The Instagram universe has, for a very long time, thrived and differentiated from any other social media platform by having a chronological newsfeed as opposed to a popularity-driven one. It seems, however, that has all changed with Instagram’s newest rebranding efforts. Instagram, since being acquired by social media giant Facebook, has stated for a while this shift from chronological to popularity. This comes with great apprehension from Instagram’s user base, who favor the unbiased nature of a time-oriented newsfeed. The shift toward a popularity based viewing algorithm usually means more buying power for advertisers looking to sell on Instagram. Is this a major misstep by Instagram? Should they have relinquished their core differentiation (unbiased, time oriented newsfeeds) for becoming a money-making machine? What will happen to the little man? Will Instagram become another AD-riddled platform abandoned by millennials and those who do not subscribe to advertisement culture?
Instagram is an online mobile photo and video sharing social network. If you compare Instagram to Twitter and Facebook it is very different. Twitter is a social network that allows its users to share short blurbs or thoughts in 140 characters or less, and uses Klout to decide where you stand in the newsfeed. Facebook is a social network that combines all sorts of content sharing and much more, and favors original posts over shared posts. Both Twitter and Facebook fell in line with an advertisement-based platform. Before Facebook acquired Instagram, it only focused on photo and video sharing. Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, this shift toward a more advertisement-based platform sets Instagram up to fall in line with Facebook, rather than differentiate from it. Instead they should focus on other changes that would benefit the app specifically, that will make the user’s experience more enjoyable.
The Road Ahead
A problem that may arise with this algorithm is that posts from “unpopular users” might get lost in the clutter. Instagram has turned into a major business for a lot of people, and businesses. It could majorly affect income and or sales if consumers are missing businesses’ posts on their feed. PMC will have to adapt to these changes when it comes to our clients with our social media work. We work to get as much engagement and ROI as we can with social posts. Therefore, we will have to see if this update will change any of this.
A Flawed Algorithm
The algorithm change is supposed to keep users more engaged and reduce clutter by bringing users to the exact content they want to see. Instead of trying to keep Instagram a socially driven platform it seems the motive is to make it revenue based, which is why users will see many sponsored or promoted posts as well. This is good for businesses that like to pay for advertisements on social. But it may hinder organic social efforts of brands who have spent years building a following on the platform, and will now face a significant drop in their value. These social efforts have had success building their following with efforts following that have traditionally been free.
How We’re Reacting
At PMC, It is our job to stay on top of all social platforms’ changes and trends, and use them in ways that are most beneficial for our clients. We will make creative changes to make sure Instagram recognizes our posts enough to decide to promote them. Our social media department works hard to make sure we get the most out of our everything we do. Our ultimate goal is to gain the best results for our clients. Whatever challenges may arise, PMC is by your side! Only the best for our clients. Let’s talk.