Have You Been “Shadowbanned” On Instagram?

Chad Faith
Chad Faith

Director of Content

Have You Been "Shadow banned" On Instagram?

Have you heard about shadowbanning before? Well, this refers to Instagram making its users’ posts invisible without prior notice. This is a huge problem for any business that needs to use Instagram to promote their brand. Being shadowbanned could lead to reduced levels of engagement. You should keep in mind that shadowbanning is not an attempt by Instagram censor its users’ posts, but to clean up the clutter and make content on the social media platform more relevant. For starters, let’s find out more about the potential reasons that can get you shadowbanned:

What Causes You to Get Shadowbanned?

  • You get caught using banned hashtags

Certain hashtags are being banned by Instagram from time to time because they may be spam or lead to content that’s NSFW. To check if a hashtag is banned, simply navigate to the Explore icon in Instagram and search for it. In some cases, search results may return no posts found. You can see if it’s actually banned by tapping on it. If no posts at all show up, then you got your answer. Sometimes, that hashtag may be temporarily banned and you will need to avoid using it for a week or two.

  • You get caught using the same hashtag(s) repeatedly

Another way that one can get shadowbanned on Instagram is by sticking with the same hashtags repeatedly for weeks. It is pertinent that you try varying them a bit; be more creative with your hashtag game. If possible, do consider not using them all together for a few days.

  • You are using hashtags that aren’t relevant to your content

If one or more hashtags you are planning to use have little to do with the image you are posting, do not use them. Instagram does not like hashtags that do not help define the content in a meaningful way. Instead of adding #love, #cute, #sunset, #foodporn, #nofilter, etc., to every post, try adding something relevant to a trending conversation. It will help develop your social media voice and help your followers find you.

  • You bought followers

When it comes to social media marketing, quality should always be over quantity. With that, buying followers will definitely trigger a shadowban. You should focus on building up an audience that’s authentic from the get go. It should be an audience that’s genuinely engaged and interested in what you post.

  • You are using an automated bot to post on your behalf

Instagram is constantly cleaning up their users’ feeds to make the platform less spammy. If you are into the idea of automated posting, do note that Instagram can track each post and where it was posted. Let’s say you used an automated posting app in New York, and then you post again 10 minutes later from your current location in New Jersey, Instagram will likely investigate it. How? Well, it’s all about the IP address,

Check Your Engagement Levels to See Whether Your Account Has Been Shadowbanned

When checking engagement levels, a drop does not always mean that you’ve been shadowbanned. It might be something you’re doing isn’t really working out. If you notice a truly major and sudden change in the number of comments and likes you are getting, then it may be a sign. As mentioned, you can try searching for a hashtag used in a low engagement post. If nothing shows up when you try explore that hashtag, then you may have been penalized.

How to Avoid Getting Shadowbanned by Instagram

Good news. Shadowbanning is not a permanent thing. Once you are back in Instagram’s good books, the adverse effects should end. If it happens to you, you may wish to take a break and back off of using the app for a few days. All in all, you may want to stick with a provider who is familiar with Instagram marketing best practices. When posting on Instagram, you should always post content that’s original, valuable, and relevant. In addition, you should also keep your hashtag usage authentic and concise.