The average Instagram user doesn’t see 70 percent of what’s in his or her feed, but the social media app is set to change that.
On Tuesday, Instagram announced in a company blog post that this feature would come
to users “in the coming months”:
The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting
and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order—all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.
If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or
what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.
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Many Instagram users responded with criticism to Instagram’s blog post, just like Twitter users lashed out
when news surfaced that Twitter would switch to an algorithm-based timeline
Techcrunch reporter Josh Constine
wrote that “getting seen on social media will become more of a competition than ever.”
It’s not only the average Instagram user who will fight to be seen, either. Constine explained that brand managers stand to lose their reach on Instagram,
just like many business pages did when Facebook changed its algorithm:
On the one hand, the relevancy-optimized Instagram feed will make sure you don’t miss great content even if you don’t neurotically check it all the time.
You’ll be able to follow more accounts without worrying about them drowning out your favorites. And it will be easier to keep up with international friends
who might normally post while you’re asleep.
At the same time, remixing the feed will make Instagram less useful as a real-time content feed because the most recent posts won’t necessarily be at the
top. Users will have to worry about making their posts good enough to be chosen by the algorithm or their posts could be de-prioritized. And brands might
lose the reach of a previously reliable marketing channel, the same way they did with Facebook Pages.
Wired reporter Julia Greenberg
wrote that Instagram is probably moving to an algorithmic feed to bolster its users’ activity, especially since Instagram’s interaction rate was down
almost 40 percent last year.
Greenberg said the move is not only to gain and keep users’ attention—the goal of any social media platform—but also to make Instagram attractive for
Like with Facebook, Instagram appears to want to keep you interested as long as it can (so, yes, it can serve you up ads). To do so, the company has likely
determined that showing you what it thinks you care about most (based on your past interactions with the app) will keep you around longer in the same vein
As the new feature won’t become available for a few months, social media marketers should prepare now by sharing photos and videos their audiences want to
see. You should also employ contests, hashtags and other calls to action to increase interaction before the algorithm kicks in.