Why is Instagram’s Algorithm Change so Significant?

Instagram announced that it would begin ordering posts using an algorithm that tries to guess what the user wants to see by displaying pictures from users that they engage with most, or images that they simply missed.

Ever since the release of the application back in October 2010, Instagram has stuck to displaying images in a chronological format within the feed. That was of course until this week when what some may call a ‘controversial’ and major update to the application was set in motion.

This means that upon opening the application, users will be greeted by that photo they didn’t see uploaded by their drunk friend at 1:00am this morning or a new selfie from their favourite celebrity.

This is similar to the way Facebook arranges its News Feed for example and of course how YouTube determines its recommendations.

Instagram have said that users tend to miss 70% of the photos in their feed. The biggest reason behind the change is the increase in the services popularity, Instagram has doubled users to 400 million in the last two years, meaning that feeds are becoming increasingly crowded as people follow more and more accounts.

“As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most,” the company 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. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimising the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.”

So what does this mean for businesses? By changing its approach to how the feed is displayed, Instagram would likely eliminate poor advertisements and decrease the number of sponsored posts to more effectively deliver ads to its customers.

It will be worth watching how this change affects advertisers, who have been trying to find new ways to reach customers who are spending more and more time on their mobile devices. But what other strategies can advertisers employ?

Well, based on how the social giant YouTube functions, I imagine that the businesses with the most engagement and interactions will see the most benefit from this change.

If users engage with your advert by liking images, commenting, sharing and following; your advert will in turn be boosted higher up the feed which of course means free advertising in a way.

Using this knowledge to your advantage could result in huge increases in popularity.

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