On March 15th 2016, Instagram announced on it’s blog changes to its news feed algorithm. No longer will we see posts/images in reverse-chronological order, but instead implement a Facebook-esque style feed. This new algorithm will populate your feed with photos and videos in order of what the site believes you’ll engage with the most based on user’s interests and relationships, instead of showing posts in chronological order.
Don’t forget Facebook did purchase Instagram back in 2012 for 1 billion dollars, surely Mr Z wants some return on that investment. Therefore, it wasn’t too surprising that Instagram news feed algorithm would change. After all Facebook’s secretive news feed algorithm does know how to keep us spending more time on the social platform.
As of yet Instagram has not clearly explained how the algorithm will work on the social platform. So the impacts identified below are assumptions on how will the new Instagram algorithm affect me, you and our Instagram business accounts.
Smaller Accounts Impacted
If the new algorithm is similar to Facebook’s news feed algorithm then only the “popular” accounts will be seen, giving small businesses less of an opportunity to be seen. I follow a few big name kids brands and also smaller designer brands on Instagram. If I’m only going to see the big brands first on my feed, how will I know more or discover those new and upcoming designers? People’s spending habits are influenced by what they see, and if they see more of Cotton On Kids on their feed versus say The Childhood Store, a smaller independent boutique kids clothing store, where do you think they will go spend their money?
Pay to be Seen
Which leads me to my second point, paying for views. A few months ago Instagram introduced sponsored posts which allow businesses/brands posts to be seen by users who may not already follow their account. With the new algorithm impacting organic reach, businesses may feel pushed to spend money on Instagram advertising for their content to be seen. Again putting pressure on smaller business who may not have big pockets to spend on advertising.
Target Market Related Content
If we’re seeing more paid posts on Instagram from accounts we don’t follow, are we just going to get inundated with stuff we don’t actually want to see, but do because we fit the target market, and we have found something similar engaging. So I liked Cotton On Kid’s recent post, am I now only going to see similar content from brands who’ve paid to reach me?
With the changes to the algorithm comes the need to understand the new tricks of the game. Businesses will need to re-strategise how to gain followers, plan how to target their audiences and ensure their posts are engaging enough to show up on their followers timeline.
This announcement has a lot of users upset, there’s even a Change.Org petition online you can sign here, which is collecting names of people who want to keep Instagram as is. There’s even a hashtag trending online at the moment #KeepInstagramChronological with people expressing their views on social media.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Instagram news feed changes? Do you welcome it or are you against it?