[ANALYSIS] What Is Really Happening to Engagement - The Results of the Instagress Sweep

Obviously tons of people are freaking out about the Instagress shut down. While I’ve spent the entire day figuring out what’s good and bad about this, here is something that people are overlooking completely. So I’ve broken it down based on my research on what I believe is a complete overhaul of Instagram, and a change of functionality and direction of the company.


First off, we should note that Instagress was the most used bot on Instagram, period. With well above average Google Trends and traffic to their website it was without a doubt one of the primary reasons for high engagement across the board on Instagram.

Take a look here at the Google Trends of Instagress compared to Massplanner over a 5 year period of time:

The difference is notable, and I encourage you to compare it to any other Instagram tool ever known, even xgram or Instadominate.

Next, we should take a look at the statistics of Instagress website traffic:


This one particular site claims a staggering 2.58million sessions per month. Let’s take into consideration that in order to actually access the tools themselves, you had to visit the page. Regardless, that number is enormous.

Let’s do another comparison to Massplanner:


This site claims that there are 517,000 sessions per month to Massplanner. Let’s take into consideration that Massplanner is not web based, and therefore we can say that this is still a lot more traffic than any other tool available on the market (now). We should also consider that Massplanner puts many of their guides and is a resource for much more than just Instagram.


Instagress’ growth rate was tremendous, especially since late 2016 where we see giant spikes of people looking for new ways to grow. This only came after the closure of Crowdfire, in mid-2016. Growth as a business was phenomenal, and their process was streamline, user-friendly, and affordable for most individuals and businesses.


Now that we know that Instagress was a sizable beast in the automation world, we can start to guess at what it was doing to the platform itself.

In 2015 this Huffington post article claimed that nearly 8% of accounts on Instagram were bots, at the time there were approximately 300 million users, meaning there were about 24 million bots.

Flash forward to early 2017 and we see that Instagram has nearly 600 million users. If we use the simple math of saying that Instagram has doubled in this time, we could estimate there are maybe 48 million bots.

I would argue here that there are in fact even more than that. I would say that with the rapid increase of Instagress tools in the past year, we could assume that more ‘average’ looking users were in fact botting and hiding from the typical ‘robot’ analysis.

For the sake of the argument though, let’s pretend that there are in fact only 48 million accounts using bots of some form.


There are a significant amount of bots out there no matter how you look at it. In combination of all the tools available, we can’t specifically say how many there are. For instance sites like Archie will only like photos, and not perform more complex actions.


Here is where it starts to get annoying for anyone trying to grow an account. Something that I noticed immediately following the Instagress wipe was a dramatic fall of engagement.

It was pretty clear that the result of this wipe had also brought down engagement rates. The most popular engagement used by complete morons was the single emoji comments, or “Nice!” (like I’d really follow you dude…?)

These kinds of comments I believe we can expect to generally disappear after the Instagress sweep.

Where the problem lies is that now when using hashtags that you would have normally gathered extra likes from, no longer brings in those extra likes for boosting your post. This is in turn making it hard to rank photos.

This may remind you of the most popularly discussed topic these days ‘shadow ban’ or ‘ghosting’. It seems that some accounts may have been getting shadows on hashtags based on their over-activity of using certain features. As a penalty Instagram has been cutting engagement of accounts trying to grow using alternative methods.


Engagement hasn’t fallen so much that people should be jumping off cliffs, but there is definitely a noticeable different of engagement especially from just a few short months ago. I’ve noticed that this pattern of engagement has been happening to most accounts since the rise of the ‘shadow ban’ discussions.


One argument that is floating around is that Instagress was snuffed because of their name. While this could be a major contributing factor, let’s talk about why that is most likely not the case.

Instagress uses ‘Insta’ in it’s name and promotes a service related to Instagram. This violates the usage of Instagrams’ copyright name. Instagress could have been pursued much sooner.

Instagress even makes mention of that problem here in this Tweet:


They have no intentions of starting under another name using ‘insta’ or ‘gram’ any time soon in my opinion.

Now let’s talk about their competition:

Here is another Tweet by Instagress making an argument publicly about IG ads:


Let’s back up there…so Archie is using paid IG ads to promote an auto-liking service. But does not follow/unfollow or comment.

Strange. Especially because Archie is a well known service used by many people, and it started up in 2015.


Archie hasn’t been around as long as Instagress had been, but Archie does blatantly use Instagram and Facebook to promote their service.

It seems that Instagram could have cut the cord on Instagress much sooner, but decided to let it run.


Here is where I start to get a little out there, but hear me out.

I think it is possible that Instagram has been allowing services like Instagress to hang around for years because they’re simply profitable in the end.

In 2015 Instagram started to work on the new algorithm they’re currently rolling out. They’ve been progressively dumping it in stages over the course of a few years. This is to keep the massive social space responsive and working.

I believe that Instagram has allowed bots in order to grow the size of user numbers, and therefore the rates of engagement.

As we all know what happened to Facebook, the spread of friends to likes continued to get worse and worse.

This same thing is happening to Instagram, and they’re using the bots as a tool to help them achieve their goal: paid ads. It’s an easy way to get people to start using them.

Imagine being a business owner and going from 500 reach to 250 reach in a short few months. You’d figure something is wrong.

Many people have found independence in making sales or being an influencer through Instagram. Instagram themselves want a cut of the pie too and they’re making it harder across the board.

With this being said I don’t think that Massplanner will have a problem. The simple truth is, social media managers need an effective way to collaborate and manage people’s accounts. No business owner can manage their social media and run their business.

You could also assume that most business owners would have little faith in a virtual assistant who is not fluent in English running their account. So how could a business owner afford to hire someone part -time to manage their accounts for them? It’s not feasible for small business.

Anyway, you guys can make of it what you like, and in the end it is Instagram and they will do what they like because they own the entire space. We should definitely respect that, and it seems that the quantity of spam really started to piss them off.


Great insights, who knows what all this means for MP. I think instagram to some extent values the automation, but the value of instagresses engagement was negated by the publicity they recieved. From a business perspective engagement must be one element used to measure instagrams success and if an investor asks the question “what percentage of those likes are produces by instagress” it would quickly come to light how unauthentic much engagement is. With 600 million users, assuming 50million botters i would assume more than half of engagement to be automated as bots are at least 10x more active than the average user. So instagram is forced to cut out the scape goat, it will reduce botted engagement somewhat but most importantly it will improve its legitimacy to the majority who aren’t aware of more complex social tools such as Mp.

Yes, noticed that and it seems a little random/crazy … unless IG has a bigger plan in mind.

Nice rant here, btw :smiley:


Nice thread @Josh, we can’t know for sure what exactly happened for Instagress as you said, Was it the name or something else but I guess it got more attention than it deserves. It’s closed, now move on :smiley:

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