Instagram Moves to an Algorithmic News Feed

March 17th, 2016 in Social Media 2 minute read

This week Instagram announced that its news feed will shortly be moving from a chronological feed to an algorithmic one. This means Instagram will decide which posts to show when viewing someone’s feed. The news didn’t come as a huge surprise since Instagram is owned by Facebook who are famous in the marketing world for their feed algorithm and the impact this has on the reach of a brand’s posts.

What Instagram’s feed update means for brands

The new update will likely result in decreased reach for posts on Instagram. Facebook and its algorithm changes are notorious for killing a brand’s reach and it’s likely that Instagram will go the same way. Why? Instagram is pitching that the new style feed will allow users to see more useful posts and posts that they like. Admittedly, we’re a little sceptical as to whether this is entirely the reason since decreasing reach will only harbour the need for brands to pay Instagram to get their content seen.

What you need to know about the feed changes

Instagram claims that it will start by still showing every single post in its news feed but instead of putting these in chronological order they’ll be ranked based on what it thinks a user will want to see. Although they haven’t actually disclosed how it will gauge this it’s likely that the algorithm with be similar to that of Facebook and will be based on the following:

  • The type of content posted, e.g. an image or video
  • How many people have engaged with that content, e.g. the number of likes, comments, and shares the post gets
  • How often a user engages with your content, e.g. brand advocates who always engage with your posts will likely see them more often and higher up in their feed

How to get around the update

As with Facebook’s update, there are a few things you can do to help increase the visibility of your content in Instagram.

  • Ensure you are sharing quality content – Instagram is a visual channel, if you’re not sharing content that’s unique and visually appealing then less people will engage with it.
  • Keep using hashtags – everyone knows Instagram is the channel where hashtags really do matter. Like them or not, they’re great for increasing visibility and ensuring your content gets seen by new audiences who search for and look at those hashtags.
  • Promote your channel – if Instagram is a key social media channel for your business then you need to make sure people know that channel exists. Make sure you’re linking to it on your website, from emails and in store if you have a physical presence. That way customers will know to follow you and engage with your content.
  • Be prepared to pay to push key messages – as frustrating as it may be to pay to get your content seen, people share an incredible amount of data with Facebook and Instagram meaning paid content can be incredibly well targeted. It’s worth mentally preparing yourself to include a budget for Instagram posts within your social media strategy.

Get in touch if you’d like more information or if you’d like to know more about how we can create a social media plan to suit your brand.

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