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Facebook did it in 2009. Twitter joined in as well just last month. Now, the world’s most-loved photo-sharing app Instagram is debuting a selective, preferential algorithm that promises to alter what 400+ million active monthly users see in their feed. The official announcement (see it below) from Instagram came yesterday courtesy of the app’s blog roll and as evinced from the thousands of comments—Instagram’s users are outraged and dismayed by the app’s decision to start reordering everyone’s Instagram feed.
Though Instagram has yet to employ their new algorithm, the photo-sharing app’s blog post announcement has already caused substantial user backlash from Instagram’s community. See Instagram’s official announcement for their forthcoming feed algorithm below:
Instagram’s new algorithm aims to address and provide a solution for missing “the moments [Instagram] believes you will care about the most.” As described, Instagram will soon determine which posts it serves first based on specific criteria—namely the “relationship” between users/followers and how recent the photo or video was posted. Instagram also specifies how their algorithm won’t (at first) eliminate posts from your feed, but will reorder your posts. Lastly, Instagram’s millions of users can expect to see these changes in the upcoming few months.
Mike Isaac of The New York Times attributes the need for an Instagram algorithm due to the app’s own growth and affinity amongst its 400 million engaged users. Additionally, Isaac shares insight regarding specific goals for this new reorder from Instagram’s co-founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, “what this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.” Instagram’s official announcement states that 70% of posts are not seen by its users.
Accompanying the rapid growth of Instagram is the rise of top social media influencers on the platform colloquially termed “Instagrammers.” These top Instagrammers or Instagram influencers each boast massive audiences oftentimes reaching hundreds of thousands or even several millions of followers.
By posting the best aspirational lifestyle imagery on rniche interests including travel, adventure, healthy living, fashion & beauty, Instagram influencers amass not only sizeable audiences, but engaged consumers who are avidly scouring each Instagrammer’s channel and posts to discover their next must-have purchase. Audiences are spending several hours each day on social media apps and networks including Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat with many of these audiences eager to buy influencer-endorsed products and services. For brands, Instagram is largely the best social media platform for social engagement (Forrester Research).
Instagram’s forthcoming algorithm will decidedly place emphasis on what is important for each user to view based on the “relationship” (i.e. engagement, viewing habits, frequency, etc.) between the user and the accounts they follow. As such, Instagram’s new algorithm prompts brands and advertisers to critically re-evaluate how to secure and increase visibility among posts prioritized based on “relationships.” Amidst the new Instagram algorithm, marketing with top Instagram influencers becomes increasingly more important for savvy marketers seeking to capitalize on optimized/ordered posts with high engagement and user affinity.