A lot of people have been panicking about the new Instagram update. I am no exception! Even though Instagram announced today that they won’t be changing our feeds right now, the update is still going to happen.
It’s frustrating when you put a lot of time and effort into growing your account, curating your feed and following the accounts that interest you when suddenly Instagram announces “We’re now going to curate your feed for you!”. Soon instead of seeing the photos in your feed in chronological order you’ll only see what Instagram thinks you’re interested in which is determined by a new algorithm similar to the one Facebook uses.
Facebook and Instagram are the same company, so introducing similar algorithms isn’t a huge surprise. But the current Facebook algorithm sucks in my experience. You follow a page because you wan to stay in touch and then it vanishes because you didn’t hit ‘like’ on every single post they posted. That’s probably what’s going to happen with Instagram.
They say they are doing it to make the app better or us but the truth is probably more about making money via advertising. At the moment, big brands, popular bloggers and Instagrammers are doing just fine without paying money to Insta. These users post great photos, use the right hashtags and quickly collect hundreds or thousands of new followers. Easy. But Instagram will bring all that to an end by showing posts based on ‘interest’ rather than chronological order.
What that means for us is posting beautiful photos and having a nicely curated feed won’t be enough to grow your account. Once the new update rolls out, you will have to pay for your posts to be seen. Instagram, the same like Facebook, doesn’t distinguish whether you’re a big brand with lots of cash to spend on social media or just a person. Once published, your post will fall into an abyss of the unseen, buried below posts that have been promoted by payment. As this article in Techcrunch says “The free ride is over”.
But wait, there’s more! Instagram started making these changes way before publicly announcing the update. According to SocialMediaToday, users have experienced major declines: follower growth down 93% and engagement down 70% in March 2016 compared to March 2015. Why? Because Instagram has already started experimenting with your feed! We just don’t see all the posts from people we follow anymore. I noticed I don’t see my own posts sometimes when I switch from my personal @CrashingRed to professional @So_Nailicious account. Apparently Instagram believes I’m not interested in my own posts! That’s already happened a few times, imagine how it will affect your Instagram account once they roll out this update completely.
However, some see this update as a potentially good thing, particularly for blogger and experienced Instagrammers. The new algorithm will be pushing up the most engaged with/interesting photos. Every Instagram ninja knows to post only their best photos because followers are discriminating. So maybe, just maybe, if you post very engaging content daily you’ll prosper from the change. It could result in more likes and follows thanks to potentially wider exposure. However, in this case more followers may be less likely engage with posts.
To sum up, it seems the negatives are likely to outweigh the positives. Judging by the changes Facebook instigated in the best interest of users, little good will come out of this Instagram update for anyone, even those willing to pay.
What are your thoughts on the update, do you have any reservations or do you see it as a potentially positive step?
– Maria, xx
More useful Instagram tips: learn what’s The Best Way To Grow Your Instagram regardless of the update and How To Take Great Instagram Photos because posting beautiful photos becomes particularly important now!
NEXT WEEK in our Instagram Tips series we will discuss the best ways to deal with the new update. I’ll be researching and experimenting with my Instagram accounts (I have 4! this, this, this and this) to identify the best strategies to utilise the new algorithm. Make sure you subscribe to our dedicated Social Media Newsletter – so you don’t miss this important post!