@AmandaJaneJonesRemember the old days of Instagram that were spent just scrolling and tapping? Just scrooollllll and tap. Scrooolllll and tap. You’d likely blow past all the comments under the photos (if there were any to begin with). If it feels like those days are gone and you find yourself excited by digging deep into comment threads—you're not alone.A Cultural ShiftTaylor Lorenz, a staff writer at The Atlantic who covers all things internet culture, recently wrote an article titled “How Comments Became the Best Part of Instagram” that was shared widely among our staff. In it, she discusses how the richness of comments on Instagram has begun to “eclipse” the photos they accompany. This is a big shift considering Instagram was founded as a photo-sharing app and is primarily regarded as a visual medium for discovery.Lorenz, who just “gets” online user behavior and attitudes inside and out, points to the rise in comment culture on Instagram as a result of two key product changes: the introduction of threaded comments that better facilitate coherent conversations and the algorithm shift that shows comments from celebrities, influencers, and verified accounts.The comment section on influencer content has always been a rich center of community and connection. After all, this quality engagement is what many brand partners hope to take part in through influencer marketing.Collectively Comment AnalysisAsk any client or Collectively team member about their favorite feature in our campaign reports and they’re bound to mention our custom comment and sentiment analysis. The analysis brings extra dimension to traditional engagement metrics painting a more meaningful picture of audience attitudes and perceptions tied to program goals.The methodology involves correlating all reader comments on influencer posts to various stages in the marketing funnel from awareness, consideration, and intent to purchase and advocacy.We look at the overall percentage of comments that are directly related to our brief, attribute it to a stage in the funnel, and compare the allocation of those across stages—using the data to optimize and inform future recommendations.While a labor of love at times (the most comments in a program to date topped 60,000!)— Collectively’s comment analysis has given us five years of data to develop category and client-specific benchmarks to better understand performance as social platforms and user behavior evolve.Looking AheadGroup and direct messaging are predicted to be more widely utilized across Instagram and Facebook’s product ecosystem in 2019. It’s clear that social media networks will continue to facilitate conversation and connection beyond basic image inspo.