For a good two years now, the rumor has been going around that Instagram is secretly shadow banning accounts. Numerous bloggers and influencers have already been affected and have complained extensively about the social network’s practices. But what exactly is the Shadowban on Instagram and how do you know if you are affected?
We clarify and tell you everything you need to know about the shadowban on Instagram, how to solve the problem and prevent it preventively.
What is a shadowban on Instagram?
Shadowban specifically means the restriction of the reach on Instagram without being informed about it. In contrast to the classic ban, where Instagram obviously blocks the account, a shadowban simply restricts the reach. You can still use your Instagram account normally, but your posts often reach far fewer people.
At first, you may wonder why this is and doubt the quality of the images. But often the followers don’t even see the pictures anymore and the engagement rate is correspondingly low. Especially bloggers and influencers who primarily live off Instagram have to struggle with shadow banning. Therefore, it is important to recognize and solve the problem as early as possible.
Instagram does not ban accounts indiscriminately, but punishes them specifically for their behavior. Therefore, it is even more important to actively deal with the issue and to know the causes. Afterwards we explain how to avoid a shadowban in the first place.
Here is a short overview of the different Shadow Ban tests.
What is the best way to recognize a Shadow Ban?
Often the assumption is that if you get less likes than usual a shadowban is active. If you can see a lower or decreasing engagement rate over several days or weeks, it is very likely that you are affected by a shadow ban. Business Account clearly show the reach of the respective posts. If the numbers are comparatively low over a longer period of time, this is a clear indication (if the content is still good and you have not made any major changes to the feed or behavior).
But there are also some tests with which you can check your account. The best known is currently from Triberr. For this, you just have to enter your Instagram name and within a few seconds you will get the result.
This tool is extremely reliable and even analyzes individual posts accurately. The whole thing is also free of charge. So if you suspect that your account has been banned or certain posts are not displayed, you can use this tool to test whether your suspicions are correct or not.
Fix or solution
Wait – If you are already sure that there is a shadow ban, there is not really much you can do. Instagram is constantly working on updating and removing the bans. Therefore, you should give it some time and wait if it gets better by itself.
Analyze mistakes – If you have been banned for not following the user guidelines, you should immediately stop any practices that have led to this. We will go into this in more detail later. After all, Instagram does not ban users or restrict their reach without reason. In any case, you should analyze your behavior and find any violations.
As a rule, it can take several days or weeks until Instagram cancels the shadow ban on its own. Until then, you should wait and reconsider your user behavior.
Contact Instagram – Of course, you can also try to contact Instagram and point out that the ban was not justified and ask for a lifting. It’s worth a try, but especially for smaller accounts, it’s often futile, as Instagram is overwhelmed with the number of requests.
Know the causes and avoid them
Shadowbanning is not an indiscriminate fun action by Instagram but a targeted measure that was taken to point out the user guidelines. Meanwhile, Instagram already has so many users and among them there are also more and more black sheep. They try to gain more followers and increase their reach through illegal practices.
This is exactly what Instagram is trying to prevent. The social network continues to refer to the user guidelines and takes tough action against violations. Basically, this is completely understandable, because Instagram wants to maintain the quality of the platform and prevent growth hackers and rogue online marketers from gaining an advantage.
Here is an overview of the most important things or practices that Instagram penalizes and warns against:
Buying followers and likes
One of the most common and stupid practices to date is buying followers and likes. In the meantime, a special business model has developed, which companies have specialized in. For a fee, you get followers, likes, but also comments and video views. The lucrative business is booming and demand is high. Many do not know about the risks and buy naively. Many don’t want to know that this is quite stupid and absolutely not sustainable.
Moreover, Instagram immediately recognizes where the artificial engagement comes from. As if the algorithm was not intelligent enough to recognize how it comes to the increase in likes, etc.. Accordingly, it is naive to believe that this will lead to long-term success. It’s always just a matter of time until Instagram figures it out and issues a strong warning or shadow bans.
That’s why you should stay away from bought engagement and trust in organic traffic instead. This is much more sustainable and also looks much better. After all, it is somewhat obvious when you go through the followers or likes and 90% of them come from the Philippines although you have a German account.
Another business model which has enjoyed great popularity for years are Instagram bots. Bot stands for robot. These allow automated actions to be taken to feign activity. We all don’t have much time and certainly not to like and comment on Instagram posts to draw attention to ourselves. So bots come in handy to make our lives easier and automatically interact with other users to draw attention to their own profile.
Follow / Unfollow
One of the most common practices is the follow/unfollow mode. Specifically, the bot follows a certain number of users who may be potentially interested in your account and waits for a certain time (1-3 days). Then it unfollows all accounts again. The goal is that the other accounts follow us back and interact with us in the future. Meanwhile, the bot automatically unfollows these accounts again and looks for new users. The game starts all over again.
This used to be incredibly effective and you could build up a lot of followers in a very short time. But Instagram has long since seen through this trick. Anyone who still operates Follow/Unfollow on a grand scale will soon have to reckon with a shadow ban. This practice is absolutely OUT.
Likes & Comment
At the same time, the bot can of course also distribute automated likes and comments. These are comparatively less noticeable than the automated follow and unfollow. But here, too, Instagram is now getting better and better at recognizing automated softwares that have obviously been set up quite quickly. Of course, this can also lead to a shadow ban.
TIP: Good Instagram bots like Massgramer allow you to randomize the activity in the settings. Thus, a more genuine and organic behavior is feigned. If you really want to distribute automated likes & comments on you should pay attention to this. Ingramer is by far the best tool to grow faster and get more reach on Instagram, not only because of this but also because of the numerous other features. In addition, Ingramer allows you to add your own proxy. This prevents Instagram from recognizing your bot activity!
Meanwhile, there are also softwares that automate the sending of messages on certain triggers. For example, if someone follows a page, this can trigger the bot to immediately send a direct message (e.g. Hey, I just saw you’re following me. Great profile…). This also violates Instagram’s user guidelines and should be largely avoided.
In addition, such messages are usually so obvious that the other user will immediately recognize this practice and be put off by it.
Spam in general
Any kind of spam (likes, comments, follows, unfollows etc..) even if you work without a bot is strictly prohibited. This applies not only to Instagram but to pretty much every major social network. All of them are specialized in detecting spam and punishing it.
Therefore, you should always behave as naturally and organically as possible.
Hashtags and tags
Hashtags and tags of all kinds (geotags, people tags, etc.) are especially important to get more reach. Therefore, you should use tags in every post. This increases the chances of getting among the top posts of certain hashtags and geotags. In addition, it helps Instagram to classify the account and show it to the right potential target group in the Explore Page. However, this should already be clear to everyone.
What many don’t know, however, is that you can also overdo it and get banned from Instagram through these very practices. Specifically, it’s about the excessive use of hashtags, geotags, and other tags to push your reach as hard as possible. Instagram hates excessive user behavior and immediately understands that, again, this is a type of spam.
Therefore, hashtags and tags of all kinds should only be used selectively and moderately. Hiding hashtags in the comments can (but doesn’t have to) lead to a shadow ban. It is better if you integrate them directly into the post.
Basically, the topic of shadow banning should be viewed quite soberly and relaxed. Anyone who works with the help of organic means and uses Instagram as it is written in the guidelines should have nothing to fear.
On the other hand, users who specifically rely on bots or other spammy activities should beware, because they are playing with fire. Most of the time, it is only a matter of time until Instagram finds out and distributes the corresponding shadow bans.
As a preventive measure, you should therefore avoid bots, etc. and use Instagram in a natural way and in accordance with the user conditions. Then you will never have the problem with bans or shadow bans.
However, if you are already affected, you should immediately stop any unauthorized practices and hope that Instagram will remove the shadow ban again. If that doesn’t happen, you can write to Instagram directly and ask (although for smaller accounts this is usually ignored due to the high demand). In the worst case, you have to open a new account and learn from your mistakes.