Business of Fashion, Lifestyle

Instagram’s Algorithm Apocalypse

If you are on Instagram, and haven’t seen a post requesting that you turn on notifications, congratulations. You somehow managed to not follow one digital doomsday prepper!

Recently, Instagram announced that it will change how it displays feeds. In an effort to keep their posts seen, many influencers asked followers to turn on notifications from Instagram so the followers get notified each time the influencer posts.

Instagram's algorithm - do not turn on notifications

Turning on notifications means Instagram would send your phone an alert to let you know someone posted a forced casual aerial view pic of their latte art, latest book, and laptop wearing heels on a faux fur throw. Probably not the best use of your battery life.

Instagram is still testing its algorithm by releasing it to groups of accounts in different stages. And although many users have requested that Instagram leave their feeds chronologically, it is more likely that users will not have a choice.

What Instagram’s algorithm means for businesses.

In February, Instagram made video view counts available. Brands rejoiced because it was like getting to see their “cost per impression” as opposed to their pseudo “cost per click” via likes.

Instagram’s change made return on investments a trackable analytic.

Particularly for brands, it is an important metric to see how their content is faring on all social channels. Return on investment (ROI) calculations tell brands and influencers  how successful they are at engaging their target audience.

It is pivotal for business owners and influencers not only track their different outlets but also compare the engagement between different channels (e.g. Instagram views, likes, and comments vs. YouTube views, thumbs up, and comments).

The new algorithm may affect the amount and type of content influencer’s post on Instagram. Influencers are likely to be more critical of what goes on their Instagram. Instead of posting to actually share a behind the scenes view or quick updates, accounts may be more inclined to post for the potential of high number of likes or comments.

How Instagram’s algorithm will affect brands and bloggers.

The original chronological order of Instagram feeds will switch to an algorithm—but not this week.

The algorithm is supposed to result in a new Instagram feed that prioritizes content via an assumption of what users will perceive to be the most interesting and relevant.

If the algorithm works, each time you open your Instagram app, you will see users with whom you most engage and posts that you are most likely to like (or at least more likely to double tap).

Are you excited for Instagram’s algorithm based feed?

You might see more sponsored posts.

Brands currently pay influencers upwards of five figure dollar amounts to promote products. But before affects of the algorithm are known, brands may not be confident in influencer’s stats.

So brands may focus their spending on ads a la Facebook.
{Well played, Instagram. Well played.}

Facebook’s past can predict Instagram’s future.

In 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram. A post sorting algorithm already exists at Facebook.

About ½ a decade ago, Facebook encouraged brands and influencers to create Facebook Pages and build their followings. To help, Facebook made ad units available to Pages. These ads were specifically tailored to obtain followers. The suggestion was that more followers meant more people would see the Page’s posts in their feed.

Shortly after, Facebook switched to an algorithm based content timeline. Posts from Pages are now only seen by a fraction of users. In response, Facebook now encourages Pages to pay to sponsor their posts.

Instagram’s feeds and sponsored posts will likely reflect Facebook’s.

How to succeed with the new Instagram algorithm.

Instagram’s algorithm feed means that brands and bloggers will have to focus on engaging their audience to remain at the top of feeds.

You will be competing with accounts that already have a history of a lot of engagement with users. And even when you acquire a new follower, your lack of engagement history with the new follower may mean that your posts are pushed to the bottom of the user’s feed.

For the new Instagram, you need to focus on building a community.

To be successful with the new Instagram you will have to find your tribe. And actually connect with other accounts. How awesome is that? Sure, you may get less likes or not gain tons of new engaged followers, but the accounts that engage with you are likely to be ones that share a kinship with you, your brand, or your voice.

If you want to keep and grow strong engagement, you will need to engage with your target audience directly on their feed via liking and commenting.

You should be able to keep up your current engagement without begging followers to turn on their notifications or turning on your own notifications. As a rule, do not expect to get out more than you put in.

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