Instagram recently announced that it will soon be changing the way that content is displayed in their feed. Instead of showing images and videos in reverse chronological order, they will use algorithms to optimise the order of content – meaning users will be served content they are most likely to find relevant or engaging.
So what does this mean for marketers and business owners?
Paid advertising on Instagram
Paid advertising will not be affected, and the targeting principles currently used will not be changed. Already Instagram’s targeting for paid advertising uses similar rules to ensure that users are getting served the ads they are most likely to engage with. Paid ads will simply continue to compete in this auction, which follows the same process and logic as Facebook ads.
In fact, if you pay for advertising on Instagram, this change may be in your best interest: It will signal how or where you may need to up your investments into good quality creative on a platform which is most relevant to your brand and customers.
Organic advertising on Instagram
Essentially, you will need to ensure your users are being served the type of content that they genuinely want to see, and that they are most likely to engage with. This is an important time to grow an active network of followers by ensuring you have a carefully planned and well-curated feed that is based on accurate audience research.
Should you be telling your users to “turn on notifications?”
In a flurry of panic, many business owners are asking their followers to ‘Turn on Notifications’. This means that your followers will receive a notification every time you post on Instagram. Certainly, this will ensure that your followers will be more likely to see your posts – but quality and relevance of content should always remain your primary goal. If the quality of your content is not high and users receive notifications every time you post, this could lead to them unfollowing your brand.
When will these changes roll out?
The feed updates are currently being tested on small groups, and will only be rolled out officially over the next few weeks or months.
“If there’s one thing we do really well as a company, it’s that we take big change slowly and deliberately and bring the community along with us,” says Mike Krieger, Instagram’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram.”
Why the change?
“On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed,” says Kevin Systrom, co-founder and chief executive of Instagram. “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”
Because Instagram users span the globe, content posted in different time zones is often missed. These new algorithms will determine how important it is to you to see a particular post, regardless of the time.
Keep calm and create good content
In 2009, when Facebook made the same change to the way content was represented in their feeds, a similar public uproar occurred. However, it’s important to remember that these changes are made with both users and business’s best interests in mind.
Users will now be able to see the content that matters most to them. And brands will be able to grow their audience insights and refine their content and targeting.
Engaging with your followers and their community is of primary importance, and this should be every Instagram marketer’s focus right now. Strategic interactions within your audience’s community, targeted images and comments and high quality, relevant posts will ensure you maintain brand awareness and reach.