Instagram follower and growth statistics every digital marketeer should know

Remember those early days of Instagram, filled with random vacation photos and blurry pictures of someone’s lunch?  Fast forward to today, and it’s morphed into the third-largest social media platform in the world. It’s now a platform to build influence and launch brands. This has led to many people trying to grow their presence on the platform by any means possible. However, over the last few years, we have seen some dramatic shifts. In this article, we analyse the latest Instagram follower statistics and insights into how people are attempting to grow on the platform.

As a specialist digital marketing agency, Antlerzz captures and analyses vast quantities of online and consumer data. We then turn these into insights for our clients helping them to understand the most effective methods to get more fans on social media platforms like Instagram. Our Instagram growth statistics data reveal the latest Instagram follower growth strategies, analysing how users are adapting and what the latest data reveals.

Interest in Instagram followers declines by over 50% in the UK!

Over the five-year period from June 2019 to June 2024, Antlerzz insights have found a marked decline in the interest surrounding Instagram followers in both the US and the UK.

  • In the US, general interest in Instagram followers has plummeted by 32.5%. 
  • The UK has seen a staggering 57.5% decline in interest for Instagram followers. 
  • This disinterest extends to users wanting to know who has the most followers – a topic that has seen a dramatic drop in interest (78.7% US and 95.4% UK)!

What’s driving this shift? It’s down to a combination of factors. It could be argued users are waking up to the reality that a massive follower count doesn’t automatically translate to genuine engagement or success. But there’s more to it. It’s more likely people are now savvy about the ins and outs of Instagram follower growth. This means they are looking for how to grow.

The plateau of quick fixes: Are apps and hacks losing their charm?

Interestingly, Antlerzz’s Instagram follower statistics suggest a plateau in wannabe influencers looking for “magic bullet” solutions for follower growth.

  • Both the US and UK haven’t seen any growth in searches for apps or hacks that promise instant follower boosts over the 5-year period from June 2019 to June 2024.

This could indicate that users are becoming more aware and recognising the limitations of these methods. Instagram actively cracks down on inauthentic growth methods, and these “quick fixes” often result in low-quality, unengaged followers. As users seek more sustainable growth strategies, these methods are likely to fall out of favour. 

83% decline in interest in free followers revealed by Instagram followers and growth stats

Whilst the number of people looking for hacks to get more Instagram followers has stagnated, there has been a dramatic change in people looking for free Instagram followers. In the world of Instagram, “free followers”, are bots that can be purchased to inflate your follower count. They are not actually free in terms of monetary value but rather free from having to spend time and effort growing on the platform. 

In the United Kingdom, Antlerzz Instagram follower statistics found:

  • An 83% decline in buying followers over five years (June 2019 to June 2024).
  • Interest in getting more fake followers peaked in April 2020, coinciding with the global pandemic and the UK’s first lockdown. People might have had more time to explore Instagram during lockdowns, leading to a surge in searches for follower growth methods. As life returned to normal, this interest may have subsided.

In the United States, our Instagram follower statistics discovered:

  • 65% decline in interest for free followers (June 2019 to June 2024).
  • A small jump in interest in April 2020 mirrors the UK trend, highlighting the global impact of the pandemic on social media behaviour.
  • Over a 10-year period (June 2014 to June 2024) there has been a gradual 64.9% decline with peak interest in June 2019. This suggests that the trend of seeking free followers was already waning before the pandemic.

This decline is surprising but perhaps a natural consequence of people trying to buy followers and realising it doesn’t work. You need to drive engagement through organic methods if you want to build a strong online following. 

However, whilst interest might have declined, in absolute terms there are still over 100,000 people per month in the US looking for fake followers. This means that Instagram still faces significant challenges.

The fake follower demand surges 300% globally shows our Instagram follower statistics 

Whilst demand for free followers is diminishing in the UK and US, Antlerzz Instagram follower and growth statistics show this is not the case worldwide.

  • Over 10 years (June 2014 to June 2024) there was a 300% increase in interest globally.
  • However, over 5 years (June 2019 to June 2024) interest slowed but still grew 131%.

This shift in interest globally is perhaps not a surprise. Online trends are often triggered in the US leading to adoption globally at a later stage. Interestingly this increase in free followers is being driven by emerging markets. This might be a result of more digital marketing initiatives being outsourced as a consequence of people struggling to understand how to grow on Instagram organically. 

Who is looking for fake followers? Understanding the demographics behind Instagram follower statistics

There is often a temptation to believe that the demand for fake followers is driven by teenagers. Yet, our followers’ stats for Instagram show some surprising insights.

When it comes to seeking free Instagram followers, the interest is spread across a wide age range in the US:

  • 18 to 24: 44.9%
  • 25 to 34: 5.9%
  • 35 to 44: 38.6%
  • Over 55: 7.2%

In the UK, the distribution of those seeking free Instagram followers is somewhat different:

  • 18 to 24: 34.5%
  • 25 to 34: 31.4%
  • 35 to 44: 25.7%
  • Over 55: 3.5%

As we can see the distribution of people looking to buy followers is actually more complex and varied than many may expect. In the US, 7.2% of people looking for fake followers on Instagram are actually over 55, outlining how age is not a barrier to people’s desire to grow regardless of methods. This is underpinned by diverse motivations from social validation to professional growth. As Instagram continues to evolve, so too will the strategies and demographics of its user base.

Despite the decline in interest for free followers, the data reveals a surprising lack of focus on organic growth strategies:

In the US our Instagram follower stats show that: 

  • The number of people seeking organic growth methods is only 0.5% of those looking for fake followers
  • The number of people simply wanting to “grow” without specifying methods is 52.6% of those looking for fake followers

In the UK, it’s a similar picture:

  • Those seeking organic growth methods make up just 1.4% when compared to those pursuing fake followers.
  • The number of people who want to get more Instagram followers, regardless of methods, is 59% when compared to those seeking fake followers.

This suggests organic growth strategies on Instagram appear to lag significantly behind the pursuit of fake followers, despite a general decline in interest for free follower tactics. Our Instagram follower statistics underscore a persistent reliance on shortcuts in the quest for Instagram prominence, potentially neglecting long-term engagement and authenticity. Unfortunately, these tactics are not an effective way to build a winning Instagram strategy.

Instagram follower statistics might be affected by reels

Are Reels causing a drop in interest in fake followers? Our Instagram follower stats suggest they might be

Instagram Reels, might be another reason for the decline in interest in buying followers. Reels are short-form videos and were launched in August 2020. This feature mimics TikTok and offers a more effective way to get more reach. 

Looking at the data from June 2021, a year after Reels were launched, to June 2024 shows:

  • In the US, interest in Instagram Reels increased by 60% 
  • In the UK, there was an even greater increase of 95.3%

Yet, growing on Instagram Reels is difficult and most still fail. This is because they don’t understand how to get more views on Instagram, which is key to success. This has led to a surge in interest in methods to increase Instagram views:

  • In the US interest in increasing Instagram views grew by 71.4%. 
  • However, in the UK interest has remained stable with no significant growth, indicating that Reels may not yet be seen as a primary growth strategy.

Whilst Reels may have played a role, it’s unlikely to be the primary factor. Our Instagram stats show that in June 2024, there was a notable surge in interest for automated Instagram views. This uptick signals a potential new phase of using dubious tactics for growth. As platforms evolve, so do the methods users employ to gain visibility, often pushing the boundaries of acceptable practices.

A new era for Instagram growth?

People spend 2hrs and 23minutes per day on social media platforms, meaning they play a critical role in many peoples lives. They are no longer just a source of entertainment, but rather a platform to gain influence by getting followers.

However, Instagram growth tactics are in a state of flux. Our Instagram follower and growth statistics reveal a fascinating shift in user behaviour. On face value, it suggests a declining obsession with follower counts and a growing scepticism towards “magic bullet” solutions for growth. 

Yet, our data also exposes a surprising lack of focus on organic growth strategies. Building a loyal following takes time, effort, and a commitment to creating content that aligns with what the Instagram algorithms want. Understanding your niche and utilising features like Reels effectively are crucial for success.

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