Every marketer has heard of the term shadowban. In today’s fast paced digital world though, many do not fully understand the term.  You are likely wondering: 

  • What does it mean? 
  • Could it happen to me? 
  • Has it happened to me? 

We are here to help! Read on to learn the who, what, when, where and why about the dreaded shadowban. 

What Is Shadowbanning?

The term shadowban refers to any time that a platform reprioritizes an account within the social feed. “Shadowban” isn’t an official Instagram term, but we know that Instagram has the power to reprioritize accounts on the app. Posts can be hidden or restricted, often unbeknownst to the user.

This can make your content (or account) undiscoverable via hashtags and the Explore page. And in some cases — the content may be taken down completely. 

The issue for marketers is that as an account’s content becomes harder to see, the account will also see a decline in reach and engagement. In a world where engagement = more views, this can be extremely harmful to an account. If you or your business has experienced this, you understand the impact. 

Before we get into details, it’s important to know that “shadowban” is really terminology, not an official diagnosis. Most platforms would call this a restriction. Either way, as a marketer you must understand how you can take a proactive approach to resolving the issues. 

Main Causes of Shadowbanning

Do you suspect that Instagram is restricting your company’s account? 

Shadowbanning typically occurs when a user has violated Instagram’s community guidelines — or the content is otherwise deemed inappropriate. If you’re shadowbanned, your content won’t appear on anyone’s feed, Explore, or hashtag pages unless they already follow you.

Here are some of the most common algorithm and content issues that lead to “shadowbanning,” along with tips for getting your metrics back on track.

  • Using the same hashtags for every single post

We are even guilty of this sometimes! It’s easy to do your research and then continue to use the best hashtags over and over again. We recommend changing hashtags for every post, based on the content you are sharing, best practices and of course – always trying new things! 

  • Acting like a bot

Sometimes marketers can be too quick for their own good. If you interact with content or perform actions too quickly while inside the app, Instagram may think you’re a bot. As a result, your account could be flagged. 

Of course we should also note here that USING a bot is even worse than acting like one. Do not pay for likes or engagement, do not use a bot to handle your engagement! The social platforms will find you and you will be shadowbanned. 

Make sure that your comments and engagement are unique each time. Do not reply to all comments with the same emoji, switch it up! Don’t just thank people for their comment, respond to what they are saying! The more you can show you are genuinely engaging on the social platforms, the better. 

  • Publishing inappropriate content

The solution here is simple, don’t do it! 

No matter how you see it, it is in your best interest to follow Instagram’s terms and guidelines to ensure you do get shadow banned restricted. Use our suggestions to create a strategy that follows Instagram’s best practices so you can maximize reach and engagement.

Have questions or need help with your Instagram strategy? Send us a message today!