Shadow ban on Instagram: what is it, how to check your account and get out of the shadow ban
Have you noticed that the engagement of the audience has decreased at times, the posts began to gain much fewer likes for no apparent reason? A shadow ban can be the culprit. This is a nightmare for all bloggers and SMMs, which is not surprising, because no one likes to waste time and energy on promotion. Let’s take a closer look at this “monster” and find out how to deal with it.
What is a shadow ban
Shadow ban is an Instagram algorithm that protects the list of hashtags and geotags from spam. This is a kind of Instagram filter that blocks the content of a banned user from hashtags or geotags.
As a result, audience engagement and views fall, and a blocked user cannot attract new subscribers. At the same time, the appearance of a ban may not be noticed, because all other functions of the social network will be preserved in full. This only aggravates the situation, especially if you published important information during the blocking period.
The shadow ban made a lot of noise in SMM circles. The thing is that the Instagram developers themselves have never published information that they practice a similar method of protecting against spam, so all information about the shadow bath is based only on the bitter experience of the users themselves, rumors and guesses.
The algorithm of the shadow ban has not yet been fully solved, therefore, the reasons are not so simple. In practice, several events have been identified that entail the receipt of such a punishment, but in reality there may be more of them.
Using bots and automatic promotion services
Instagram strives in every possible way to ensure that in its open spaces there was only unique author’s content and “live” users, therefore it is completely not tolerant of the use of programs to automate actions. Since 2017, the administration of the social network has begun an active fight against cheating subscribers and any other artificial or automated actions.
You need to understand that artificially attracting a huge number of subscribers will not give the desired effect and will not increase the competitiveness of your brand in any way, but it may well cause a shadow ban. Services that automate actions can help, but they also need to be chosen and used wisely.
If you have already decided to use bots or automatic promotion services, then choose the highest quality software products, the work of which will not arouse suspicions in the Instagram algorithm. The program used must necessarily take into account the limits of Instagram and be able to impersonate the action of a real person.
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The shadow ban algorithm is specially designed to prevent spam. It is not surprising that if you literally bombard users with the same uninteresting information, then you will definitely fall under the sanctions.
Spam includes excessive posting, hashtag, geotagging. To avoid such a situation, it is recommended to post no more than 20 publications per day, as well as put tags of different frequency.
You don’t have to use bots to get banned. If the algorithm considers your manual actions to be unnatural for a “live” user, then you also risk being blocked.
In order not to arouse suspicion, try not to log into your account under different IP addresses, often like, unsubscribe or follow users. Your actions should be identical to those that ordinary people perform while sitting on a social network.
How many complaints a ban can entail is a mystery. It is only known that Instagram closely monitors the environment in society, so if users start complaining about your content, this may become a reason for a ban.
Not only users can complain, but also unscrupulous competitors. In any case, try to ensure that neither one nor the other has an adequate reason – do not post prohibited or compromising content, choose the right hashtags, do not throw spam on users.
If users start to unsubscribe from you en masse, then this may become a reason for issuing a shadow ban to your account. In this case, everything is simple: the algorithm believes that if users unsubscribe, then your content is not interesting and does not need to be shown in the SERP.
Beware of such situations when tens or hundreds of users unsubscribe from the profile within a short period. For example, this often happens after the end of the Giveaway.
Instagram has certain limits and restrictions on the number of actions that a user can take in a certain period of time. Unfortunately, there is no officially published data on the current limits, but there are statistics based on user experience. Activity limits are determined individually for each account, taking into account such indicators as account age, number of subscribers, average audience engagement rates.
- make from 50 to 500 subscriptions per day, but not more than 40 per hour;
- do not unsubscribe from the account immediately after subscribing, but wait 3 days;
- limit the number of likes to one and a half times the number of allowed subscriptions – from 75 to 750, depending on the performance of your account;
- post no more than 250 comments per day.
Same and wrong hashtags
Very often, would-be marketers insert all 30 possible hashtags under the post, and then a whole “sheet” in the first comment. This is not only ugly, but it can also be dangerous.
Firstly, if you place dozens of the same hashtags under each post, then the shadow ban algorithm may regard this as spam. Secondly, in the list of such hashtags, as a rule, they try to include as many popular tags as possible, which do not always fit the meaning of the publication. As a result, the user can be blocked for spam, artificially attracting subscribers and systematic complaints from them.
High frequency hashtags
High-frequency hashtags are those under which there are already more than a million publications. These are usually high-ranking popular hashtags that are often used for irrelevant content. They are trying to push through a lot of spam in the search results list, so the algorithm checks records with such tags especially hard.
It is recommended to use no more than two high-frequency hashtags under the post. In addition, sometimes hashtags with less popularity can allow you to find significantly more users from the target audience and attract their attention, because it is much easier to break into the TOP results for them.
How to check an account for a shadow ban
You can recognize a ban by changing statistics not for the better. Blocking of this type is characterized by the appearance of the following symptoms:
- minimum activity of account visitors;
- the reach of posts and stories dropped significantly;
- in the statistics of posts critically low indicators of audience reach by hashtags;
- the number of likes and comments decreased significantly;
- new users are not following.
Verification can be performed using a personal or low-frequency hashtag. To do this, publish a post and place a hashtag under it, by which your post can be easily found in the SERP, and then ask several users who are not subscribed to you to try to find the post through a search. If they fail, then most likely your account has been blocked.
How to get out of the shadow ban
There is no exact algorithm for exiting the shadow ban, since the rules for its operation have not been officially disclosed. It is logical to assume that in order to unblock an account, you need to root out the very reason. The following actions will help to remove the shadow ban:
- Disable the work of all third-party services or change the password for your account (so the services will also lose access to your profile).
- Completely remove hashtags from the 10-20 most recently published posts, as well as any irrelevant tags. Clear your account of hashtags for which the search does not return results, as well as banned and blocked ones.
- If you are using a business account, switch to personal in the settings.
- Give your account a “rest” for at least a day, and then post a post without geotags and hashtags.
- In the next 2-3 posts, also do not use hashtags, but you can try geotags.
- Check if your posts appear in geotagged searches, if so, try posting posts with hashtags.
- When you see that your post appears in the SERP by hashtag, you can continue posting as usual, but taking into account the above tips.
After leaving the ban, it is important to stop using hashtags that could cause the block. This can be any of the hashtags you’ve used before. If there are mandatory and key hashtags among them, then divide them into several groups and dilute them with other relevant tags.
How long does the shadow ban last?
If it didn’t work out to remove the shadow ban, then you just have to wait. The shadow ban is valid for a limited amount of time. Since there is no official instruction from the Instagram administration, it is difficult to say for sure. According to the observations of users, it can be as many as a few days, as well as two weeks or even a month. There were also cases when the ban lasted a very long time – about three months.
It should be borne in mind that the terms of punishment depend on the malignancy of the violation, as well as on factors such as the age of the account, the number of actions performed per day, and many others.
The ban itself is not so terrible as the consequences from it. There were no technical problems and you continued to upload posts to the feed, publish stories and live broadcasts, but no one saw them and no one was able to rate your content, except for your subscribers.
If the work was done in order to attract new followers, then we can say that it was done in vain.
Under any circumstances, getting into a shadow ban worsens the account statistics, which most often entails financial losses. Especially significant harm can be inflicted by a shadow ban on bloggers. Deterioration of statistics in this case can significantly affect both the amount of ordered advertising and the payment for it.
But there is good news: the ban does not restrict the use of the platform, but simply makes such promotion tools as geotags and hashtags temporarily unavailable. This means that you can continue to delight your subscribers with posts, but you will have to forget about new ones for a while.
A shadow ban is part of the algorithm for issuing posts on Instagram and it is better to never fall under it, otherwise you risk spoiling your statistics and temporarily lose the opportunity to attract new subscribers. Use the recommendations above to secure your page from blocking and delight all Instagram users with your content, not just subscribers.