Let’s talk about Instagress. Even though the site was shut down over a year ago, there seems to be no shortage of Instagrammers searching for the phrases “Instagress Alternative,” or “Instagress Replacement.”

I’m here to talk about why Instagress failed, and more importantly, why you should STOP searching for Instagress alternatives IMMEDIATELY.

Say “No” to an Instagress Alternative

The purpose of this article is not to deter you from using a social media agency. Rather, it is to warn against using any service that is an Instagress Replacement, meaning any service that works exactly like Instagress did.

I’m going to dive into all the reasons why in a minute, but first let’s talk about a very important piece to this puzzle.

Contrary to popular belief, the key to Instagram success is not your follower count. Initially, Instagress was an attractive service among Instagram users and influencers because it promised your account tons of Instagram followers fast. Unfortunately, the result was more damaging to Instagram accounts than it was beneficial.

Instagress Shut downWhat is Instagress?

Or rather, what was Instagress?

Instagress was designed to automate likes, comments, follow and unfollow activity on Instagram. Before changes to Instagram’s algorithm, many users assumed that the only factor that mattered when it came to the popularity of your Instagram account was how many followers you had.

With the promise to grow a user’s follower base rapidly and automatically without any work on the user’s part, it’s easy to see why so many people purchased the service.  Here’s how it worked:

Essentially, anyone who paid for Instagress would provide a list of hashtags they wished to target, as well as a list of approved comments:

Instagress Alternative

Instagress: Choosing Tags and Comment

Instagress bots would then go out and automatically “like” or “comment” on any content that was related to the terms a user had provided to the company. While this may seem like a convenient concept, the possibilities for error were endless.

Instagress Review

Because Instagress was one of the easier apps to use, as well as one of the most affordable, it was well used by the Instagram community.

Sure, some users who paid for Instagress saw an increase in followers and (sometimes) engagement. But it was the nature and quality of those followers that not only got Instagress shut down but also negatively affected those users’ Instagram accounts.

(And let’s not forget — Followers do not equal engagement.)

Instagress Bots

Instagress was an automated system. You may have heard the terms “Instagram Bots,” or “Instagress Bots,” so let’s break down exactly what bots do.

  1. When an Instagram user purchased Instagress’s service, he or she provided the company with hashtags to target and a list of approved comments to post on his or her behalf.
  2. Instagress would then take those keywords and comments and put them into a computer program.
  3. That program would then scan Instagram’s database for those terms and automatically engage with any content that was a match.

For example, if I provided Instagress with the hashtag #bulldogpuppies, I would see a large spike in my likes and comments on posts about bulldog puppies — all from Instagress bots acting on my behalf.

The Flaw in the System

Increasing your engagement with other users and their content is a good thing, but not if those users are fake.

While Instagress may not have created fake likes or users, they certainly did not attempt to ensure any accounts they engaged with on their customers’ behalves were real.

Unfortunately, however, that is simply the nature of a completely automated system. Instagress bots were designed to target and automatically engage with keywords on Instagram, meaning no evaluation or vetting of posts was taking place.

Instagress could end up engaging with abusive or irrelevant content using your IG handle. Furthermore, automated comments left on a user’s behalf were not guaranteed to be relevant to the conversation or the photo. For example, it was entirely possible for an Instagress bot to leave a comment like “Haha, this is great!” on a sad post.

These kinds of errors ended up making users’ Instagram accounts look fake or spammy, which is a surefire way to put your account in a bad standing.

After all, spammy and fake accounts are what got Instagress shut down in the first place. (That and violating Instagram’s Terms of Service.) Associating your account with Instagress alternatives could result in your account getting flagged or even deleted.

But wait… there’s more. Spammy and fake accounts are harmful to your Instagram account, but there’s a much bigger piece to the puzzle. Here’s why Instagress could never work, and why you should stop looking for an Instagress alternative:

Instagram Algorithm

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, having a large follower count will not ensure your account is successful or even discoverable on Instagram.

Recent changes to Instagram’s Algorithm changed how users were shown content within their feed. No more were the days when posts were shown in chronological order.

Have the rules for best times to post on social media changed? How can Instagram users ensure people are seeing their content? How do you get to the “Discover” or “Top Posts” pages?

Instagress Alternative

Top Posts Section

The new “Instagram Algorithm 2018” is heavily based around engagement. Here’s what we already know:

  1. Instagram will show you posts it thinks are most relevant to you:
    • Posts you’ve liked in the past
    • Content or terms you frequently search for or engage with
  2. Instagram values quality content and high engagement over all else.
    • Photos that are visually captivating
      Instagram Caption

      Photo by @kylie.fly, reposted on @blackdiamond

    • Posts that are frequently shared on social media
    • Content that drives users to comment, like or otherwise engage with
    • Well written, captivating photo captions
  3. Instagram wants to feature popular accounts
    • Accounts with lots of followers who are all actively engaging with their posts.

Instagram Engagement Rate

Let’s talk about how to calculate Instagram engagement rate. We now know that Instagram rewards accounts with high levels of engagement.

Think about it: Instagram is all about engaging their users with exciting content so that people use the app more frequently.

Engaging Content → Views → Shares → Attracts more users to the app → Increases revenue for Instagram.

Instagram is a business after all, so it makes sense it would prioritize showing users highly engaging content to keep them using the app.

How do you increase your engagement rate on Instagram? 

Simply put, the larger the percentage of your total followers who engage with your content on a regular basis, the higher your engagement rate on Instagram. For example, let’s look at two sample Instagram accounts:


  1. @johndoe:    200 posts      11.k Followers     400 following
  • Every post @johndoe uploads to his Instagram gets an average of 100 total likes each
  • @johndoe has a very large following of 11,0000, but only 100 of those followers are interacting with his posts on a regular basis
  • @johndoe’s engagement rate is less than 1%.

  1. @leroyjenkins   200 posts     600 Followers     300 following
  • Every post @leroyjenkins uploads to his Instagram gets an average of 400 total likes each
  • @leroyjenkins has significantly fewer followers than @johndoe, but a much larger percentage of his followers engage with his content on a regular basis.
  • @leroyjenkins’s engagement rate is 66%. 

Can you guess which Instagram account has a better chance of being featured in the “Top Posts” or “Discover” section?

To Instagram, @johndoe’s account is nothing special, because very little of his followers care about his content. @leroyjenkins may not have a record amount of followers, however, his engagement rate is through the roof.

This is the type of account Instagram wants to feature because a lot of engagement means more views, more shares, and more people using the app.

If you want to calculate your Instagram engagement rate or learn how to increase it, check out this article for a step-by-step guide.

Better than Instagress

Instagress closed, and there’s no denying it was for the best when it comes to the health of users’ Instagram accounts.

That being said, there’s no denying the fact that growing your Instagram account is hard. It requires a lot of time, patience, upkeep and maintenance, which a lot of influencers and businesses simply don’t have.

Considering the impact and importance of using Instagram for social media marketing, sometimes getting help from an outside source is necessary. What’s better than Instagress? A social media agency that helps you grow your Instagram organically. 

What makes Riotly different?Instagram Growth

Targeting and customization

In order for your account’s growth to be successful in the long run, your followers must keep coming back to your account day after day. If your followers aren’t interested in your market or the type of content you’re posting, you won’t see engagement or growth.

During the beginning stages of our Free Trial or any of our Monthly Subscriptions, members of our team work one-on-one with our customers to identify, build, and engage with each user’s specific target market. 

We aren’t a short-term “get followers fast” solution — we are a social media agency dedicated to the continued and long-lasting growth of your Instagram account. That means we only engage with users who we know will contribute to your growth long after you’ve used our service.

Extraordinary customer service

Riotly Social Media

Trustpilot Review of Riotly Social Media

Everyone at Riotly is dedicated to being our customers’ best advocates. As a company that began as a small start-up, we know how difficult it can be to rise to the top. This is exactly why we care so deeply about getting you there, too.

Every Instagram account is unique. Whether it’s a small business, an influencer, an aspiring blogger or a major company, we know how to use the right tools to elevate each unique account to its full potential.

Focus on what matters most

Your core business should be your biggest priority. Keeping up with your social media account on top of everything else can be incredibly difficult to manage. That’s where Riotly comes in.

We take care of the monotonous, repetitive tasks necessary for Instagram growth and maintenance so that you can focus on what matters most.

Not only do we seek out real, relevant users in your target market, but we also engage with them on your behalf. Furthermore, we are constantly monitoring your fan base to ensure your engagement rate is high. If your follower-engagement ratio needs improvement, we offer various tactics such as unfollowing campaigns to help remove the dead weight and increase your standing in Instagram’s eyes.

Your success is our business

We know how difficult social media marketing and management can be. That’s because, in the beginning of our journey, we experienced those same challenges ourselves.

That is why we built an entire business on helping others discover the keys to success and rise up to the top.

The success of Riotly Social Media is measured by the success of our customers’ growth and journey. We aren’t happy unless you’re happy. That’s why we offer a Free Trial to all new customers.

Our Free Trial allows you to try out our service for six days, obligation free. If you are satisfied with the results after those six days (which we know you will be) you can purchase one of our customized monthly plans.

We help you stay informed

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we weren’t also helping our customers stay informed. On top of helping you grow your Instagram with one of our subscriptions, our blog provides all the necessary knowledge, tips, tools, how-tos and latest news for becoming a master of Instagram. 




Here’s what to do next:

  • Visit our home page to review how our service works
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