Instagram Introduces Mute Button: What this Means for Organic Reach

Instagram is (Finally) Letting Users Mute Accounts They follow

Instagram is snagging a page out of Facebook and Snapchat’s playbook by letting you mute posts and stories from anyone you follow.

This new mute feature, announced yesterday, will let you quietly ignore the content of friends, acquaintances, brands, or celebrities that you’d rather not see populating your feed.

Blessedly, the person you mute won’t be informed of your betrayal and you can continue on ignoring them…sans drama and consequence. You can still visit the muted person’s profile and you can choose to unmute them at any time.

[bctt tweet=”#Instagram is giving users more control of their timelines by adding a mute button. Read on to find out what this might mean for organic reach.” username=”relevance”]

Instagram’s mute feature is long overdue and it’s something that users have been pining for for quite some time now.

Parent company Facebook has had an ‘unfollow’ option for a while and this year, Snapchat introduced a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature that lets you silence notifications from overactive Snapchat users. Similar to Instagram’s new mute feature, neither feature tells the user they’ve been unfollowed or muted.

Mute buttons have become somewhat of a necessity in today’s congested social landscape. We all have friends or family members that are dead set on documenting every aspect of their lives online and, while we love them dearly, we’d rather not be subjected to their antics.

As we follow more friends, influencers, and brands, our timelines tend to get more and more crammed, making it harder for us to make sense of the noise. Instagram’s new mute feature is a way for users to get control of their timelines back, without disrupting IRL relationships. The mute feature will start rolling out within the next few weeks.

Image Courtesy of Instagram

Implications for Content Marketers

Even though this new feature is a god send for those of us who want to filter out our feeds, it may be a hindrance to our brand’s organic reach on Instagram.

If we’re all being honest with ourselves, some branded content can be annoying or spammy, and if given the option, we’d rather just quietly mute it like we’d do with an irritating ex. Yes, we’re marketers and yes we want to push out content that our audience will engage with, but if we want to keep our organic reach levels high, we need to step into our audience’s shoes.

The best Instagram ads don’t look like ads at all and in this mute crisis, the adage ‘less is more’ couldn’t be more true. Now that users have the power to mute our content, we need to create and share content that people will actually enjoy seeing on their feeds, and we also need to post less of it.

Initially, as users go on mute sprees, drops in organic views may be unavoidable. However, we can take some steps to keep that number from getting too low. The most obvious solution is to create visually sharp content that will resonate with people. This means going the extra mile to understand the interests of our audience base.

We need to be proactive in understanding what type of content our audience is liking, sharing, and getting excited over. Staying updated on current trends, memes, viral videos, or simply being aware of social issues or changes is a great way to stay engaged with our audience base.

If we can integrate viral content making the rounds on Instagram into our branded posts or stories, we can stop users from muting us.

Engaging Instagram Ad Examples

Take a look at this Instagram vid from Haagen Dazs. It’s simple and short, it promotes ‘Free Cone Day’ while bringing  awareness to the honeybee crisis, and the ice cream itself looks irresistible. The captioning and hashtags are also spot-on.


This 13 Reasons Why ad courtesy of Netflix is also great in that it invokes a sense of mystery, it’s a visually striking carousel display, and it invites new and existing subscribers to learn more.


This one created by The Whelton Agency takes advantage of the popular pet-shaming meme and integrates it into a clever post that promotes the brand in an original way.

This Airbnb post shows that the company knows it audience. Airbnb is all about travel and we see stunning ‘like-worthy’ landscape shots all the time. This one excels at being an ad that doesn’t seem like an ad and the caption is worthy of merit as well.

Final Thoughts

Good visual content is timeless and powerful. If we do some research into audience expectations, we can use creative visuals to promote anything and everything, from an ebook to a Netflix show.

The mute feature on Instagram may not be the best news for marketers but our organic reach doesn’t have to suffer for it. Instead of thinking of the mute button as a detriment, we should consider it an opportunity to create better, less spammy, visual content that our audiences will fall head over heels for.

Are you worried about Instagram’s new mute feature? Let us know in the comments.

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