Instagram Posts Not Doing So Well? Study Shows How to Maximize Performance

author image Written by: Rob May           Categories - In The News, Social Media

Study Shows How Emojis, Videos and Caption Lengths Affects Instagram Post Performance

A new study of Instagram post performance was conducted by Quintly, a social analytics platform. The study analyzed 5.4 million posts, and 34k Instagram business profiles throughout the month of January 2019. The study gives an overall insight on how these profiles are using the platform and what kind of content drives engagement in a landscape that is shifting fast.

Takeaways from the Report

Post Type

Although users have the choice between videos, images, and carousels, images remain the top format preferred by Instagram users, accounting for 68% of all published posts.

Quintly instagram post typegraph
Source: Quintly
However, it was noted that profiles with a higher follower count tended to post more videos. In fact, the bigger a profile was in terms of followers, the more videos it posted. According to Quintly, by prioritizing images over videos and carousels, smaller businesses are missing out on serious opportunities, as video posts receive up to 49% higher interactions than other formats.
Quintly post type interactions comparison drawing
Source: Quintly
The clear takeaway from this is that brands looking to maximize their performance should include more videos and even carousels in their Instagram strategy.

Post Lengths

More than just types of posts, the study also shed some light on captions, and whether caption length has an impact on post performance. The study showed that there is a visible trend of publishing descriptive posts as 67% businesses use more than 150 characters and 35.8% over 300 characters for their captions.

Quintly distribution of post lengths graph
Source: Quintly
So, is there a correlation between profile size and post length? Surprisingly, for profiles with a large following (1-10 million followers), posts with no captions at all can still garner strong interactions. But for users with smaller followings, captions with 1-50 characters tend to receive more interactions.
Quintly post lenght average interactions graph
Source: Quintly
Therefore, it’s clear that brands need to adhere to this rule if they want to improve their interactions.

The Use of Emojis

Quintly also looked into the use of emojis in Instagram posts, and whether they helped to drive interactions. The report stated that “the higher the number of emojis used, the higher the amount of interactions.” It also asserted that businesses are currently not using enough emojis, as 52.3% of all Instagram posts do not include emojis at all. This research shows that no matter the size of the Instagram account, posts that don’t include any emojis receive the lowest interactions.

Quintly average interactions graph
Source: Quintly
emojis can have a positive effect on your posts as they often go along with more interactions, Overall, this is an indication that Including emojis in posts should benefit businesses.

The Use of Hashtags

The final part of the study analyzed the use of hashtags in Instagram posts. Predictably, the smallest profiles in terms of followers used the highest number of hashtags in their posts, which contained an average of 4-10 hashtags. Meanwhile the bigger profiles (10m+ followers) used much fewer hashtags. Quintly concluded that the bigger your audience, the less likely you’ll need to use hashtags. But for the  majority of users, using more hashtags is a better option as it provides more exposure.

Quintly hashtag average interactions graph
Source: Quintly
All in all, how your business performs on Instagram will come down to the various, specific elements you choose to enact, but these findings can help you improve your performance and maximize your results. You can access the full data here.

Rob May

Instagram Updating Its Ranking Algorithm 


Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram is adding a few changes in order to put more focus on creators and the credit they get. One of the mentioned changes is updating its ranking algorithm with the goal to put more focus on original work. Judging by the number of copy-paste posts we’ve seen so far, this update should have been made a long time ago.


Making Sure The Credit Goes To Those Who Deserve It

Instagram announced the following changes:

  • Product Tags – it will now be available to everyone. So, no matter who you are, you will be able to tag products and drive traffic and attention to a business, creator or a company that they like.
  • Enhanced People Tags – now, you can add a category for yourself (into profile, edit profile) which will show up when you are tagged in a photo or a video. This makes sure you have your identity be what you want it to be, and credited according to your wishes.
  • Ranking – people that actually created something from scratch should be more credited for that, so the algorithm will focus more on that kind of content.

“We are going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content. So, more to come there as well.” – said Mosseri in the announcement.

But, what does it exactly mean? As mentioned in SocialMediaToday, the changes in ranking are not that well explained and it’s not clear if any penalization will happen.

What Will Affect The Ranking?

The Twitter community did have some questions regarding the originality of content and asked about editing outside of the app. If you remember, Instagram started down-ranking content that was re-shared from other apps. So, if you will be re-posting your TikTok with a watermark on it, your content will still be penalized. However, if you only edited it off the Instagram app, that shouldn’t be a problem and won’t affect your rank.

Still, Mosseri admits that Instagram can’t know for sure if a content piece is an original or not. They only build classifiers that will show how likely something is to be an original, but they can never know for sure. It’s still a work in progress.

Posting History Is Also A Factor

Content aggregators are the focus of this update, and Instagram will be able to determine this with the account’s posting history. Instagram is more likely to detect that an account is an aggregator if it re-posts a lot of content from other accounts.” So if you’re re-posting a lot of content from other accounts, you’ll likely see a drop in reach.

The main goal of the whole update is, as we mentioned, to give more credit to original creators, but the system is not yet perfect. However, Mosseri said that Instagram will continue to improve its detection features over time to better distinguish where the content comes from and who posts original content, to promote the real creators and reduce the influence of big farm accounts.

It looks like it’s time to say goodbye to reposting trending memes in order to boost engagement.


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Google’s Updates You Need To Understand


We mentioned the new Vicinity update Google has going on. It was an algorithm update no one was prepared for and caused quite a commotion in the community. To avoid history from repeating itself, we must learn from our mistakes – and what better way than going through all of the things that have already happened? It could benefit you if you go through all the major updates Google had in store in the past year and come up with a strategy for the year ahead.

Google Search Biggest Updates in 2021:

For us to have the most relevant and reliable results, Google Search Algorithms are updated thousands of times throughout the year. Of course, most of them go unnoticed, but every now and then one comes along *cough cough* Vicinity *cough cough* and makes a mess. That’s why it’s better to keep track of each change, make sure to understand what is happening and learn how to use them so it can benefit you.

The Page Experience Update

This update was designed to improve the website experience searchers have. Mobile usability, security issues, HTTPS usage, Web Vitals and Ad Experience are all taken into account. The main goal is safer browsing for users and resurfacing flags in the Page Experience Report.

What To Do?

  • Work on your loading speed
  • Make sure your page has a mobile-friendly version, with no usability errors
  • Make sure your page is secure and use HTTPS
  • Don’t use interruptive, distracting or unfavourable advertising techniques

Here’s a helpful resource for optimizing your page for this update.

Link Spam Update

This was when Google reminded us about the importance of good content and quality links. The update was and still is effective at identifying and nullifying link spam across multiple languages.

What To Do?

  • You need high-quality link building
  • Create high-quality content
  • Focus and improve the user experience
  • Avoid useless linking!

Broad Core Updates

It took longer than expected, but it is done. As usual, Google didn’t offer a lot of advice on how to deal with a core update except to try hard all the time. This update had also caused big commotion since we saw some pretty weird pages ranking high. The conclusion was, again, to use quality backlinks.

ProTip! – Improving content and backlinks might help you to recover more than fixing the technical aspect!

Product Reviews Update

This update was designed to reward in-depth product reviews and “punish” irrelevant, summary-of-a-product type of content. Instead, a review should be relevant and detailed. We have also learned that Google and potential customers like seeing realistic reviews, even if that means seeing a few bad ones as well.

What to do?

  • Write longer, knowledgeable reviews
  • Add your own content, not just the manufacturer description
  • Describe how a product has evolved from previous models
  • Include the Pros and Cons

Here’s more advice on what you should know about the product reviews update and how to handle it.


Google also introduced us to the Multitask Unified Model which uses AI to help searchers. It “speaks” 75 different languages and understands both image and the written word. However, it might understand much more in the future, since Google keeps saying they’re working on expanding this capability to video and audio.

One of the first things MUM learned to do is to keep track of vaccine queries and it will continue bringing more understanding to Google’s algorithms.


This is a fresh one and we’re still trying to figure out what exactly happened so that keywords aren’t as important anymore. Maybe the lesson with this update is not to violate Google’s guidelines and add keywords for the sake of it. It seems like new businesses are winning with this one.


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