What is an Instagram Shadow Ban

Okay, so Instagram has thrown a lot of curve balls our way in the last year or so. Most of it has been exciting and some of it taking some patience and learning. But over the last couple of weeks we have been getting Direct Messages from our clients and friends asking why are their engagement numbers down?

Well, my friends, this is when the term Instagram Shadow Ban enters the picture.

This term Shadow Ban has been swirling around for the last week or so and it has gotten many people scared.  Instagram has not officially come out and acknowledged this “shadow ban” but it has in an indirect way acknowledged it by releasing an official statement on their facebook.  Mentioning that there is some things that they are trying to work out and for the time being they emphasize creating good, creative and unique content.  It seems this is all on to the road of Instagram working on their algorithm.  

what is an instagram shadow ban

What is an Instagram Shadow Ban?

An Instagram Shadow Ban is when particular hashtags become un discoverable. This means, you might be using hashtags that are supposed to help you get discovered when someone types in that hashtag. But instead, with the Shadow ban, these particular hashtags are only discoverable to the people currently following you.  This means that you won’t show up in the feed of someone that DOESN’T follow you which then has a major impact on the reach of your account and impacts your account being discovered by a new audience

Have I been Hit by The Shadow Ban?

This one can be a bit hard to say concretely but if you have been doing what you always do on your Instagram Account but all of sudden have been seeing a decrease in engagement, likes and comments on your posts, and you feel like the only interaction you seem to be getting with your posts are from your current followers, then this is a good indication that the shadow ban has hit your account.

Things to do to avoid the Shadow Ban on Instagram

  1. Do NOT use Bots, or buy followers, or do anything that does anything automatically on Instagram

This is always a major “no-no” in our books, because even before the shadow ban this has always shown to have an impact on your instagram account.  But the key here is that Instagram really does not like third party interference! It will pick up on this and your account will definitely be punished for it.  Note this does not include schedulers, these don’t post automatically for you, you still have to do the posting, so continue to schedule your instagram posts!

      2.   Stop using the EXACT same Hashtags All the Time!

It’s always important to change up your hashtags.  Using the exact same hashtags for a long period of time is something Instagram is also picking up on and might cause you to be shadow banned. This is because Instagram is seeing this to be too spammy. You also want to double check your hashtags, there are some popular hashtags that have been highjacked and are NSFW and this might not be as obvious but Instagram might have picked up on this and doesn’t like the use of it.

       3. Inconsistency

As we have spoken about again and again on buzzing creatives is that one of the keys to success on Instagram is consistency.  This also applies to the shadow ban.  Instagram is able to pick up on inactivity and then big surges of activity, and let’s just say Instagram really doesn’t like this.  So don’t go on a crazy posting spree, nor is it a good idea to follow a whole bunch of accounts or do a massive unfollowing of accounts all at once.  

Okay, so what if you feel like you have been affected by the shadow ban? We recommend trying these things to help resolve this:

  1. Take a little Instagram Break. People have seen to noticed an improvement if they are inactive for about 24-48 hours on Instagram.  Everything should go back to being “normal”

  2. Do an audit of your Instagram Hashtags.  Make sure you are changing up your hashtags and create new lists with a different mixture of hashtags

  3. If you are using any sort of automation / bots - we highly recommend you stop doing so.

This all is again not official information from Instagram, it’s from Instagram users and experts that we have curated this information from.