Are bots and growth hackers watching your Instagram Stories?
Have you noticed a recent decline of viewers in your Instagram Stories lately?
Before you totally freak out that your audience has suddenly jumped ship, know that they probably weren’t really watching your stories to begin with, #sadbuttrue.
Until recently, ‘growth hackers’ were using automation to ‘watch’ Instagram stories, and it seems that this practice is finally getting the boot from Instagram!
While Instagram has made no official announcement about shutting down these types of automation, rumors have been circling the internet since August that Instagram was on to this new growth hacking automation.
Remember the rampant follow/unfollowing that was going on around 2015/2016? You can thank similar types of automation for that practice as well as the faux Instagram story viewers that have recently been infiltrating your views.
Nonetheless, plenty of questions still remain so let’s break it down a bit more!
How did these fake story watchers find me?
Fake story viewers were finding our accounts through hashtags and geotags!
One of the very things that makes Instagram so unique for forming connections, and they go and use it against us? ACK! Subsequently, these growth hackers would then add our Instagram handles to their automation so that they could come back and ‘watch’ our stories over and over again.
PS: Just know that there are lots of air-quotes and eye rolls going on behind the scenes of the creation of this blog post….
Why would anyone use a bot to view an Instagram Story?
The thought process of these growth hackers using this shame-on-you automation was this: they would ‘watch’ the stories of micro accounts because they know that we are rifling through to see who are our viewers are!
We would then be so intrigued by these new accounts that were suddenly watching our Instagram Stories that we would click over to their account (from within the story view). We would them be ‘so wowed’ that someone with a 200k following (I’m majorly ballparking it here) took the time to watch our stories (sike!) that we would then feel so compelled and have no choice but to follow them! Double sike!!
No, that’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works.
What can you do to prevent bots or automation from watching your Instagram Stories?
Frustrated by the sudden infiltration of these faux story watchers skewing your otherwise hearty and easy to break apart metrics? Well, what is it that we can do to deter them from coming back to ‘watching’ our stories over and over?
There are really only two options:
1) You can make your Instagram account private
If you are using your Instagram account for your business, chances are, that this is not really the best course of action. It forms a barrier to entry for anyone to connect with or stumble across your business in AUTHENTICLY
Making your Instagram business account private forms a virtual ‘gate’ which would cause any new followers to have to request access before being able to follow you, which then decreases the chances of anyone pressing the follow button.
It also prevents another account from cruising around your feed and getting to know you and your business in order to form a connection before they do decide to follow you
So what else can you do?
2) You can block them!
Though it may be a bit more time consuming on your end to go through your Instagram story viewers and block each of the fake story viewers one by one, it is 100% worth it. You won’t have to worry about them popping up again and again like whack-a-mole, and each time a new fake story viewer infiltrates your Instagram Stories, you will easily be able to identify them and take the necessary action.
Why does it matter if bots or automation are watching your Instagram Stories?
How can we create for our audience if we are unsure of what it is they need more of and what they are maxed out on consuming?
Again, if you are using your Instagram account as a means of marketing for your business then you know the importance of collecting metrics through the app, and that includes your total count of story viewers.
In fact, the total number of story viewers is more than likely what clued you in to the fact that something was not copacetic, to begin with.
If you had 4 stories posted for the day, your total number of viewers might have followed an odd pattern where your middle story viewers sat at a higher number than the first slide in your set of stories, which is theoretically not possible unless that particular story was pushed to a hashtag or geotag set of views.
The metrics of your story views is a great yardstick to use as a means of staying on track with creating content that your audience cannot get enough of. When there are fake story views in that metric, it’s hard to decipher how much content is being consumed by our dedicated audience!
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