What Instagram’s New Algorithm Means for Users and Advertisers
- Madeleine Coe
- On March 16, 2016
Your Instagram scrolling just got 10x more personal. While in the past Instagram has stuck to a strictly chronological-based scroll, from most recent to least recent, posts will now appear in order based on the photos you most want to see from the accounts you follow.
“If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it,” the Instagram blog reassured users March 15.
The new algorithm will create a personalized feed, with priority based on your history of interaction with that user and the popularity of the post. With this change, Instagram joins the ranks of its parent company Facebook, and Twitter, who just introduced their version last month. To be clear, the Instagram feed will still show all posts from accounts that users follow, the order will just be optimized based on interest, relationship with the account posting, and timeliness.
The general movement of social media news feeds has shifted from linear feeds to personalized updates from the friend and users that you interact with the most, but this is also based on the sheer amount of content that appears on your social networks each minute of the day. Instagram’s continued growth and popularity has forced this change.
“On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed,”said 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.”
Still, while the update will help to deliver more engaging content, there is concern that Instagram users will be upset with the change, as is often the case when social media platforms have made major changes in the past. However, users have nothing to fear… Instagram plans on rolling out the changes in a series of small tests before they are enacted for the entire platform. Slow and deliberate change is the name of the game.
Advertisers can also breathe easy as the Instagram advertising services already rely on targeting and algorithms to serve ads to users based on interest and popularity. If the Instagram feed update goes over smoothly, it could mean an enhanced integration of video and photo ads seamlessly slipping into a user’s feed.
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