We knew this day would come. The moment Instagram was bought over by Facebook, it was pretty much a given that monetization would be somewhere in the near future. Instagram fanatics would have realised over the past months, ads have been showing up intermittently as they scroll down their feeds. And if you’re like me, you probably clicked on the option to hide the ad (but unfortunately, no option to hide all ads indefinitely).
Since its announcement to reformat the way users view their feeds, Instagram has already started testing the new algorithm-based feed on selected accounts. Facebook users will be familiar with the new format. Instead of viewing the most recent post first, posts are arranged according to what Instagram think you’d like to see.
What does that mean?
Just like Facebook, posts that a user is more likely to engage with are featured higher up the feed. Posting a picture or a video at a “magic hour” does not necessarily mean that you’d get more likes or comments.
What affects post hierarchy?
Instagram is not willing to share the complete rundown of factors at this point in time. But some of them include how engaged a user is with the account, the number of likes and comments a post already has, the types of accounts a user searches for and the content shared through Instagram’s direct messaging feature.
Does that mean popular posts have a better chance of being seen?
Yes. And no. While posts with thousands of likes would probably stand a higher chance of being seen, there’s still room for posts with lesser likes and comments. It really depends on how often a user reaches out to engage with similar content on Instagram. If you’re a fashion blogger who’s just starting out, your post might just come below Chiara Ferragni because the user has been actively liking and searching out for similar fashion content. Which also means that the number of followers an account has will be less relevant.
How does this affect brands?
Brands that look to Instagram as a viable marketing tool have to compete and create better content. It just doesn’t cut it to post a pretty picture anymore; it has to be exciting. Because organic reach will be limited with the new format, there is a high possibility that brands that want to reach out to more existing followers would have to pay.
Instagram did say that it would be reconfiguring the algorithm to improve the format along the way. So till then, it’s time to rethink our Instagram posts and take better #OOTDs. There might even be a chance of my follower count finally reaching the 1k mark.