For a good two years now, the rumor has been going around that Instagram has been 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.
What is a shadowban on Instagram?
Shadowban specifically means limiting the reach on Instagram without being informed about it. In contrast to the classic ban where Instagram obviously blocks the account, the shadow ban simply restricts the range. You can still use the Instagram account normally, but the posts often reach much fewer people.
At first, you might wonder what the reason is and doubt the quality of the images. But often the followers don’t even see the images 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 identify and solve the problem as early as possible.
Instagram does not randomly ban accounts but punishes them specifically for their behavior. Therefore, it is even more important to actively deal with the issue and to know the causes. After that, we explain how to avoid getting a shadowban in the first place.
Here is a brief overview of the various 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 highly likely that you are affected by a shadowban. 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 (as long as the content is still good and no major changes have been made to the feed or behavior).
However, there are also some tests that can be used to check the account. The most popular one is currently from The Heist. To do 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 postings 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
Waiting – If you are already sure that a Shadow Ban is present there is not really much you can do. Instagram is constantly working on updating the bans and removing them accordingly. Therefore, you should give it some time and wait if it gets better by itself.
Analyze errors – However, if you have been banned for disregarding the user guidelines, you should immediately stop any practices that have led to this. We will discuss these in more detail subsequently. After all, Instagram does not block users or limit their reach without reason. You should definitely analyze your behavior and find out any violations.
As a rule, it can take several days or weeks until Instagram lifts the shadow ban again on its own. Until then, it is important to wait and rethink one’s user behavior.
Contact Instagram – Of course, you can also try contacting Instagram and point out to them that the ban was not justified and ask for it to be lifted. It’s worth a try, but especially for smaller accounts it’s often useless, because Instagram is overwhelmed with the number of requests.
Know causes and avoid
Shadowbanning is not a random 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. These try to gain more followers and increase their reach through practices that are not allowed.
That’s exactly what Instagram is trying to prevent. The social network continues to refer to the user guidelines and is cracking down on violations. Basically, this is perfectly 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 about:
Buy followers and likes
One of the most common and at the same time stupid practices so far is buying followers and likes. In the meantime, a special business model has developed in which companies have specialized. 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 people do not want to know that this is quite stupid and absolutely not sustainable.
Furthermore, Instagram immediately recognizes where the artificial engagement is coming from. As if the algorithm is not intelligent enough to recognize how it comes to the increase in likes, etc. Accordingly, it is naïve to believe that this will lead to long-term success. It’s always just a matter of time until Instagram finds out and issues a strong warning or shadow bans.
Therefore, stay away from purchased engagement and instead rely on organic traffic. This is much more sustainable and also looks much better. After all, it’s somewhat obvious when you go through the followers or likes and 90% of them are from the Philippines although you have a German account.
Another business model that has enjoyed great popularity for years are
. Bot stands for robot for short. These allow automated actions to be taken to feign activity. We all don’t have a lot of time and certainly not to like and comment on Instagram posts to draw attention to ourselves. That’s where bots come in handy, making our lives easier and automatically interacting with other users to draw attention to their own profiles.
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 its own account and waits for a certain time (1-3 days). After that he unfollows all accounts again. The goal is to have the other accounts follow us back and interact with us in the future. Meanwhile, the bot automatically unfollows these accounts and looks for new users. The game starts all over again.
It used to be incredibly effective and you could build up a lot of followers in a very short time. But Instagram has long seen through this trick. Those who still follow/unfollow on a large scale will soon have to reckon with a shadow ban. This practice is absolutely OUT.
Likes & Comment
At the same time, of course, the bot can also distribute automated likes and comments. These are comparatively less noticeable than automated follow and unfollow. But Instagram is getting better and better at this, too, and recognizes automated software that has obviously been set up quite quickly. Of course, this can also lead to a Shadow Ban.
TIP: Good Instagram bots like
allow 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 keep that in mind. Ingramer is by far the best tool not only because of this but also because of the numerous other features and to grow faster and get more reach on Instagram. In addition, Ingramer allows you to add your own proxy. This prevents Instagram from recognizing the bot activity!
Meanwhile, there are also softwares that automate the sending of messages on certain triggers. For example, if someone follows a page, that can trigger it and the bot will 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.
Moreover, such messages are usually so obvious that the other user immediately recognizes this practice and is deterred by it.
Any kind of spam (likes, comments, follows, unfollows etc..) even if you work without a bot is strictly prohibited. This is true not only for Instagram but for 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. That’s why 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 accordingly in the Explore Page to the right potential target group. But that 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 overuse of hashtags, geotags, and other tags to push reach as hard as possible. Instagram hates excessive user behavior and immediately understands that this is, again, 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 does not 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 in a sober and relaxed manner. Anyone who uses organic means and uses Instagram the way it says in the guidelines should have nothing to worry about.
On the other hand, users who specifically rely on bots or other spammy activities should beware, because they are playing with fire. It’s usually only a matter of time until Instagram figures it out and distributes the corresponding shadowbans.
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 shadowban. If that doesn’t happen, you can write to Instagram directly and ask (although this is usually ignored for smaller accounts due to high demand). In the worst case, you have to open a new account and learn from your mistakes.