It’s here “the death of Instagram for brands” as Tech Crunch called it, aka the Instagram news feed algorithm is officially rolling out.
While there are a lot of misrepresentations, rumors, and unknowns that have have been said about the update, one thing is true a lot of people are upset about the change. Will it really be that bad though? Feed algorithms aren’t new, Facebook’s has been in place since 2009, Gmail has their ‘priority’ tab, Netflix has their recommendation engine, and Twitter has a poor attempt at one with ‘while you were away.’ Truth is as these platforms grow its hard to distinguish the substance from the noise.
According to Instagram “people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds” and the update is intended to help users see more of moments they care about. While no posts are disappearing they won’t be in reverse chronological order anymore. Instead you’ll see posts from from best friend, your sister, and your favorite singer first.
Profits are part of the change; Facebook has seen profits increasing dramatically, but that can only be sustained for so long. In an effort to keep up, they are putting more emphasis on monetizing other products aka Instagram.
However, one can guess that it’s more about engagement than profits. The more relevant posts you see the more likely you are to are to engage with them. Engagement keeps people on the site and makes brands happy and willing to invest time and money via ads into the platform.
Have you ever tried to keep up with all of the tweets on Twitter? It’s impossible. There is simply too much noise. Facebook, the company that owns Instagram, has known for a long time that algorithms work, and wants to avoid Twitter’s long and painful demise.
Instagram has said “We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months.”