Are you seeing a drop in organic Instagram engagement?

Cecily Moore AUTHOR: Cecily Moore
May 22, 2024
3 Min Read

Social platforms are always changing up their algorithms. Sometimes, this has a noticeable impact on organic and/or paid post performance, and recently, we’ve seen some inquiries from our constituents around a drop in organic engagement on Instagram posts relative to past posts.

Note: this is an evolving story, and we’ll post an update when we have one!


The newest algorithm shift has been primarily focused on prioritizing original content (see more about that here)–which, theoretically, should only benefit arts organizations, since most are already doing this. However, in tandem with the shift toward original content, there is a new effort to level the playing field, which means pushing smaller accounts equally alongside bigger accounts.


The Algorithm Before

Prior to this recent update, content was shown to your existing audiences first. It would be pushed out to ~10% of your following (however long that took), and their reaction to the content would then determine lifelong performance. So, if that 10% engaged, reacted, shared during their first time seeing that post, the content would have a longer lifespan and move toward virality.

The Algorithm Now

Once the new algorithm is in full effect, content evaluation will typically be performed in the first ~10-20 minutes of posting, and the large majority of the audience engaging (or not) during that time will be non-followers. This, in theory, helps level the playing field for smaller followers because they have an increased chance of performing against larger accounts–after all, 10% of 100K followers is much bigger than 10% of 5K followers. This shift tries to equalize performance and opportunity by incorporating non-followers and keeping a more defined timeline for “evaluation.”

What this means, however, is that your content is likely now being judged on performance from general mass appeal, instead of insider follower-focused appeal. This could mean that behind-the-scenes content, or other types of content developed with your longtime fans in mind, may be seeing lower overall engagement during this transition.


While we don’t recommend you throw your content strategy out the window and only aim for mass appeal, there’s never been a better time to experiment with a range of content types, formats, and approaches. It’s worth testing content crafted for people at different stages of their journey with your organization (a first-time engager all the way to a fan that has seen every show). Those behind-the-scenes pieces of content are still important to incorporate into your strategy!

Unfortunately, there’s never a clear-cut answer to reduced engagement as there are many many factors at play, but we always urge arts organizations to continue experimenting and evaluating, and perhaps leaning more on Stories for deepening follower relationships.


To dive deeper, explore this post which details some of the changes in this algorithm shift.


Get in touch with our Content team to determine the best strategy for your creative, on and off social!