Instragram is possibly the most attractive social media platform for the younger generation. Shortly after Instagram announced that it will change the way users consume content on the platform, many weren’t happy and stated their concerns about the upcoming changes. But what exactly are the changes all about?
The biggest fear for everyone was, that the change to an algorithm based order of your feed, could ruin the network and turn it into a second Facebook. Also did many users think that the organic reach of their content would decrease through the upcoming changes and that most of their pictures would get lost or not shown in user’s feeds.
All this led to an outrage and many users started to ask their followers to turn on the post notifications to not miss out on relevant posts and to be somehow activated in feeds. But, this couldn’t be further away from what’s actually happening. Let’s talk about what this feature actually does: Turning on your „post notifications“ will only send out a notification to everyone that a certain follower posted a new picture.
„Turn on post notifications“
If this feature is turned on for only a few users, those you really care about and don’t want to miss, you won’t be bothered much. But imagine having this turned on for hundreds of people. You will get hundreds of new notifications on top of all your regular notification. This will only cause a massive amount of spam, that could, at best, only make users rethink following the person. Instagram has introduced this feature earlier last year to focus on the upcoming Apple Watch and any other wearable devices, that lets you receive notifications easily on your wrist and has not developed this as an activation tool. This information just isn’t true at all.
The upcoming changes to an algorithm based content feed also won’t have any impact on the organic reach, nor will they make any pictures disappear. Instagram’s plan is to improve the way people consume content by making it easier for the user to actually receive the content they want to see. In its official Blogpost, the company said: “Most of our users miss out on 70% of their feeds. With the new algorithm, the order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.“
Like Twitter has done a few months ago with it’s „while you were away“ feature, from now on the first things you’ll see are the posts of the people you interact with the most.
The new algorithm will especially come in handy if you have friends who live in different time zones from your own whom’s posts you’d probably miss right now. These posts and the pictures that your friends share on the network will appear as soon as you open the app. After a few „favorite“ posts, you will return back to the chronological order that you were used to before and where the rest of your followings content will appear and wait for you.
On a platform growing as fast as Instagram with almost 400 Million daily active users, a drastic change to it’s core function has to be executed wisely. Nevertheless, it is a necessary step the company has to take to avoid making the same mistakes as its predecessors, such as Twitter, did in the past. The new algorithm can help to reduce the growing noise on the platform.
Many of the really valuable posts get lost in the sheer amount of content. Particularly if you follow a lot of users. As the industry expert and CEO of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuck wrote in his recent Blogpost, this could even be the big „cleanse“ of Instagram. By showing you pictures in your feed based on your own personal habits and activities on the platform, Instagram will only increase the chances of you actually seeing the content you care most about. The new algorithm might even prompt you to take a more in-depth look at your current feed and if you really value every piece of content of the people you follow. This will help users to create a better experience on the platform.
For now, no one has to worry about these changes, as they are only tested on a limited amount of users. Instagram still has a few weeks, if not months ahead of them to test, improve and launch the new algorithm. They announced via Twitter, shortly after the big „Turn-on-Your-Notification“ panic on Monday, that everyone will be informed as soon as these changes are going to appear broadly on the platform. The fear that a lot of smaller accounts share is that they won’t be able to grow or turn into bigger accounts without investing money to evolve their reach. The more popular instagramers in contrast are afraid of their posts getting lost in the stream of photos that are being posted day by day.
Lastly, don’t think of these upcoming changes as something bad. Instagram isn’t trying to ruin the way everyone uses the platform. It will only help to make the experience a lot better. This will not only help marketers find the right target audience, it will also help the user to get more out of the service. Seeing more of the people you care about first, really shouldn’t be seen as bad.
Von Marcel Möller