Instagram was a huge topic of discussion when the social media platform announced that it will be rolling out a new brand feature. Many found this to be controversial; Instagram posts only appear on users’ feeds based on an internal relevance score developed by the company. Basically, like Facebook, Instagram follows an algorithm designed to choose which posts you see and, more importantly, which advertisements show up on your feed.
Why the Change?
According to Techinsider, Instagram took a look at the following when determining which items to show in your feed:
- The relationship between you and the person who (or company that) posted the photo: If you usually like a lot of photos from a certain account, or regularly leave a comment, then Instagram knows you have a relationship with that poster, and, as a result, will likely want to see photos from that account.
- Timing: Since Instagram has been chronologically based for years, the company now closely considers when the photo was posted to determine where it shows up in your feed.
- Likes and comments: Although Instagram said that its new feed will not be a popularity contest, likes and comments will certainly come into play. With that being said, just because you follow Taylor Swift, and her posts repeatedly earn more than 2 million likes, doesn’t mean that she’ll always be at the top of your feed.
- Direct shares: Instagram now looks at what posts you have shared with others as well and who those other people are. Since you’re engaging with the photo, it’s a sign that you’re interested in that person or company, which will affect how Instagram places future photos from the account in your feed.
- Profile searches: If you search for a certain athlete, like LeBron James, or even a friend, this tells Instagram that you’re likely interested in posts from that person or company.
So now, the order of photos and videos in your feed are based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.
Has this Impacted Instagram Advertisers?
Brands have relied heavily on pay per posts and advertisements with influencers who have large followings, but not large engagement rates. Also, brands rarely, if ever take out advertisements with the Instagram platform itself. This in mind, was the change good for brands, or did it hurt performance?
The most interesting change is that this new way of viewing an influencers account in regards to sales. Many influencers rely on the size and attention of their audience to deliver on deals with companies who pay them to promote products and services. Such influencers didn’t want to risk that their view counts–and revenues–could drop with the change. This change means that their usual coveted top spot is now taken over by somebody who has more relevance content wise or more engagement on an actual post than just sheer followers. As INC.coms stated:
“Under the old model, for example, someone with a million Instagram followers knew that any image he or she posted would appear in the feed of every one of the million who was using Instagram at the time. Under the newest model, this is no longer the case. Let’s not forget, Instagram could charge for the right to “boost posts” and appear more often–making the firm money, but undermining the profits of influencers and increasing the cost to brands.”
The change now means brands and influencers themselves will need to invest more time and effort to reach and engage with their audience and no longer rely on Instagram being a popularity contest. Also expect demand for brands and influencers with lower followers, but great engagement rates to increase.
What’s Next for Brands and How Should They Be Adapting
Thus far, brands seem to be responding well to the update. Usually the initial reaction to a change of this magnitude is met with negativity, however this time, it seems to be a benefit to the brands themselves. The once overly seen popular Instagram influencer with millions of followers who updates often (promoting products, etc) but post irrelevant content are now being replaced by those whose feeds have quality content that speak directly to the follower. This enables brands and influencers who product relevant, engaging updates to actual be seen and reap the same rewards as those who “banked” on the old Instagram. As Gary Vaynerchuk put it, “Reach does not equal value and follower count doesn’t mean people are listening. We need to stop focusing on optimizing the number of views and instead concentrate on making each one of those viewer’s care about your brand. Because, at the end of the day, that’s the only way you’ll drive results to your end goal.”
What do you think about the latest feature ? Tell us your thought below!