The Instagram Algorithm – what it means for you

Instagram – what a love-hate relationship I have with it. On one hand, it has brought together so many fantastic people all on one platform, on the other I seem to constantly be wading through sponsored posts with content that has nothing to do with me. Despite filtering my preferred feed and removing posts of a particular nature, I am still struggling with growing my following and keeping my engagement at a level which I find rewarding.

With 1349 (genuine) followers my engagement has been steadily dropping since April of this year, where it was at its highest. On average it is dropping around 10% per month. Apparently my best time to post is Saturday at 8am and my highest engagement occurs on Sunday’s at 5am.

My most popular post of all time was on 26 November 2017 and it had 515 likes, most of which had occurred in under an hour! I have no idea how it went so crazy in such a small amount of time but it really went off! To date I have been unable to get anywhere near this number of likes for any other posts, despite having grown my following, improved my captions and hashtags and also increased my engagement with others.

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Do you suppose she’s a wildflower? 🌸🐰🎩 -Alice in Wonderland • Today I’m missing my girlfriends quite a lot so I’m sharing pics from our last girls pic – I apologise for the influx! ~~~ Growing up in Australia, in many different rural communities – I'm used to strapping myself in for a decent drive to get to the closest town / city / coffee. I'm talking driving 3 hours each way into Mackay just so I could get a decent coffee on Saturdays! ~~~ So when I got to NZ – I was quite shocked to learn that in that same time period you can drive ACROSS some parts of the country! Obviously I'm not going to throw that opportunity away! If you have access to a car in N.Z – I highly recommend using it – pack a bag, grab your camera and drive! I've connected with an absolutely gorgeous lady by the name of Sha @lifetomyfullest through wordpress who has also documented her journeys across N.Z (driving and solo travel) as well! ~~~ Just remember to take care where you pull over – the scenery is beautiful but so are yours and everyone else's lives! ~~~ Canon EOS 550D • #akaroa #southisland #thegiantshouse #happiestgardenonearth #newzealand #nz #girlstrip #findyourtribe #travel #passionpassport #purenz #flowers #tourismNZ #sheisnotlost #beautifuldestinations #igtravel #purenewzealand #NZMustDo #wearetravelgirls #wineandcheese #instatravel #doyoutravel #wanderlust #darlingescapes #travelgram #bucketlist #explorenewzealand #instagood #chasingtheworld #shewhowanders

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My focus has always been on engagement, the likes and comments are great but ultimately I am using this Social Network platform for exactly that, social networking. I am inspired by so many  incredible accounts out there and am fortunate enough to have met several people from Instagram in real life.

On the other hand, I have gone through the follow-unfollow game, the bots, spam, fake comments and even negative feedback when quite frankly, it was not warranted nor welcomed. I am however a very (super) small fish in a very large pond.

The latest Algorithm – what is it looking for?

Your feed is not based on who you are following alone, it is also based on who and what you like. The system is relying on your past behaviour to create your feed. In addition to this, Instagram is also trying to show you content from your friends and family so they have announced that 90% of the posts shown will be from this demographic (previously it was 50%). So this might explain why your feed has several posts from people you know and then fifteen posts of cake decorating (because you liked that one cake decorating post yesterday). Instagram is kind of like a needy acquaintance trying way to hard to be your BFF sometimes.

The algorithm is not going back to chronological like most of us had hoped, but depending on how often you use the platform it will try to show you the most recent/relevant posts when you log in.

I had some accounts I really loved following for their content and their engagement, but their accounts are no longer about travel and have turned into constantly sponsored product-placement posts (I don’t necessarily want to unfollow them but muting them is likely going to be my next step). My advice would be to unfollow or mute accounts you no longer wish to have dominating your feed.

Gone are the days where posting videos or using Instagram Stories/Instagram Live would help your reach, those features are fun but they are no longer likely going to improve your reach or enagagement. Shadow-banning which was long denied (much like the “non-existent” bell-curve in uni marking 😉 ) has been confirmed as being a “bug” which has since been fixed.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your content, engagement, captions, theme and brand. If like me, you are simply posting what you love, when you want to then you will likely have a heathy following but you won’t be quitting your day job anytime soon.

Taylor Loren over at Later posted a wonderful article on The Best Time to Post on Instagram in 2018, you can read it here. I have always had better engagement in the morning, I think it takes into consideration transit time for Australian’s getting to and from work and those followers in the Southern Hemisphere who are scrolling their feed during the evening.

Ultimately I think my lack of theme or ‘brand’ is the reason my Instagram is not doing overly well. I just do not seem to have that creative flare. Ideally I would love to have a cohesive theme but I find it to be quite limiting as I do not want to be confined to particular colours or posts. It’s a conundrum. I think I will primarily focus on my blog and Pinterest pages and have IG in the background.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

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MEET ME IN NEW YORK <3 (NYC, PART 3)

 

With only five days in New York, over the New Years period during winter, it is not possible to see as much as you would like. However, our last couple of days in New York, were…magical! This post is a little bit longer, but I promise it’s worth a read til the end 🙂 <3.

We made sure to check out the Rockefeller Centre, to visit the large Christmas tree and also watch tourists on the beautiful ice rink at Rockefeller Centre. This gorgeous ice rink, formally known as a ‘skating pond’ came to creation in 1936 and can take up to 150 people at a time. We were happy just watching the skaters and enjoying our Starbucks creations and looking at the tree!

Speaking of Starbucks, now I know it’s commercial, however you have to forgive me. I am an Australian, Starbucks has always seemed like this iconic American thing – also there seems to be one on every block?! I was a big fan of the Pumpkin Spice (G HATED it) and the Peppermint Mocha and G liked the Gingerbread Latte.

After the tree and our caffeine injection, we decided to make our way down to catch the subway from Rockefeller Centre down to Brooklyn Bridge, we didn’t have enough time to walk across the entire bridge, but did walk about a third of the way out! What a view! So beautiful and so many people, thankfully we are quite tall so were always able to get photos without too many people in the background (where we could). I also twisted (kidding!) G’s arm into eating a cheesy, delicious street vendor while we were there.

After Brooklyn Bridge, we explored the Trinity Church, which is amazing – did you know the oldest grave there dates back to 1681 (a child, Richard Churcher whose gravestone is the oldest carved gravestone in New York City)? Also, it was the tallest structure in the United States until 1869, can you believe that?! As a comparison, our country first had colonies established in 1788. Trinity Church has these beautiful big bronze doors dating back to 1893. I recommend having a walk around the graveyard, see the dates on them and the craftsmanship on this hand-carved headstones.

We had a quick look around Wall Street, tried to get a decent photo with the Bull (fail), saw another Christmas tree (win!) and made our way back uptown to Times Square. We did stop at a coffee shop which had an amazing selection of goodies. I had a delicious red velvet cupcake (my favourite) and G had a cannoli.

We had bought tickets to Lion King on Broadway and it was honestly the best $300 we could have spent. We were seated up in the Mezzanine of the Minskoff Theatre. The show is unforgettable, visually stunning and I could feel the beat of the drums up from my heels, through to my chest. Such beautiful performances and powerful voices! The set design, costume design, orchestrations and music director are to be applauded.

On our second last day in NYC, we decided to try out the Staten Island Ferry, so we could see the lady in the water herself. It was very cold and very windy and fortunately as we came out of the subway and made our way to the ferry terminal – it SNOWED!!!!  Visibility was poor but the ferry ride was fun and we were just able to make our the Statue of Liberty. Who cares, we had been snowed on! (mass excitement ensued).

One of my girlfriends from high school, had been living in Connecticut when we went on our trip and she drove in to take us to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn. Oh my goodness- American’s know how to BBQ, well done you guys! I think G had an out of body experience with the food. It was amazing! My friend also spoiled us with a bag filled with American treats, who knew chocolate covered potato chips existed?!

Although we were sad our amazing time in NYC was coming to an end, our very last day in New York, was very special indeed!

G and I had planned to go to Serendipity 3 on 225 E 60th Street – we had both heard all about the frozen hot chocolates at this old-school and movie famous dessert destination. Serendipity looks like the inside of something out of Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree lands – colourful, sparkly, and jam-packed with pretty artefacts and the smell of delicious food. We actually made our way there relatively early, as we had heard about the lines. we both ordered burgers and fries and we both ordered frozen hot chocolates – I had wanted to split mine with G – he had told me to bugger off :).

This amazing drink/meal/chocolate dream has been a favourite for over 50 years. It has 3 ounces of chocolate (milk or dark), hot chocolate mix, sugar, milk, and ice, whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Delicious! Far too much food for one morning, but delicious. In our sugar high, we wandered back towards Central Park for a wander, to try and walk off the sugar!

G wanted to go back to the little hut we had been in a couple of days before hand, overlooking the lake and Bow Bridge. As it was our last day and there was still so much to see, I was a little frustrated about going somewhere we had already seen. Still, G was persistent. So we went back to the little shack and sat down and after looking across at Bow Bridge and turning back around, I found my wonderful boyfriend, on one knee and a gorgeous diamond ring in hand! How he managed to keep this a secret for our entire trip is beyond me!

The proposal was only slightly interrupted by the Russian woman near us screaming abuse into her mobile phone, which I happen to think added to the experience :).

We went and ordered a celebratory margherita pizza and a bottle of champagne from John’s of Times Square, a cute little 1929 village pizzeria in midtown at 260 W 44th Street.

It was overwhelmingly romantic, super cute, very us and a really nice moment between the two of us. Proposed to in Central Park, on our amazing holiday – what more could a girl want?

New York, you are beautiful and I am so blessed to have had so many amazing experiences with you there by my side!

Thanks for reading!

x