Despite creating new revenue sources, adding new 3rd party applications, incorporating new features, and even avoiding auto-postings through its API, Instagram’s interaction rate is significantly down. Now that their social platform is beginning to mature, it looks like the honeymoon phase is definitely over. Numbers from 2015 painted a bad picture and 2016 on is looking even bleaker for the social media platform.

Quintly, a web-based tool to help you track, benchmark and optimize your social media performance, released a study today on Instagram. After analyzing 10,000-user profiles through 2015, Quintly’s findings, all notably staggering, explain the social platform’s current state, how businesses are using it and what trends to expect going forward.

“Most surprising for me was the distinct drop in the interaction rate,” Julian Gottke, Communications Manager at Quintly stated. “Last year we reporting Instagram as the ‘King of Engagement’ and now the amount of interactions has dropped significantly.” By significantly, they mean a 40% drop in Instagram’s interaction rate.

Here is what happened at Instagram in 2015

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  • February 2015 – Instagram released auto looping for videos that is very much comparable to Vine.
  • March 2015 – Instagram Introduced Carousel Ads for Advertisers giving users the ability to swift left to view additional content.
  • March 2015 – Layout, the simple “collage” 3rd party application, was introduced to give users the option to create multi-image collages more efficiently.
  • April 2015 – Instagram released a plethora of new filters, new photo editing capabilities, and the ability to use emojis and hashtags.
  • June 2015 – New search and discovery features were rolled out to surface new trends and events.
  • September 2015 – Instagram Ads were pushed globally where videos could be up to 30 seconds long and the ads could be shown after more frequently.
  • October 2015 – Boomerang, another 3rd party application, was introduced to give users the option to create one-second videos that “bounce” back and forth.

Here are a list of Quintly’s findings for Instagram in 2015

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  • Follower growth is slowing and will continue through 2016.
  • Although the average profile still sees a monthly follower growth of 16%, the follower growth will begin to fall through 2017.
  • Average interaction rates are almost 40% lower than before. Users with a significant audience count have lower interaction rates than users with 1,000 followers or less.
  • Unfortunately, Quintly’s findings don’t really explain why these trends are occurring. There is, however, speculation that high follower count users are experiencing lower interaction rates because of fake profiles and bots. Knowing this, we can assume that some of these profiles may have driven follower growth from non-organic methods.

    We can also speculate that the natural evolution of the social media platform is resulting in slowing or decreasing statistics. Maturity plays a huge role here. Additionally, the introduction of ads may also play a role in lower interaction rates a well, which, some may argue, is more than an issue of a maturing application.

    You can find the full list of statistics from Quintly here.