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Why It Will Be More Difficult for Businesses to Reach Followers on Instagram

Instagram has announced that they will be ditching the traditional reverse chronological feed for new algorithm-based personalized feeds.

Posts will no longer appear in a chronological order and instead, followers will see posts based on what they are interested in and their relationship with the person posting, similar to what Facebook does.

This means that Instagram is likely to place videos and photos it thinks you will most want to see from people you are following on top of your feeds, disregarding the time those pictures and videos were posted. For instance, if your friend posted a photo of her new pet 8 hours ago while you were in a meeting, Instagram might make that photo the first thing you see when you open the app. This will be based on your history of interactions with the friend.

 

Announcing the changes on March 5 via its blog, Instagram said its growing popularity triggered the move. Most users miss on average 70% of their feeds, and this has made it harder for people to keep up with all the content people share on a minute-by-minute basis. This has meant that people keep seeing images they don’t care about most of the time.

 

Speaking to the New York Times, Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom, said the new changes will ensure that the 30% of what you care is what is give priority. However, Systrom was quick to point out that the changes will not be abrupt. The Instagram community will wake up one morning and find a different Instagram. Instagram users should expect to see the changes in the coming months.

Not everyone is happy though

Marketing experts claim that these changes are a precursor to what they call ‘Instagram’s content monetization strategy’. You know that Facebook owns Instagram, and this is exactly what Facebook did in 2009 before it began to monetize. In essence, they are trying to limit organic reach, and many brands fear they will have to pay for what was once free to get noticed.

Currently, a post to say 50,000 followers reaches 50,000 feeds. But with the new algorithm, things will be more difficult. That means the number of followers you have will be of little consequence; instead, what will be more important is the level of engagement your content generates.

As a result, more than 190,000 people have signed a change.org appeal to maintain the status quo. With many of those opposed to the new algorithm-based feeds being small business owners, they fear they will no longer be able to reach their followers. That notwithstanding, it is very unlikely that Instagram will reverse its decision. Similar opposition reactions of “Change Facebook back to normal!!” was witnessed when Facebook changed its algorithm. Twitter also recently faced similar resistance when it tried to move to algorithm based feeds.

Therefore, brands should start bracing themselves up for the new model instead of hoping that the proposed changes will flop. Apart from increasing their Instagram marketing budget, brands should find ways of creating a more engaging content. Simply put, customer acquisition via Instagram is about to get expensive.

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