If your Instagram was anything like mine where no matter what you did to try gain followers or traction, it all seemed in vain. I have spent hours on my phone (which I want back now as it was a waste of time) trying to figure out the Instagram algorithm. Well I haven't really cracked that code just yet but I feel like I have found something that is an absolute game changer.
It's still early days into my project but the numbers are already starting to speak for themselves so now would be a great time to put in a disclaimer. This is not an official method released by Instagram and this may not work for all Instagram accounts out there. This blog and podcast are centered around my own research, findings and I have used my own Instagram figures from my wildlife account. So, having said that let me explain what I have discovered.
On Nov 31 2021 I started what is now a 2 month old project. I found my Instagram had flatlined and I was getting nowhere in terms of reach and growth. I deep dove (I really spent many hours) online looking at different algorithm ideas and trying some of them out in the months prior to my current project. None of these seemed to work or at least those that had some spark soon faded. But, after many hours, weeks and months of research and testing I came across an idea that some Instagram users had tried. The idea was to delete bot followers. All of the blogs and videos I found had positive outcomes and this peeked my interest in the idea.
The theory was that the algorithm would look at your followers vs interactions vs likes vs comments and then decide how much it features your post on other accounts. So for example, or in my case, I had 20k followers. Back in the day I would average about 1000 - 1200 likes per post. Over time this dropped to about 300 per post. What I think was happening is that I had accrued thousands of bot followers over time and they were obviously not interacting with my posts. Instagram looked at my likes vs followers and decided that my posts weren't good enough to push higher up on the sliding algorithm scale. So only (as you will see later in my findings) 6500 of my 20 000 followers were POTENTIALLY seeing my post and only a couple of hundred interacting with it. So when Instagram saw my posts under performing they simply put little to no effort into pushing it out onto others feeds. Again, this is all based on my findings and may either not be the entire case or perhaps there's other factors that contribute to this but I will show you my numbers a bit later.
Before we carry on, what is a bot and where do they come from? So, a bot is a fake account used to try push products, bulk up a following for people who buy followers and of course account sharing bots who try to get you to follow or share other pages. You will often know a bot page because the username is a long number and they don't have a profile picture. These are easy to identify but there are more difficult ones to spot. Some bots have a profile pic and a legit username like "John Smith" but if you look closely you'll find that they have very few posts (less than 20 perhaps) very few followers (also in the region of say 20) but will have thousands of people that they follow. These are product and page pushers.
I may be worth looking into your followers list to see how many of these are floating around. For those of you who bought followers in the past to bulk up your profile, don't worry. We all make mistakes. Its okay... and we can fix that by using my findings and methods.
So come Nov 31 2021 I decide to begin my project of bot removal to see if this will solve the issues, but how do you do it and where do you begin? Well, there are 3 ways of removing bots.
The first way I strongly recommend you DO NOT do and thats using a 3rd party app connected to your account. It seems Instagram does not like these apps anymore and it seems as though they are clamping down. Please don't use these apps. They are inexpensive and convenient and we all know what that means.
The second way would be for you to click into your followers on your profile and go in to manually remove the bots yourself. This was the first method I tried and lets just say that after 2 days I was absolutely over it. I am sure some of you reading this have great patience but I certainly do not. So I looked into other methods that I could use.
Introducing Fiverr. The third way to delete bots. Fiverr is an app/website you can use to find all sorts of brilliant people do all sorts of big and odd jobs. From designing a logo and website to transcribing. There are hundreds of tasks that can be done on the site. Basically you search for what you want done and then hundreds of profiles pop up with various prices, project duration and ratings. You can then get quotes or chat to any one of them and then choose one to do the job for you. You pay the app and the app pays the profile owner you have chosen. I have done a ton of work through them and its been great each time so long as you take your time in choosing the right person for the job. This can be done by reading deeply into their profiles and the feedback which is probably the most important. I found Noni (not sure if thats her name) but her handle is @noniofficial. I'll pop her profile pic below but if you search "Instagram Bot Removal" then hundreds of people will pop up for you to choose from.
So I got chatting to Noni (I'm really not sure of her real name as it doesn't appear anywhere so I am really sorry Noni if I have the wrong name) and from the get go she was very professional and to the point. It cost me about $65 USD for the entire job. Honestly this is very cost effective for what you get and the painful work you avoid.
I gave her my Instagram login details and she got right to work with getting into my followers and removing the bots. So, the process took a month. She could only delete 500 bots a day and in that time you cannot follow anyone (this is all explained by her). The reason being is bots and fake accounts follow a "follow unfollow" technique so you don't want Instagram thinking you're one of them.
It's very difficult to see your following drop in the hundreds everyday but I soldiered on. At the end of the month I had lost a total of 5000 bot followers. This absolutely blew my mind. I expected at the very most a couple hundred or maybe 1000. She also informed me there were more to go but my budget had run out. Before I even get into the detail with figures and findings, can I just say, it felt so good to have 'trimmed the fat'. I had the same feeling as one would have after a good spring clean. Totally worth it so far to know that a whole bunch of bots, ghost followers and fake accounts are now gone.
So, let us get into the numbers as thats the "proof in the pudding" right? On the 31 Nov I wrote down all figures I could find on my insights for my wildlife page. Two months later on the 26 Jan 2022 I wrote down and compared those numbers. Now there are a few things you need to consider when looking at the numbers. Firstly I ended the project 4 days short of month 2 of my comparison. Why? Well, I was just too excited to show my findings. Even though I am 4 days short the numbers come back so strong its scary! The second thing to consider which further proves my bot removal project, is that during December I was traveling for nearly 2 weeks in Kenya and Tanzania. I was posting non-stop so you would think that I would have had big numbers of interactions during this time. In January I did not travel and had one bush weekend away. That's it. So my posting was minimal. I understand that there are other variables out there that could have affected my numbers so also keep that in mind when going through them. So here is a table of comparison of my findings...
I think it's safe to say that the numbers speak for themselves. The areas where I came out in red are not areas of concern to me. I knew that I didn't post and travel as much in January as in December and that shows in those figures. However, in the same breathe, Where I made my wins and the areas of growth are astronomical! One in particular that really stood out for me was Followers Reached. This to me was the most important figure because although I had just short of 20K followers only 6500 were being reached. Thats roughly 32% of my followers. When I first saw this figure at the start of my project I felt so disheartened, but I also felt as though I was on the right track deleting those bot followers. After 2 months, the figure reads so much better. I was down to 15k - 16k followers but roughly 10k of them were now seeing my posts. I feel that just that figure alone should be enough proof right?
So like I say, this is not an official Instagram thing and these are based on my own research and findings. However, maybe it's worth trying? Even on a smaller scale to what I did? Let me know if you do and what you found.
Thanks so much for your time and I hope this solves some issues for you. Check out my podcast below where I talk a little more about bots on Instagram.
Until next time,