Lessons from an accidental community manager

In the Headlights: October 30, 2019 Issue

In The Headlights

What’s in the labs?

Last week, I stumbled upon an old presentation I delivered at a previous company about what my department was working on, what was in the labs a few years ago. It was a nostalgic look back, especially since what was in the labs then has since become reality at Trust Insights, like digital customer journey mapping with Google Analytics data.

We never had enough time or resources in the old days to really devote to research and development, so a lot of what was “in the labs” then was more of a wishlist of things I wished we had time for. Now, we make the time and make that sort of work a priority because that’s literally the future of the company.

So my question to you is, what’s in the labs in your marketing department? I don’t mean what’s in formal R&D at your company, since many marketers probably wouldn’t have or need access necessarily to things that aren’t on the market.

What I mean is, what’s in the labs for you in your marketing? What are you testing now? What are you experimenting with? What are you trying, with no expectation of return except knowledge?

If your list is full of great experiments, then I congratulate you and look forward to hearing what comes out of the labs once it’s baked.

If your list is full of wishes, or the list flat out doesn’t exist, then I urge you to renew your commitment to your labs, either your company’s or your own personal list of things you’ll experiment with.

In a world where machine learning is becoming more capable by the day, the only thing that keeps us all relevant is our own continuous learning.


This week’s Bright Idea is a printable PDF of our AI-powered SEO process, suitable for your desk’s nearest wall or flat surface.


In the rear view this week, we want to answer a specific question: what types of feed content resonate best on Instagram for brands? Instagram has four primary content types in their analytics API: photo, album, video, and IGTV.

  • Photos are individual images, shared one at a time.
  • Albums (also known as carousels) are a series of images that you swipe horizontally to view.
  • Videos are individual video posts.
  • IGTV are longer-form videos shared with the Instagram TV functionality, up to 15 minutes for regular accounts and 60 minutes for verified accounts.

So, for brands, which content type works best?

2019 10 29 07 33 17 1

In short, the album/carousel format garners the largest amount of engagement – which is still not huge. What key lessons should we take from this?

  • Choose content types based on the content and audience’s needs. Just because albums do well generally doesn’t mean an album is best suited for your content.
  • 0.57% engagement, as a reminder, is equivalent to 57 out of every 10,000 people liking or commenting on your post. Always keep an eye on performance of content relative to performance of other marketing methods, and in today’s incredibly fragmented media environment, give preference to where your content performs best, regardless of what the industry average/standard is.

Methodology: Trust Insights used Facebook’s Crowdtangle software to extract a list of 4,118 brand accounts’ data from Instagram. The initial list of brands was provided by Facebook and manually tuned by Trust Insights; the brand accounts are not specific to any given industry or vertical. The timeframe of the data is January 1, 2019 to October 25, 2019; the last 3 days of data were omitted as Instagram’s newsfeed does not show content in chronological order and some posts take time to mature. The date of data extraction was October 28, 2019. No data about Instagram Stories was included because the data is not available in the analytics API. No differentiation was made between paid and unpaid posts.


Shiny Objects is a roundup of the best content you and others have written and shared in the last week.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Business and Leadership

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