Instagram has announced today that it will be introducing a new algorithm-based timeline to deliver optimal content to its 400 million+ users. Following in the footsteps of Twitter’s similar recent update, Instagram is making the change to reflect the platform’s huge growth in both users and daily content.
In their official blog, Instagram explained that, on average, we miss 70% of content in our Instagram feeds due to the sheer amount of photos and videos being shared every day. Therefore, the social media giant is looking to improve their overall user experience by showing us the moments that they believe we truly want to see.
How will it work?
Put simply, Instagram will soon start to order photos and videos based on the likelihood you’ll engage with that content – all the posts will still be there for you to see, they’ll just be in a revised order that’s not chronological but assumptive of your likes and dislikes. If you engage a lot with a certain account, their content will be top of your timeline – and in theory, the move makes sense. Instagram is more about sharing the best quality posts with its users and, unlike Facebook or Twitter, isn’t so much about breaking news or “live” updates.
What are the pros and cons?
Instagram’s announcement has had mixed feedback so far – some avid users are annoyed that things are changing and are concerned that they’ll miss out on content whilst others are celebrating the move as it means they’ll experience a tailored affair each and every time they log in.
Why do Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram think an algorithm-based feed is a better idea than reverse chronological?
— Nadiya (@peachynadiya) 16 March 2016
I don’t like all this algorithm Instagram talk. There must be some petition thing we can sign? PLEASE! My favourite platform is being ruined
— Keith Dinnematin (@Keith_mark) 16 March 2016
Damn. I thought Instagram was safe from the Facebook algorithm bullet. I’m gonna need to get an algorithm for all these algorithms.
— Jack Rowley (@jackjrowley) 16 March 2016
From a marketing perspective, this new algorithm brings with it good and bad news. The good news is that by offering users the chance to see and engage with only the content they actually want to see and engage with, we can get a better understanding of who’s interacting with us and what content they’re enjoying the most. Whilst it gives the user a bespoke experience, it opens a window of opportunity for marketers to be more savvy and creative with their posts.
The bad news? We need now, more than ever, to get people liking and commenting that bit more. If people aren’t interacting with our content on Instagram, we’ll slip off their radar, quite literally, and our content won’t be seen.
Instagram say this new timeline feature won’t be rolled out for a few months so there’s no need to panic just yet. But, with Instagram fast becoming one of the most popular social media platforms for brands and businesses, we need to be forward thinking with our content and ensuring we have this change in mind. Now is the time to engage with your key audience: it’s time to build a truly loyal fan base who will still be there after Instagram’s rolls out its unexpected new timeline.
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