Well, there goes the neighborhood. I guess, though, it was only a matter of time.
You see, back in the spring of 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 Billion. At the time, those of us who were already on it and loving it, panicked. Facebook is very, very smart at making money, and for many people, there was a big concern that our beloved Instagram feed would be full of ads. Well, Facebook played it cool, and they didn’t introduce ads until about a year ago, and when they did, they introduced them in such a way that I can begrudgingly say “they aren’t that bad.”
Facebook has also had an algorithm for many years now, that determines what you see in your main Facebook home stream. This is based on a series of factors, and now a similar algorithm is coming to your Instagram.
Previous to this, the only thing that determined what you saw in your Instagram feed was when and how often you logged on to Instagram (this is called reverse chronological format). If someone you follow was posting at 10 am, and you didn’t get a chance to log on until 6 pm that night, there was not a great chance you’d see their post, as it would have slipped down the timeline as your other friends were posting all day. However, if a friend posts at 10 am and you log on at 10:10 am, there was a pretty good chance you’d see that post.
Well, not any more. Instagram’s new algorithm goes into effect tomorrow.
UPDATE: the algorithm is not rolling out tomorrow:
We're listening and we assure you nothing is changing with your feed right now. We promise to let you know when changes roll out broadly.
— Instagram (@instagram) March 28, 2016
Marketers are freaking out. I get it. If you run a Facebook page for a business, you’ll know that your average reach is around 6-10% of your fans. Will Instagram start to be like that?
The main concern a lot of us “little guys” have is that Facebook has basically become a pay to play system because of the algorithm. It’s really challenging to get your posts seen/go viral unless you pay Facebook to make them do so. I love Instagram, and I don’t want it to become like that. I can’t afford for it to become like that.
One thing many people are doing is creating posts encouraging their fans to “turn on notifications.”
My feed today has been flooded with posts like this:
But here’s the thing: these kinds of posts seem very anti-Instagram. I love Instagram because I like to get lost in beautiful photos of food and places I want to visit someday, not posts bugging me sign up for notifications. So…. yeah. Not a big fan of this approach, but by all means turn on notifications for your faves.
The problem is, we don’t know what Instagram’s new algorithm looks like yet. What will be the factors that determine what you see in your feed, and what you don’t?
My guess? It’s going to be a lot like Facebook’s. This isn’t a wild guess, seeing as Facebook owns Instagram.
Orli LeWinter, 360i’s vp of social marketing and strategy was recently quoted in AdWeek saying, “I don’t believe Instagram will go full-fledge Facebook with its suppression of all organic reach for content,” she said. “The Instagram community is just different and expects a level of authenticity and accessibility that isn’t reflected on Facebook.”
It’s entirely likely that posts that get a large amount of engagement (meaning likes and comments) will be the ones that rise to the top (literally).
I will write more about this as more information becomes available.
Further reading on Instagram’s new algorithm:
- What Instagram’s New Algorithm Could Mean for Agencies and Brands
- What Instagram’s New Algorithm Feed Means For You
- A big change is coming to your Instagram feed – here’s how to make sure your posts still get seen
- The original Instagram announcement