Recently, Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, sparked a debate on Threads by questioning the relevance of follower count as a measure of success on social media. According to the executive’s post on the Meta-owned social network, the metric that truly matters is engagement, as engagement with content is far more valuable than simply accumulating followers, many of whom might be inactive or have left the platform.

Screenshot of Adam Mosseri pos on Threads. Source: Threads

In response to this statement, a Threads user suggested that the platform’s algorithm is redirecting posts away from users, explaining the low levels of interaction. This means that followers are not engaging with the content they follow because they are not seeing it, attributing the issue to the Threads/Instagram system.

Screenshot of a users’s post on Threads in response to Adam Mosseri

In response to the user, Mosseri explained that no one can reach every single one of their followers for two reasons:

  • Many of your followers may not open the app on the particular day you posted your new content.
  • For followers who do log in to the app that day, they are presented with far more posts than they have time to review on Instagram. As a result, they may not scroll down far enough to see all the posts.

Screenshot of the response of Adam Mossar’on Threads

The controversy unfolds

Several users reacted negatively to Mosseri’s statements, seeing the argument as an excuse to hide the real issue: Instagram employs flawed algorithms that negatively impact reach. In fact, some creators shared analytic screenshots to support their comments.

Screenshot of user’s post on Threads anwering Adam Mosseri

Other content creators shared their metrics to demonstrate that Mosseri’s statement was not accurate. For example, Diana Urban posted a screenshot on Threads analyzing her account five days after sharing a post with her 9,000 followers.


Content Creator’s post on Threads

Other creators did the same, like Piques, who posted: “Stop misleading the people who built your platform and put a roof over your head,” along with a screenshot showing his follower count versus his reach on posts.

User’s post onThreads

Which one is better: ¿Followers or engagement?

Examining the exchange of opinions, we can assert that mere follower count can be misleading. A large number of followers might give the impression of an influential account, but if those followers are not actively engaging with the content, the actual influence of that account is compromised. Moreover, many followers could be fake accounts, inactive, or consist of passive followers who rarely interact with the content. In this context, the number of followers alone does not provide a complete picture of an account’s impact and relevance on social media.

On the other hand, engagement is an essential metric for several reasons: firstly, it is a key indicator of the quality of the bond between the brand and its audience. A high level of engagement suggests that followers are genuinely interested in the content the brand provides, which in turn increases the likelihood that they will convert into customers and remain loyal over the long term.

Now, if there is a content creator with many followers and a lot of activity on the social network, but has low engagement, is it because their posts have limited reach due to the algorithm? What do you think? We are eager to hear your thoughts.

Photo: Depositphotos.


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