Instagram announced Tuesday night that the way users view their beloved news feed could be changing in the coming months. Following the lead of Facebook’s news feed change back in 2009, Instagram will abandon the chronological order of posts, used since it launched in 2010. “On average, people miss about 70% of the posts in their Instagram feed,” says co-founder Kevin Systrom.
The order photos appear will be curated for each user, based solely on an algorithm that takes into consideration the likelihood you will be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. What makes it to the top will be what matters to you the most, or what Instagram thinks matters to you the most. Your good friend just got engaged but you didn’t get to check Instagram until 5 hours later because you were too deep in binge watching the new series Love on Netflix? It’s ok! Your feed will be personalized with photos posted by the people and accounts you engage with the most appearing right at the top, regardless of time posted. (Although, we would really hope you wouldn’t have to find out about the news in this way).
Will users’ experience change dramatically? It’s hard to say. The proposed algorithm would require a lot of tweaking to personalize content based on social cues by each user. Don’t worry; all photos from the people you follow will still be present, just in a different order. With over 400 million regular users, Instagram’s announcement is in response to the growing popularity of the platform, hosting such a vast amount of content faced by users. The anticipated goal is to keep people engaged by providing the most meaningful social content at all times.
The question we have lingering is how this algorithm will affect businesses? Will it take into consideration an account’s follower count, engagement or will it move towards Facebook’s pay-to-play model (Instagram has already been linked to the Facebook ad management back-end)? For marketers, ensuring users remain actively engaged with content through likes and comments will be vital, all in an effort to gain top access to the news feed of target audiences.
Do not fear, Instagram will not be changing over night; the proposed roll out will take some time. So the question is, will you be adopting a #RIPInstagram mentality or is there light at the end of the tunnel for a time-saving and highly-engaging Instagram news feed tailored perfectly just for you.