It was only a matter of time before Instagram started making some changes. Ever since Facebook acquired Instagram in April of 2012, people have been expecting the photo-centric mobile-friendly network to evolve. We were given a website, cross-platform ad capabilities with Facebook and multiple-user login capabilities (I’m still very happy about this) – all of which are great for social media content managers.
Most recently, Instagram announced the roll out of a new algorithm, stating that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. The new algorithm will sort the feed to show the moments they believe users will care about the most. So the question is, is this a good change? We caught up with our team of social media specialists to get their opinion.
Scott Covelli – Social Media Specialist
“Algorithm” is a scary word. It makes me think of a big math equation, a la “Good Will Hunting.” But you know what isn’t scary? Great content. Well fear not, because that’s what the new Instagram algorithm is going to bring us. Great content. And it’s going to do it in two ways. One, it’s going to learn what content and accounts we interact with the most and give us more of that content. Do I give more “hearts” to sports-related posts? Then Instagram will serve me more of that content. That’s the simple part. The big reason this new algorithm is a big deal is the second way. It’s going to force brands and influencers to figure out what their fans want to see, and give it to them. Sure, that’s a challenge for marketers, but if you’re already “doing it right”, then it’ll be a reward. Now more than ever, the power is in the hands of the followers, which is better for everyone. Create compelling content or close up shop.
Katelyn Staaben – Social Media Specialist
For brands, Instagram’s new algorithm can both be a breath of fresh air and an added challenge. With an algorithm deciding what is most relevant to users, brands will need to stay on their toes and make sure that their content is creative and engaging. This should make it easier for brands with a good grasp of their audience to rise to the top and get even more engagement than they were when the feed was organized chronologically, and fans should see content they’re interested in more often. So, if you’re already established on Instagram, and you have a great rapport with your fans, this should only make Instagram better for you. I can see this being a challenge for those new to Instagram that doesn’t have a high fan count and doesn’t yet have that relationship with their audience. Instagram currently does not have fan acquisition ads, which will make building that audience from scratch more difficult. But in the end, it’s just survival of the fittest. The best will shine, and the rest will be lost, just as it should be.
Andy Parmann – Social Media Specialist
The reason Instagram’s current structure is great is that it levels the playing field for anyone using the platform. If you want people to see your content, you must stay active and share videos and photos regularly. It’s what gives Instagram its purity. Removing this option taints the experience and moves Instagram one step closer to being like its parent company. I follow 477 friends, companies, brands and bands, some are close friends I see regularly and bands I listen to while others are old friends that I want to keep in contact with or companies I follow for inspiration with my content. Just because I don’t interact with all of my content, doesn’t make one piece better than another. Ultimately, I’m not a fan of this change. I see it as a way to bring in more ad options while masking it as a better user experience.
Instagram plans to take its time to get it right, and they should be releasing something in the coming months. We look forward to seeing the change and how it impacts our feeds and the feeds of our clients.
Do you agree or disagree with these opinions? We’d love to read your thoughts on the subject.