be possible reasons why your content isn’t getting those likes or comments like they used to… Have YOU felt the effects?


  • Alicia, the digital marketing dynamo herself, is our digital marketing Manager at Monumental. We are yet to find something our Indonesian-Belgian princess can't do. Prior to discovering Monumental, Alicia finished an honours degree in Sociology at the University of Kent and began building her marketing network in the Middle East. Having graced us with her stunning social channel aesthetics and unrivalled powers of Influencer marketing and SEO for several years now, it's no wonder she's giving us that side-eye.