What's the Deal with the Instagram Shadow Ban? | Dynamic Marketing 2017

Instagram Shadow Ban

What’s the deal with the Instagram Shadow Ban?

During an InstagramLive session last week, one of you asked me about the Instagram Shadow Ban and I promised to write a follow up post about this hot phenomenon that has a healthy number of Instagram users squirming in their seats. 

What is the Instagram shadow ban after all? 

The Instagram shadow ban or ghost ban has been frustrating users for over a year now. When you are shadow banned your posts are not discoverable to anyone else outside of your followers. It’s easy to see if your posts are being shadow banned. Search the hashtags that you included in a recent post from an account that is not linked or following to your profile in question. 

Example: From my personal account, I unfollowed my business account. I then searched the hashtags that I used on my most recent post. If you are shadow banned, you will not see your images when searching the hashtags that are linked to it. Normally, you should be able to locate a recent post when searching the hashtags associated with it. When you are shadow banned, only your followers will see your posts and they will not land on the discoverable page. This is obviously an issue when you're trying to grow your account and increase engagement. 

Key influencers, celebrities, businesses, bloggers and even small personal profiles have experienced the elusive shadow ban. Typically, they’ve discovered the ban after noticing a drastic decrease in likes and engagement when they’ve been using the same hashtags and managing their social media with consistency.

It’s no surprise that this shadow ban can be detrimental to those who rely on Instagram for business.

How do you get shadow banned?

Unfortunately many instagram users have been unjustly shadow banned. You’d think this profile exile would be reserved for just porn or robot profiles...

But this topic is still a bit of a mystery… what social media experts are finding is that profiles that have been using “spammy” tactics may end up banned. Instagram has their own standards for what they consider spammy and they change all the time. Here’s a few: If you’ve been following and unfollowing too many users, using too many hashtags, searching hashtags and liking an insane amount of photos under that hashtag, using spammy hashtags like #follow4follow #instamood. It seems that Instagram may be penalizing users for practicing spammy tactics in order to gain likes and followers fast… especially for monetary gain.

Is there a solution to the shadow ban?

Instagram has not released a ton of information regarding the shadow ban. Their customer support center leaves a lot to be desired, so victims of the shadow ban have had limited success reaching out to Instagram directly.

If you suspect that you are shadow banned, confirm your suspicions by searching your hashtags from a different profile that does not follow or is linked to your account in question. If your posts are not appearing under the hashtags you are linking them to, that hashtag is likely banned and may be causing the entire post to be banned. 

I would go through each hashtag in your strategy and remove the those in which you are not appearing under. Instagram has a long list of banned hashtags that can easily land you in shadow ban land, but sometimes strange hashtags can be banned without much rational. Check out a list of banned hashtags here. 

Here’s what Instagram has to say about the ban:


In conclusion:

If your posts have been shadow banned, research each of your hastags and eliminate the problem tags. Reduce the number of hashtags per post and focus on continuing to provide great content. Consider the tactics you’ve been using to gain followers and likes, and make sure none of them could potentially be considered spammy. By following these steps, you should see improvement in your engagement soon. The last resort would be to create a entirely new profile using a new email address - but for obvious reasons that is a very LAST resort.

Thank you so much for continuing to ask questions and inspiring new topics. If you’ve been shadow banned and have found resolutions please share in the comments below!

All my best,