Marketing On Instagram After the Latest Algorithm Change
October 1, 2018 by Alexz Miller
Last Updated: February 24, 2020
Social media marketers who primarily focus on Facebook have long accepted the fact that the platform’s algorithms are constantly changing, and not always in a way that’s positive for advertisers. As such, it should come as no surprise to those marketing on Instagram that the IG algorithm is following the same patterns.
Naturally, many influencers and marketings fear that Instagram’s changes will have a similar effect on engagement rates and content reach. After all, the constant tinkering that has gone into Facebook’s algorithms has consistently reduced the unpaid reach of anyone who runs a company page in an effort to get brands to pay more for sponsored posts.
But you don’t have to panic quite yet. At a conference held in San Fransico earlier this year, Instagram has directly stated, for the first time, what will most greatly affect who see’s your posts.
1) Level of Interest
Probably the most dominant factor will be how much Instagram predicts users will care about your post. Rather than displaying posts in chronological order, the social media platform display posts in an order that it believes will be most appealing to an individual.
In other words, an order that’s based on engagement, previous behaviors, and machine learning.
So what does this mean for your brand? Stay on topic. Your followers follow you for a reason, so you should be posting only high-quality images that are focused on your business. The better your content is, the more likely your followers will interact with your page and thus increase the likelihood that you will be towards the top of their newsfeed.
“Create savable content. Instagram measures how many times your posts are saved. If your photos are constantly being saved Instagram will make sure that your audiences see your new posts and new users discover your profile.” -Juliet Obodo Movefwrd.com, @move_fwrd
Don’t get too excited. Despite popular demand, Instagram has stated that they do not intend to bring back the chronological news feed.
When Instagram announced the algorithm update, the company stated: “To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”
However, Instagram has recognized that with previous updates to the algorithm, users would often have posts up to a week old at the top of their feed.
With the latest update, Instagram will prioritize more recent posts over week-old ones.
3) Relationships: The more often you interact with a user (commenting and being tagged in their posts) the more often you will see their posts.
What does this mean for marketers and influencers? Essentially, if you already have a highly engaged following, you probably don’t need to worry about your posts disappearing from followers’ feeds. If an individual is already regularly interacting with your posts, Instagram’s algorithm will recognize this and likely prioritize your posts to make them even more prominent for that particular user.
While it is true that followers who don’t actively engage with you on Instagram will probably see fewer of your posts as a result of the algorithm change, the opposite is also true, ensuring that those who care about your brand the most will be even more likely to be exposed to your content.
“The number one tip I would give is to connect! Instagram is such a cool platform for marketing because it’s the first time that it hasn’t been a one way street. You have the opportunity to connect with your target market!! My favorite thing to do is to engage and leave sweet & genuine comments on posts or respond to others’ stories. It changes the way people think of you and, in my opinion, affects your whole vibe in a positive way. I think some people think unapproachable is good and cool.. but I’d rather seek connection! -Amelia Goodall http://tersilla.com, @tersilla_co
As such, the importance of generating engaging, high-quality content cannot be understated. The more unique and visually engaging your posts are, the more likely your followers are to interact with them. Considering Instagram’s new algorithmic update, this could ultimately be the single biggest factor that determines your posts’ future placement.
Our Prediction: Be Prepared to Invest More in Sponsored Posts
In light of the fact that Facebook owns Instagram, it’s understandable that many brands and influencers are concerned about the algorithm’s potential to diminish their organic reach. If you are not already using sponsored posts to drive traffic to your page, it may be something worth investing in.
As marketers have already seen on Facebook, such algorithmic changes typically reduce organic reach, requiring a greater investment in sponsored posts. While the loss of what is essentially free advertising will be a burden for many marketers, the undeniable truth is that Instagram’s highly engaged user base makes it an essential part of any social media marketing campaign.
Even if algorithmic changes require you to invest more in sponsored posts, these are marketing dollars that will likely be very well spent.
We’ve yet to see how Instagram’s new algorithm will ultimately affect the way posts appear on the platform. That said, it’s best to be prepared for just about anything. By ensuring that your posts are extremely engaging, requesting that users turn on notifications for your account and preparing to invest more in sponsored posts, you can guarantee that Instagram will continue to be a valuable marketing tool for your brand.
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