Instagram Changes Favor Relevancy Over Timeliness

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    Instagram Relevancy Feed Changes

    Instagram Changes Favor Relevancy Over Timeliness

    Posted by Beth Hawks on March 17, 2016


    The Digital Marketing community is buzzing over the latest changes announced by Instagram this week. The mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service is making a small algorithm modification that will have a huge impact on the way users consume content – and how businesses utilize the platform to market. Instagram is switching its feed from chronological display order to relevancy-based display, showing the best posts first.

    Instagram claims the change is based on the fact that the average IG user misses 70% of what’s in his/her feed. Rearranging the order of posts from chronological to preference-based is believed to enhance the user experience.

    How will Instagram determine what to display first?

    In a company blog posted on Tuesday (March 15. 2016), Instagram said:

    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.

    Initially, only the order will change. All the posts from all accounts followed will still show somewhere in a feed. However, many companies and users are worried that eventually, low-quality posts might be filtered out entirely. This is a particularly troubling thought for startups and other small businesses that have seen success with Instagram due to its fair approach in displaying all content as long as a user has chosen to follow an account.

    Why Is Instagram Changing Its Feed Algorithm? 

    Displaying content based on relevance instead of time stamp is not a new concept. In fact, Instagram is modeling this change from a move made my parent company, Facebook, in August 2013 (read more here). More recently, Twitter made a similar algorithm update with their “improved timeline” in mid-February.

    For users, this change will be mostly a positive one; it makes sure that you don’t miss great content. For brands leveraging the platform as a reliable marketing channel, the impact is far greater. What was once seen as a level playing field for businesses large and small, will be a marketing channel more competitive than ever. Instagram was one of the last large social networks that supported the “little guy” by giving them just as much clout as “the man.”

    Instagram has over 400 million monthly active users. Of those 400 million, 75 million use it daily – spending up to 21 minutes per day using the app. In the past, it was a particularly important marketing channel for startup brands and small businesses, since the chronological display allowed them to compete side by side with big box brands. With the shift to a relevancy-optimized feed, we can expect to see big changes in the way marketers use the platform.

    Are you prepared for the shift? Have you come up with a strategy to keep your followers engaged or leverage Sponsored posts to boost your content? Now is the time to plan ahead; Instagram will be tweaking the algorithm over the next few months. If you’re looking for a Digital Marketing Consultant to help guide you through the transition, contact us today at 866-714-7210.

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