The decline of organic Instagram and Audience Optimisation for Facebook

Here at Leapfrogg, every week we have a meeting to share developments within the world of customer experience, digital and retail. Here are some of the things we discussed this week…

The decline of organic Instagram

This week a study by social analytics company Locowise, concluded that Instagram’s engagement and organic growth is declining. Instagram was one of the most engaging social platforms in 2015, but now it appears it is growing so fast that it’s becoming more difficult to get organic growth on it.

Locowise reviewed 2,500 profiles and found that in terms of follower growth, the numbers were 88.21% lower in December, at 0.23% – than they were in at their peak in April, at 1.95%. Growth on Facebook and Twitter, were 0.14% and 0.09% respectively, during the same time.

Overall, Instagram is still performing better than Facebook and Twitter and Instagram ads are open to everyone through Facebook’s self-serve ad system. The bad news is that it looks like brands will now have to pay for visibility in order to be successful.

Our Social Media and Content Consultant, Hannah Brookes, said “social media advertising is a growing area in digital marketing – one that the platforms are more than willing to encourage. It’s certainly frustrating for retailers to have to pay to reach the audiences they’ve spent time and effort building up. Only time will tell if Instagram will follow the same path as Facebook and actively restrict the organic reach of content posted by businesses. Either way, when social media success comes with an advertising budget attached, it’s so much more important to have a clear strategy for your marketing. By taking the time to understand your customers and the journey they take from first contact to purchase, you’re much more likely to see a healthy return on your investment.”

WhatsApp’s allows brands to communicate with customers

Also this week, mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, announced that they are soon going to allow certain businesses to communicate directly with customers on the platform.

According to a company blogpost on the changes, WhatsApp will this year begin testing tools that allow consumers to “communicate with businesses and organisations [customers] want to hear from”. That means no ads and no messaging spam, and it will become more of a notifications service.

WhatsApp has already ruled out introducing third-party ads in its post, stating: “Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no.”

Enabling third-party brands on the platform should provide WhatsApp with a revenue boost without alienating users. We will be interested to see how this pans out and retailers can start using the platform to provide updates to customers and improve their customer service.

SEO finally comes to organic Facebook posts

In more social news, Facebook has just announced that Interest Targeting will go and will be replaced by Audience Optimisation.
Facebook’s new Audience Optimisation comes in three parts:

  • Preferred audience – tags that encourage Facebook show the post to people who might be interested in the tag.
  • Audience restrictions – a bit like the old interest targeting; you can say who might not be interested in the post.
  • Audience insights – want to see how the content actually performed against your tags? This will show you.

This means that English language pages, will soon be able to use interest tags within your posts and Facebook will optimise the delivery of those free posts to matching people. You’ll also be able to analysis how successful your interest tagging strategy is and see how different subsets of audiences are engaging with your content.

Christmas trading update

JLL’s annual Christmas Trading Update has revealed that over 80% of UK retailers and leisure operators that have disclosed performance figures for the key Christmas trading period have registered positive like for like (LFL) annual growth, with 50% delivering LFL growth in excess of 4% year on year.

Overall, online sales were the clear winner, and retailers that provide customers with an integrated, seamless offer continue to benefit from real competitive advantage. In particular, the growing influence of m-commerce was evident from the trading updates of Jigsaw (mobile sales up +115%), John Lewis (+31%), (+32%) and (+122%).

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