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Why You’re Losing Instagram Followers — But Why You Shouldn’t Panic

John Beaton
April 5, 2024
Last Updated On
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Losing followers on Instagram is not necessarily a cause for alarm. The platform is more than 14 years old and at a more significant maturity stage than younger social platforms. Many brands have achieved considerable success to date, and plateaus in follower growth rate are a normal part of social media. Think of it this way — your decline in follower growth reflects how many people you have already reached.

As social media becomes more algorithm-based, users now watch your content (particularly Reels) without necessarily following you. Reels can build community, grow your brand awareness and create new customers, all without them ever pressing ‘Follow.’ 

Rather than focusing solely on the numbers, it's vital to consider what these changes signify and how they can inform a more nuanced approach to content and engagement. 

In the following sections, we will explain what follower growth rate you can expect and tactics you can employ to break above your top competitors. We also cover:

  • Why you’re losing Instagram followers.
  • Why follower growth is an outdated metric.
  • Average follower growth rate.
  • Tips to prevent follower loss.

Why Am I Losing Followers on Instagram?

The decline in Instagram followers is a common experience for many brands, influenced by factors such as changing user interests, the Instagram algorithm’s preference for trend-driven content and the natural ebb and flow of social media engagement. Users may unfollow accounts that no longer align with their interests or don't engage in the latest content formats, such as Reels or Stories. Additionally, Instagram's continuous updates to its algorithm mean that content visibility is constantly evolving, affecting follower dynamics.

Image credit: @mosseri

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri says follower count matters less than view and like counts. Traditional metrics like follower growth may not fully capture a brand's performance or resonance with its audience in today's Instagram landscape. This also applies to engagement rate, which measures engagement versus a brand’s total number of followers. Alternative metrics, like the Effectiveness Rate, which includes saves, reach and video views, offer a more comprehensive view of engagement and content impact.

The transition from a social-graph to a content-graph paradigm means users rely less on direct follows and more on the algorithm's ability to curate content. This shift underscores the importance of creating compelling, shareable content over accumulating followers.

Despite these changes, engagement rates on Instagram are on the rise, indicating that users are engaging with brands more than ever, offsetting follower losses, and quality content can still achieve significant reach and impact.

Average Follower Growth Rate

The general trend across various industries shows a decline in follower growth rates, reflecting changes in user behavior. This decline suggests that brands need to adapt their strategies to focus on deeper engagement rather than follower counts — which signals that you’re doing something right but not the ultimate goal for social media. Creating content that resonates with your target social demographic, leveraging new Instagram features and engaging directly with your community can grow your engagement, increase KPIs and conversions and counteract the trend of slowing follower growth.

Year-Over-Year Growth Rate 

For all industries, the average follower growth rate has fallen from 0.87% at the start of 2023 to 0.74% in 2024. This highlights the evolving challenges and opportunities within Instagram's ecosystem, emphasizing the need for brands to pivot towards engagement-driven strategies and to explore new content formats that cater to evolving user preferences. 

The year-over-year follower growth rate is helpful in understanding the slight decrease in follower growth that all brands are universally experiencing, although nuances exist for each industry. The sections below briefly explain how each industry is shifting in follower growth year-over-year.

Average Follower Growth Rate by Industry

Curious how specific industries compare when it comes to follower growth rate? We dive into year-over-year performance for a range of industries including beauty, retail and more.


The automotive industry has seen a slight decline in follower growth rate in 2024. Brands can focus on authenticity from user-generated content to enhance engagement.

  • January 2023: 0.72%
  • January 2024: 0.66%
  • YoY Growth: -6%


The beauty industry has seen a fair increase in follower growth in 2024. This is likely a result of the industry’s knack for innovation, energizing viewers and encouraging communities to press follow. Moving forward, focusing on community and partnering with creators will help further boost follower growth.

  • January 2023: 0.65%
  • January 2024: 0.85% 
  • YoY Growth: 20% 

Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronics brands have a stable follower growth rate. Brands looking to drive interest can showcase buzz-worthy product innovation and tech advancements to keep audiences engaged.

  • January 2023: 0.80%
  • January 2024: 0.78% 
  • YoY Growth: -2%


The cosmetics industry has relatively low follower growth due to industry saturation. Many top brands already have several million followers, and plateaus are expected. Brands can compete by inviting new audiences, especially from younger generations.

  • January 2023: 0.35%
  • January 2024: 0.31% 
  • YoY Growth: -4%


Fashion industry brands have seen a large decline in follower growth rates in 2024. Brands can re-energize audiences by honing in on content quality, prioritizing authenticity and audience engagement over stilted visuals and editorial content, just as Urban Outfitters did.

  • January 2023: 0.57%
  • January 2024: 0.40% 
  • YoY Growth: -17%

Financial Services

Financial services brands have seen a steep decline in follower growth in 2024. However, the industry remains one of the fastest-growing segments on Instagram. Brands can regain growth momentum by focusing on what their audience wants, whether it’s financial tips or success stories.

  • January 2023: 1.13%
  • January 2024: 0.84% 
  • YoY Growth: -17%

Food & Beverage

Food & beverage brands have seen stable follower growth year-over-year. Brands can entice new followers by focusing on entertainment, sharing recipes and highlighting unique dining experiences.

  • January 2023: 0.78%
  • January 2024: 0.76% 
  • YoY Growth: -2%


The home industry has seen a steep decline in follower growth in 2024 due to market saturation and content that may not meet audiences' expectations for entertainment. Brands can improve follower growth by identifying opportunities to use video content and tap into trends.

  • January 2023: 0.92%
  • January 2024: 0.55% 
  • YoY Growth: -37%

Children and Baby

Children and baby brands have slightly declined follower growth in 2024. Brands can draw more followers by regularly sharing educational content and parenting tips.

  • January 2023: 0.65%
  • January 2024: 0.48% 
  • YoY Growth: -17%


Luxury brands have seen a slight decline in follower growth rate in 2024. Brands can maintain interest with content that delights audiences, including exclusive previews and behind-the-scenes footage.

  • January 2023: 1.06%
  • January 2024: 0.73% 
  • YoY Growth: -0.19%


Media brands have seen a substantial decline in follower growth in 2024, likely due to more brands operating like entertainers. Brands can recapture audience growth and stand out by leveraging exclusive content.

  • January 2023: 1.32%
  • January 2024: 0.87% 
  • YoY Growth: -0.19%


Publishers have seen a decline in follower growth rate. Brands in this industry can attract more followers by leveraging more video-based and trend-focused content.

  • January 2023: 0.83%
  • January 2024: 0.59% 
  • YoY Growth: -0.24%


Retailers now have one of the lowest growth rates out of all industries, which indicates that the retail industry is saturated in followers. Brands can boost visibility by focusing on new audiences.

  • January 2023: 0.54%
  • January 2024: 0.39% 
  • YoY Growth: -0.15%


The travel industry has seen a steep decline in follower growth, however, it remains one of the highest-growing industries. Brands can stabilize growth by continuing to delight audiences.

  • January 2023: 2.27%
  • January 2024: 1.59% 
  • YoY Growth: -0.15%


The wedding industry has seen stable growth on Instagram. Brands can continue to attract engaged couples by showcasing real weddings and helpful planning tips.

  • January 2023: 0.58%
  • January 2024: 0.54% 
  • YoY Growth: -0.04%


Wellness brands have seen a significant decline in Instagram followers; however, they remain one of the fastest-growing categories. Brands can continue to draw dedicated followers by focusing on meaningful education, such as mental health tips.

  • January 2023: 1.49%
  • January 2024: 0.84% 
  • YoY Growth: -0.65%

How To Stop Losing Instagram Followers 

Losing Instagram followers is not the end of the world. As we’ve explored, it is a natural part of social media saturation, and brands should instead focus on growing engagement. That being said, there are certainly tactics that brands can employ to mitigate these losses and possibly even revert them, which we explain in the below sections.

Conduct a Competitive Analysis

Understanding the competitive landscape is essential for identifying opportunities and threats. For example, cosmetic brands will see that their competitors are seeing declining follower growth, which puts their own status quo into perspective. A competitive analysis will also reveal insights into what’s working within your niche, allowing you to refine your content strategy to pull ahead of the competition.

Engage With Followers

Community is the cornerstone of a successful Instagram strategy. Responding to comments, creating interactive content and fostering an atmosphere where people will want to comment on your posts and each other’s posts can encourage people to stay engaged with your brand. Regular interaction helps build a community and boosts your visibility due to the platform's algorithms and builds a loyal audience base.

Develop Buyer Personas 

Knowing your audience is crucial for creating content that resonates. By developing detailed buyer personas, you can tailor your content strategy to address your target segments' specific interests, needs and behaviors. This personalized approach can improve content relevance and engagement, reducing follower loss.

Share Consistently 

Consistency in posting is key to keeping your audience engaged and interested. A social media content calendar helps plan and maintain a regular posting schedule, ensuring your brand stays top-of-mind for your followers. By sharing consistently, you can build a routine and expectation among your audience, leading to higher engagement rates.

Elevate Instagram Strategy With Dash Hudson

Utilizing Dash Hudson’s suite of tools can transform your Instagram strategy. By monitoring key metrics like engagement, Effectiveness Rate and follower growth, brands can gain valuable insights into their performance. Dash Hudson's social analytics and monitoring offer benchmarks and competitor comparisons, empowering brands to optimize their strategies and maintain a competitive edge in their industry. Additionally, Dashboards help brands understand the nuances of their own strategy over a period of time, including the key drivers of growth over the past year, so they can focus on the right initiatives.


Why are my followers decreasing on Instagram?

Your follower count may decrease due to various factors, including bot accounts being removed, changes in user preferences or a lack of harmony with current social trends. Regularly revisiting your content strategy and prioritizing building your community in the comments section can help mitigate these losses.

How do I avoid losing followers on Instagram?

To avoid losing followers, focus on engaging with your audience, understanding their preferences and delivering consistent, high-quality content. Use analytics and social listening to understand your performance, stay updated on Instagram trends and adapt your strategy to ensure it aligns with your audience's interests as they are today.

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