Instagram may be enjoying a boom in terms of active users—400 million people to be precise – but, the photo-sharing social network platform suffered a 33 percent drop in both Likes and Interactions (Comments) over a period of one year, concludes a report by Quintly, a social media analytics company.

According to Social Barrel, “Quintly based its study on 13,000 Instagram accounts, and concluded that “bigger sized profile groups” were more affected by the steep drop. The study also showed that there was a 36 percent drop in interactions in bigger profiles clusters such as over 100,000 followers—and even bigger drops in biggest profiles analyzed (10m+ followers).

The Social Barrel story, in part, added:

“What could be responsible for the drop?

“Of course, the drop in number of comments and likes couldn’t have dropped from the moon just like that—there is a reason for that. According to Quintly, users now have to deal with more content on their timeline and may not be as interested in making comments as they were a year before. Like Facebook, Instagram is now being flooded with loads of posts, which could put some users off.

“Another possibility could be Instagram’s recent aggressive drive towards encouraging brands to advertise on its platform. This, according to the study, is alienating users and discouraging interactions as well.

“Based on those assumptions, brands now have a lot of work to do to improve on their posts. Perhaps, posting content users perceived to have been posted by a “good friend,” according to the report could be the solution to solving this kind of problem.

“Instagram needs to make money, and this is only achievable when brands are allowed to advertise on the network. However, it shouldn’t lose focus of why Instagram was set up in the first place. Brands are encouraged by the rising number of users on Instagram—a factor that makes the network highly attractive for advertising. According to the study, companies “slightly” increased their posts from d”aily 0.89 to 1.04 posts between January and December 2015.” Further growth (though, moderate) in that data was recorded in Q1 of this year.

“Compared to Twitter or Facebook, Instagram still enjoys higher interactions, which gives the photo sharing app a glimmer of hope. In actual fact, Instagram remains the network that attracts millions of individuals as well as brands. For brands, a bit of innovations in terms of quality of posts could swing things in their favor in the coming months. Brands should also make their posts and pictures more personal and appealing to their target audience.”

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