Many Instagram Follower, Few Likes & Comments: Why?

Here’s why some Instagram accounts have many followers but only a few likes and comments:

This happens because the account has low levels of engagement from its user base.

This can happen when the user base is largely made of bot accounts, when the account owner doesn’t post often, or for a large number of other reasons.

It boils down to a disconnect between getting followers and engaging with them.

So if you want to learn all about why some much-followed IG accounts get few post likes and comments, then this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

Many Instagram Follower, Few Likes & Comments: Why?

What Is Instagram?

Woman viewing social media app on cell phone, looking at someone

The idea of having a lot of followers without a lot of likes and comments is interesting.

In order to properly explore it, we’ll have to lay a foundation.

So, let’s start with Instagram itself.

The fact that you’re even here reading this suggests that you have at least some familiarity with the platform, but I’ll cover the basics all the same.

Instagram is a social media platform.

It works primarily through a website and a mobile app.

You can use either to access the platform and all of its content.

Instagram was originally designed specifically to make it easy for users to share photographs, and over time, it evolved to also share lots of video.

You can communicate directly with other users on Instagram, and you can also search the platform to find content published by people you have never met.

That’s the gist of how Instagram works, but if you really get into it, then you’re going to run into the idea of engagement statistics.

I’ll explain these more as we go, but essentially, Instagram likes to keep a close eye on how many followers, likes, and comments are attached to any given account.

What Is a Follower in Instagram?

Black woman laughing at a joke on mobile phone

With that in mind, we need to talk about followers.

If you browse Instagram, you’ll see a lot of different accounts.

Even though the platform focuses on pictures, pictures can revolve around a large number of themes.

Some people like to post pictures of themselves.

Others go for landscapes.

Some post pictures of their dog.

It’s all over the place, and that’s kind of the point.

You can scour the site until you find an account with a theme that you really like.

It’s content that you want to return to, and you’re interested in seeing what the user posts next.

In order to make that easy, you can follow the user.

There’s a little button on their account that you can tap or click, and then your account will be following theirs.

You can then look at the list of things you follow, and that makes it easy to go back to such accounts and keep up with their new posts.

You can even set alerts so that you get a notification whenever they post something new.

This is one of the key engagement statistics tracked by Instagram.

The platform knows exactly how many people follow every single Instagram account, and you can even see how many people follow you.

As that number grows, it usually becomes easier for more people to find and follow you.

So, for anyone looking to have a large audience, building up a large base of followers is very important.

What Is a Like in Instagram?

Person viewing photo gallery on smartphone

Followers are just the first step, though.

Whether you follow an account or not, you can like any of their posts.

If you think a picture is particularly nice or cute or compelling or whatever, you can like it. 

When you like a post, Instagram takes notice, and they count these statistics just like follows.

This is another part of engagement.

If a particular post gets enough likes, Instagram might feature that post and put it front and center for millions of users to see.

This can help someone grow their follower base, and as they do, those new followers might like additional posts.

Do you see where this is going?

Likes and follows create a bit of a feedback loop that can really grow the outreach for an account.

What Is a Comment in Instagram?

Thoughtful lady using phone during relax

The third major metric is the comment.

On any post, you can leave a comment.

You can write literally anything in that comment (granted there are rules that can get a comment deleted).

Here’s the thing about comments.

Instagram tracks how many comments there are on every single post.

The interesting part is that it doesn’t really matter what the comment says, in terms of engagement.

Naturally, what you say to another human being matters, but for Instagram statistics, they don’t track the actual words.

They’re just interested in how many people were compelled to leave a comment on a post.

In this way, comments work a lot like likes.

More comments will get a post more notoriety, and that can translate to more followers and more likes, and you see how all of this goes.

Why Do Some Instagram Accounts Have Lots of Followers But Only Few Likes and Comments? (7 Reasons)

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So, now that you know how engagement works on Instagram, the original question is a lot more interesting.

How could someone have a lot of followers and not have lots of likes and comments too?

It seems unnatural, considering how Instagram is designed.

And, that thought process is perfectly reasonable.

It’s certainly not the norm for a popular account to have few likes and comments, but it’s not entirely unheard of either.

It turns out that there are a handful of scenarios that can lead to this outcome, and I’m going to take you through each of them.

#1 Bots

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This is the leading answer.

While I can’t cite raw statistics, the general sentiment seems to be that bots are a more likely answer for this situation than anything else on this list.

That doesn’t mean that an account with lots of followers and little engagement definitely has a large bot following, but it’s definitely something that happens.

I should probably explain what this means, yeah?

In computer terms, a bot is a program that is designed to carry out actions typically left to humans.

The term comes from a shortening of the word robot, but a computer bot is not some Terminator machine with robot hands that are working a keyboard.

Instead, it’s just a specific bit of software that carries out an action.

When it comes to Instagram, there are bots that create accounts and then follow users according to their instructions.

In fact, there are bot farms where people use powerful computers or large networks of computers to make thousands upon thousands of bot accounts.

They can then order all of these bots to follow a specific user.

Typically, they do this as a paid service. 

In other words, Instagram users can pay bot farms to boost their follower numbers.

You pay the fee, and suddenly you have thousands of new followers.

The thing is, the bots usually aren’t extremely active.

They’ll follow an account, and then that’s it.

They often won’t like, and commenting is very hard for most bots, and that’s how you get this situation.

It’s worth noting that botting is a problem with most social media platforms; it is not unique to Instagram.

It is also worth noting that a person can have a lot of bot followers without knowing it.

Not all bots are paid for.

There are groups on the internet that will experiment with their bots and follow random users.

Someone in control of bots might even unleash them on a user for personal reasons.

There are a lot of possibilities here, so a high bot following is not necessarily purchased.

#2 Low Activity

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It’s possible to have a large follower base and low engagement without the involvement of bots, and a common way that happens is with low user activity.

Let’s create a hypothetical example to explore what this might look like.

You decide to become an influencer.

You create your Instagram account—along with all of your other social media accounts—and you get to work.

You make the best content.

You engage with people and network.

You collaborate with bigger influencers.

It all works out, and you have a major following on Instagram.

After a while, you realize that this isn’t really the life for you, and you want to transition out of being an influencer.

As other plans take off, you spend less and less time on Instagram.

Eventually, you’re barely posting more than a couple of times a year.

In this case, your activity went down, and as a result, people will probably pay less attention to you on the platform.

They might not take the time to unfollow you, but they also might not notice your new content.

So, you can post some new pictures or a short video, and you get far fewer likes and comments than you used to.

It’s a natural progression.

If a popular account becomes less active, engagement is likely to drop as well.

#3 Algorithm

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It’s easy to forget, but the Instagram platform actually has a ton of control over what content you see when you use it, and that applies to literally everyone.

If someone clearly violated the platform’s rules and terms of service—such as posting copyrighted material without permission—then Instagram can and often will ban that account.

But, if the rule breaking is less overt, Instagram might have a more subtle response. 

They can adjust how the algorithm treats an individual account in order to reduce engagement.

You might follow such an account, but you won’t see when they post new things because of this adjustment.

The idea is that rules haven’t been broken explicitly, but Instagram is worried about liability or fallout, and is hedging against these problems by lowering engagement.

Now, this gets into controversial territory very quickly, and I’m not here to tell you how you should feel about things.

Instead, I’m going to point out that this type of intervention does exist and has been used by Instagram.

That means it’s a viable explanation for why someone might have a lot of followers and low engagement.

It’s not necessarily the most likely explanation, but it certainly fits on the list.

#4 Purchased Accounts

Female student with laptop in cafe

On a completely different note, it’s possible that the account itself was purchased, rather than bot followers.

Such a thing works like this.

Someone creates an Instagram account.

They have a pretty good working knowledge of social media and how to grow an account.

So, they build up the Instagram account to a certain number of followers, and then they sell that account.

The problem might arise when the buyer takes over running the account without the same working knowledge of how to grow an Instagram following.

They aren’t as adept with hashtags and other techniques, and so the popularity falls off quickly.

Users are quick to stop engaging with content, but they tend to be slower when it comes to unfollowing accounts.

So, you end up with an account that retains a fair number of followers, but has virtually no engagement.

#5 Lost Popularity

Young caucasian woman recording vlog tutorial with smartphone at home shocked covering mouth with hands for mistake. secret concept.

The above scenario can actually happen without account ownership changing hands (more or less).

Instead of the account being sold, the account simply loses popularity.

Such a loss of popularity can come from a lot of things.

Typically, though, it isn’t from posting something that their followers dislike.

If a popular Instagrammer posts something that is actively disliked, then they often lose followers as a result.

This is the one time that people are not slow to unfollow an account.

As soon as people are genuinely angered or upset by something, they are motivated to take action, and unfollowing is a common choice.

Instead, it’s possible to lose popularity because the poster’s interests misalign from the followers.

Let’s say an account gets popular by posting a bunch of cooking videos to teach followers tasty recipes.

Then, that same person discovers a new hobby, like collecting beetles, and they transition their content into the new hobby.

Unfortunately, it’s not as popular, so people don’t engage as much.

That’s intended to be a silly example, but you get the idea.

Trends change, and not all users keep their finger on the pulse of Instagram.

Popularity can wane, and when it does, engagement usually goes down.

#6 User Purge

Team of software developers talking about source code running on laptop screen

Remember how I said there are a bunch of bots on Instagram?

Well, Instagram is aware of this, and the platform doesn’t exactly like it.

Bots throw off statistics and make it harder for Instagram officials to run the show.

So, they go after bots.

Bot accounts are banned regularly, but Instagram developers are constantly working on sophisticated tools that help to find and eliminate bot accounts.

Every once in a while, they update these tools, and there is a mass, rapid ban of bot accounts.

This is colloquially referred to as a user purge.

Large numbers of accounts are banned or restricted in short order.

When this happens, accounts that have a lot of bot followers might suddenly lose popularity.

On top of that, the bot purges are imperfect.

Real, live human beings are often caught up in the purges, and they might have their accounts suspended or limited incorrectly.

Even more adding to this idea is that not all purges target bots.

Sometimes, Instagram will update user terms and then have a purge to get rid of accounts that violate the rules. 

All of these different things can add up, and any or all of them can contribute to the situation where you see large numbers of followers with low levels of engagement.

In case I didn’t make this completely clear, one reason for this is that purges don’t always completely ban accounts.

They can suspend or otherwise restrict accounts.

When this is the case, restricted accounts will still follow other users on Instagram, but they might not be able to comment or otherwise engage with content.

#7 Poor Engagement

Unhappy young woman using smartphone portrait. Sad girl reading bad news or texting with mobile phone. Family issues, problem concept

I’ve talked a lot about poor engagement from the follower end, but it can also happen on the account owner end of things.

Allow me to explain with another example.

Let’s say that you enjoy making funny videos.

So, you create a TikTok account.

It takes off, and you have a large following.

You also happen to have an Instagram account, but you don’t really use it that much. 

You’re so popular on TikTok that someone creates a fan page, and on that page, they link to your Instagram.

As a result, you end up with a bunch of new followers on Instagram, even though you aren’t really using the account.

Because you rarely post and don’t give much attention to Instagram, your followers don’t have much to engage with.

Ultimately, your follower numbers far exceed your other engagement statistics.

That’s certainly not the only way this happens, but it paints enough of the picture.

It’s possible to grow a follower base on Instagram without trying to drive engagement.

People could find the Instagram account from other social media, popular websites, mentions on popular content, or many other sources.

If the follower base isn’t grown organically inside of Instagram through engagement, then it’s not unreasonable to expect this situation of high follower counts with low overall engagement.