Monday, June 13, 2016

New Instagram Algorithm: Yay or Nay?

I've been hearing about how Instagram planned to change its feed algorithm from chronological order into relevancy order, but I thought it was nothing but some hoax or Instagram's own April Fool joke (the news circulated around that time).

Nope, it wasn't.

Few days ago I checked my Instagram and it had already got the new change. I saw how a 14 minutes old post followed by an 8 hours old post then 2 hours old post. I can't help but think that Instagram had turned into a more visual version of Facebook (which happened to be its parent company). But before I rant any further, let's see how this new algorithm works.

The feeds are based mainly on three factors. One, the time when you shared the post. The newer, the higher it'd appear. That's how that 14 minutes old post got into the top of my feed despite still lacking engagement. And speaking of engagement, the second factor is incidentally how much likes and comment your post had managed to snag. Not surprising at all, if you're used to Facebook. And the last factor is, since we talked about 'relevancy order', it's how often the people who will see your post had interacted with you in the past. Basically, it's tailored to our interest, hence the "see the moment you care about first" tagline written on Instagram's official blog. So let's say, I have a friend whose posts I've been commenting on and liking a lot, her post would more likely be prioritized. And if said friend happened to be an Instagram celebrity who gained lots of likes in just minutes, she's pretty much going to be on the top of your feed. Second top, at least, after the most recent post.

For marketers, it's mostly good news or nothing new because your content is going to be shown to the right audience: people who have been engaging with your brand a lot, people who actually cares about your brand. If we're talking logic, the ones who followed your brand's account are already interested in you to some extent. Anyway, one way or another, your post is still going to show up in the 'discover' section for people who hasn't followed your account. Not to mention that this algorithm change came with other updates such as free business profile, paid analytics, and paid post promotion.

However, to ordinary non-commercial users, this might came off a bit repulsive, especially for small time users. It's already hard enough to gain organic reach and more engagements before the change, now your post is going to to be swept to the bottom. I'd say this update is in favor of already popular, established users with a fixed or growing number of audience. Also, since we're ordinary human being with ever-changing interests, is the new algorithm really needed?

But, look at the bright side.

With this kind of algorithm, we're encouraged to make better post to garner attention and encouraged to engage more with other users we care aboutmaking Instagram a growing community of enthusiastic people with better contents. Also remember that we still have the option to turn on notification, in order not to miss out on our favorite user's every updates. Also remember that all post will still be shown on your feed, just not in a chronological order. You can always scroll down.

So, how do you think? As for me, I honestly prefer all things fair with chronological order, but this doesn't stop me to use Instagram either.

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