Pending: Instagram Algorithm Edit

Yesterday, Instagram revealed some interesting news. The social giant (with a whopping 400+ million active users) left a note on its blog, informing users that the platform would be changing “in the coming months.”

First question: How will it be different?

Although it is difficult to say [exactly] how Instagram will implement the changes to its algorithm, one can draw a couple of conclusions fairly easily. Facebook (and more recently, Twitter), changed its algorithm to better suit the user experience. The content that stays consistent on a user’s feed will be based on that particular user’s preferences. These preferences are determined by how/when/what the user engages with.

Read on to find out how you can prepare your brand for Instagram success!

Why is Instagram changing?

  • Facebook is Instagram’s baby-daddy. Since Zuckerberg and co. have literally mastered the ad-targeting game on Facebook, it might be safe to assume that they’ve exercised a similar approach to Instagram. For these industry leaders to stay on top, they have to keep an end goal in mind. The end goal requires two elements:
    • A rich user experience. People want to see other people on social, not necessarily CTAs from brands trying to make an impression. Much like Facebook, this shift will again force brands into tailoring content to the platform and its users, to ensure the best user experience possible.
    • Profitability. With the above in mind, it is pretty simple to see how these platforms are profitable. The user rules, end of story. Brands will need to regroup to strategize effectively for this algorithm change.

Who will be affected?

  • Everyone. Both users (consumers) and brands will face some differences.
    • Users will be affected by a change in their feeds. Per Instagram’s blog post, it seems that users will be shown the most relevant content, first. Meaning, through data recorded in Instagram’s algorithm, the platform will determine what posts are the most important to you, and keep those in the top of your feed when you log in to the app.
    • Brands and marketers will be affected by a decrease in organic reach; again, just like Facebook. We are looking at a strictly pay-to-play world, when it comes to social media marketing. For those of you who have missed the last two years in social media marketing, this isn’t really news, it’s more of a fact.

What can brands do to prepare?

  • There are two types of social media marketers out there, and the preparation is different, depending on which category you fall into:
    • For the innovative social media marketing pros out there, you are in good shape. You adapted to the vast cut in organic reach on Facebook for business pages, and you learned PPC advertising on the platform because of it. You studied insights, you tracked your audience’s behavior, and you began testing targeted ads accordingly. Basically, you’re equipped for whatever hurdles social network builders decide to put in your path. The best advice for you: continue creating great content, catered to your audience; increase ad spend where the best results are; and check your progress on a daily and weekly basis, tweaking campaigns along the way.
    • If the above description didn’t sound like your bag, then take it as your to-do list. All of the steps above are what you’ll need to do in order to stay afloat in the social media marketing world (for now). If you didn’t do it with Facebook and/or Twitter, right now would be a good time to start. Test the waters on those platforms now, so that when Instagram rolls out the algorithm changes, you’ll be ready for them!


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