Instagram Bots: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


Published on: September 3, 2018

If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely considering whether or not you should use Instagram bots to help automate some tasks for your account. This question is being asked more as it becomes harder to create a following on Instagram. But you’re likely unsure of exactly what the benefits are, and what exactly the risks might be. In this article, we’ll go over the good the bad and the ugly involved in using Instagram bots for automating your Instagram account and trying to grow your followers.

What is an Instagram Bot?

Instagram bots are a way to automate your account. Using creative programming and Instagram’s API, there are bots available for you to do many different things with your account. For example, you can target specific accounts or hashtags with engagement using bots, automatically like and follow posts and accounts and more. Using different metrics bots allow you to automate a lot of different activities on Instagram. Given that bots use the Instagram API there are a lot of different tasks that can be automated, and there is also a lot of data that can be made available to you via these bot platforms.

But there are a variety of considerations to take into account before using bots with your account. As you will see there are some advantages to using bots, but there are also drawbacks, and there is also a very contentious history concerning the Instagram platform and bots. Instagram has traditionally not been supportive of bot platforms and bots. Many of these bots have been shut down over the years, and many accounts who use bots have been shut down or shadowbanned for ToS violations. We’ll go over in detail what you need to consider before deciding to automate parts of your account strategy using bots.

Given the history Instagram has with bots, you might decide that the rewards are not worth the risk, or you might decide that it’s worth a try given how difficult it is to grow an Instagram account in 2018 and 2019. If you’re informed you can begin to make a better decision, so this article aims to show you all sides of the debate when it comes to choosing whether or not to use bots for your account. The decision will ultimately come down to how much you value your Instagram account, audience, and the engagement you receive on the platform. But we’ll give you an overview of everything you’re likely to see with regards to Instagram bots. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

Instagram bots let you automate your account. In a day and age where there is so much for business owners to do and accomplish in a day, automation can be critically important for just getting things done. That makes Instagram bots an obvious choice for busy entrepreneurs looking to grow their accounts without spending days upon days on their phones.

Efficiency

The efficiencies gained by using bots are hard to replicate in any other way. For example, being able to follow those who follow you automatically saves time. There is just no overstating how this impacts the efficiency by which you can acquire followers and engage with other Instagram users.

Time savings

With the increased efficiency and automation comes time savings. Not having to sit in your account and do all of the actions yourself inevitably means you save time for other activities, and you lose some of the grind when it comes to doing the things that gain you followers or engagement on the Instagram platform.

Increased followers

Automating some of the more mundane tasks means that you’ll be better equipped to gain more followers faster than you might be able to do if you are manually following other users, commenting on posts, or doing other tasks that increase your chances of gaining followers.

The Bad

Now that we’ve covered some of the good, we come to the more negative sides of automation, and specifically the negative sides of automation when specifically considering Instagram as the medium. The time savings that you gain from using automation on Instagram are often quickly overshadowed by some negative aspects of not being in full control of your accounts engagement.

Awkward Situations

There are times when an account you follow might not be in the same vein as your desired audience for your account, or might have content that is at odds with the content that you want to be associated with or adjacent to on Instagram. This can be awkward and might even make your real Instagram followers, loyal to your account, uncomfortable.

Insensitive comments

Because Instagram bots cannot be as dynamic or considerate as a real human being, there are times when if you are using bots to leave comments on content automatically, your comments may be seen as insensitive. Moments where some sensitivity needs to be applied (loss of a loved one, sad moments, moments of respect, etc.) are not moments captured on Instagram that are currently handled very well by bots. Your bot might treat these moments like a

Skewed feed

Using automation also means that your feed might not accurately reflect that of your desired audience. For example, your feed after using automation might be taken up mostly by other accounts using automation. This means that you’ll miss out on content important to your true audience, which will make it even harder for you to engage with your real audience properly. Not seeing what your audience is doing is not a great way to leverage the power of Instagram as a social platform. So while automation might help you gain more followers and be more active in reaching out with follows and comments, you will miss out almost entirely on what your real engaged users are doing if you let the bots take over. Because bots engage in a certain way, they tend to attract other bots in terms of following for follow and other methods for gaining followers. In order to avoid this, you will need to do a lot of tweaking and monitoring which will ultimately almost negate the benefit of automating your account in the first place.

Less engagement

Your account will receive less engagement and certainly less meaningful engagement. Because you are automating your engagement, the engagement you are putting out is inherently less meaningful, which means that ultimately, you are going to receive in return less meaningful engagement as well. Automation does a lot of things well, but account engagement, which can be critical to understanding how your audience receives your content and what is important to them, is not one of those things.

There is no way to automate receiving meaningful engagement on your account, and as others use bots more on the platform, the problem might actually compound. The only surefire way to encourage your real followers to engage with your content is to put out your own high-quality content, comments, and targeted follows. All of which cannot be done effectively with automation via Instagram bots.

The Ugly

Now for the ugly truth about Instagram bots. Instagram does not want you to use them. Which means that using them puts your account at severe risk. Which, if you are really serious about your account and your business, means that you should not use Instagram bots. Instagram has taken the stance against automation likely because it encourages users to play the numbers game with followers rather than creating great content and good engagement. We’ve seen lately multiple Instagram bot, and automation platforms are shut down, including Instagress, which reflects Instagrams hostile views towards automation.

Not only does Instagram go after services that encourage automation, but they also have ways of disciplining user accounts that choose to use automation.

Shadow bans

Shadow bans are one way in which Instagram responds to problem accounts. A shadowban effectively makes your account invisible to the rest of Instagram at large, but you as the account owner are left unaware of the fact that your account and its contents are effectively hidden. This benefits Instagram because the longer that you as an account owner do not realise that you have been banned, the longer it takes for you to create another account. And given that you were most likely shadow banned for using automation, it’s likely you might use it again in the future, which Instagram does not want.

This method of banning is more pervasive than just a straight ban for users of automation because straight bans are commonly reserved for more content focused violations. This is also as mentioned before an excellent way for Instagram to target problem users because it will make it difficult for them to respond to an account ban. By just banning the account Instagram would still have to deal with another newly created automated account, but a shadow ban increases the chance that a user of automation will keep on posting using the same account not realising that they have been shadowbanned.

Violation of Instagram ToS

Last but certainly not least in the list of reasons to not use Instagram bots is the fact that usage of bots to automate engagement is in violation of the Instagram terms of service, or ToS. This is because there are certain terms governing the use of the API that is violated by all bot platforms looking to automate Instagram tasks for accounts. Specifically, the ToS specifies that users of the API should not store credentials, or automate engagement. Both of these are necessary for all bot platforms, and thus this places those in violation of the API terms, and all accounts who use them as well.

What this means for you and your account is that you are putting your account in jeopardy by using any and all automation platforms because you are in violation of the governing rules of usage of the platform. And until these rules are updated or changed by Instagram, there is no way around that. These rules are also unlikely to change given that the problems that Instagram faces with regards to quality of content and quality of account engagement are exacerbated by usage of platforms that encourage and promote the use of automation for certain tasks on the Instagram platform.

Conclusion

Instagram bots are a way to automate your account. Using creative programming and Instagram’s API, there are bots available for you to do many different things with your account. But these bots are also not in line with what Instagram has outlined as the proper use of its platform, and they will put your account at risk.

There is a myriad of considerations to take into account before using bots with your account. As you have seen, there are some small advantages to using bots, but there are also big drawbacks and a very contentious history concerning the Instagram platform and bots. Instagram has traditionally and continues to be un-supportive of bot platforms and bots on Instagram. Many of these bots have been shut down over the years, including recently Instagress, and many accounts who use bots have been shut down or shadowbanned for ToS violations.

Given the history Instagram has with bots, you should seriously consider not using them, and instead opt for just doing the hard work yourself especially when considering the risk to your account and the small gains involved. You are much more likely to see meaningful results if you just do the work yourself.

Reading this article means that you’re most likely considering whether or not you should use Instagram bots to help automate some tasks for your account. This question is being asked more as it becomes harder to create a following on Instagram. In this article we’ve gone over the good, the bad, and the ugly involved in Instagram bots, and now that you’ve seen the risks involved, and the potential they have to offer, we hope you’ll decide to follow Instagrams guidelines, and opt to do the right thing, and just commit to doing the hard but meaningful work of building an Instagram audience the right way, without bots.