Checking social media platforms is an hourly, if not more frequent, habit of many people today. They want to know who is posting what, and upon waking up in the morning, they’re eager to see what was missed while in their REM cycles. For Instagram users, it takes some time to scroll through your entire feed, but it is entertaining to see the litany of photos, videos and comments that were generated while away from the app.
However, Instagram wants you to see the best of the best, and is working on a new concept for your feed. Just like Facebook and, more recently, Twitter, have adopted algorithms for feeds and timelines, Instagram wants to curate your feed based off of data collected within the app. Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram told The New York Times:
“On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed. What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
Essentially, your timeline will be based off of post popularity and other social media engagement factors, instead of reverse chronology. No longer will you need to scroll for minutes at a time to see every post, but rather frontloaded in your feed will be the posts that Instagram believes you will most enjoy based off of your relationships with the posters and previous engagement within the app.
While this isn’t a huge surprise, people are bound to be resistant to this change in how they consume information. The algorithm has not even launched, and people are reacting in droves on Twitter and Facebook.
Instagram is moving to an algorithm- like facebook’s news feed. ‘Like’ the photos you like or you might miss them! https://t.co/S0fTQRHyow
— Carly (@CarlyCristman) March 15, 2016
instagram joined the algorithm party? will there be an opt out option? i’m not sure how i feel about this. — ivan (@helloimivan) March 15, 2016
As you may remember with the Twitter timeline and Facebook News Feed changes, both companies incurred backlash because the experience was extremely disruptive and irritating to users. In order to minimize upset, “Instagram said the change would not be quick or jarring, and that is would start the shift in a series of small tests with a single-digit percentage of user groups before deciding whether to introduce the changes broadly,” according to The New York Times article.
Despite these assurances, smaller brands on Instagram are nervous; and with good reason. Instagram was one of the last places in the social media world where the little guy had the same placement as bigger brands. Once popularity begins to replace chronology as the determining factor in feed placement, will Instagram become a pay-to-play environment too? Time will tell.
Interestingly, reports from Instagram said that advertisements would not be affected by the algorithm. Yet this shift could create increased membership and engagement, meaning that Instagram’s profitability has the potential to skyrocket. Much like Facebook’s advertising price structure, premium placement costs would mushroom, causing significant revenue for Instagram while solidifying another competitive distribution channel for brands.
So what does this mean for you and your business? Keep an eye out for changes to your feed, but don’t expect an entirely new platform overnight. Based on consumer insights and feedback, Instagram will cautiously move forward with rolling out the algorithm to all users.
How do you feel about this potential change? Let us know what you think.
About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.