Instagram is the star among the social networks. While the prophets of social media have been foreseeing the end of Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat for a long time, Instagram is being praised. However, is all this praise truly deserved? Can you actually reach your fans on Instagram?
Yes, you can. The number of users reached by a post on Instagram is surprisingly high. Especially small profiles reach more than half of their followers with a single post. For profiles with between 500 and 1,000 fans, an average 48% of the followers see the post, thus reflecting enormous value.
It should be noted that not all users who are reached must necessarily be followers of the profile. Through hashtags or the Discover section, the posts can also reach users who are not connected to the profile. Nonetheless, placing the reach in relation to the number of followers still makes sense because it enables comparing profiles of different sizes.
Size does matter
This becomes clear when comparing the reach of profiles of different sizes. As the number of followers increases, the reach per follower decreases. However, there is no reason to complain: with a reach per follower of 10-20%, they are still well served.
While this is less than what small profiles achieve, in absolute terms 20% of 200,000 is still much more than 62% out of 500 followers. Reaching out to 40,000 of one’s 200,000 followers with a single post is hardly possible on Twitter or Facebook.
The values are only averages, of course. Even large profiles can achieve more and smaller profiles sometimes run out empty. However, looking at the distribution within the size groups, something very interesting becomes notable: for smaller profiles, the posts have a larger spread and are distributed symmetrically around the expected mean. Everything seems possible here, from 10% to 90%.
The situation is different with larger profiles. In the example in the graphic, you can clearly see that the posts of the larger profiles are much less scattered. A profile of the scale of 200,000 to 500,000 followers would find it very difficult to achieve more than 30% coverage per follower.
Same story for Stories
Instagram Stories show the same symptoms of decreasing reach: the smaller profiles reach a larger share of their fans than larger ones. However, it is astounding that the reach of stories is a factor of 2 to 3 below that of posts. Indeed, this applies to all profile classes. One possible reason is that unlike posts, stories have an expiration date of 24 hours. On the other hand, stories might not be as popular as commonly thought.
Even if posts reach three times as many users, you should not jump to conclusions. Only through stories can companies set a link and lure the target group onto their own website. Moreover, even if it is less reach, it is still additional reach, whereby few other networks offer such an opportunity.
Final score: Well done
Overall, business profiles can be satisfied with Instagram, at least in terms of reach and the number of impressions. While the relative reach decreases with the size of the profile, this is neither negative nor surprising. It certainly makes sense to promote smaller and probably newer profiles and shower them with a sense of achievement right at the beginning. After all, Instagram wants to earn money later on with these profiles, by paying for reach. However, this is also not dramatic, because even if you work without advertising, Instagram (still) offers a way to reach followers in a way that Facebook does not. However, is this reach worth anything or is it simply a nice number? We will analyze this in the posts to come…
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