On March 15th, Instagram announced that it would eventually be changing people’s feeds and no longer displaying images chronologically but rather in accordance with some proprietary algorithm. Instagram–now a division of Facebook–claimed that such a change would benefit users, because they miss about 70 percent of images in their feeds, according to the firm’s calculations. A change ensuring that people see the images they are most likely to appreciate, seems, at least at first glance, to be quite positive.
There is a major downside, however. Displaying pictures algorithmically has a dramatic impact on brands and influencers (who are often the heaviest users of Instagram). Under the old model, for example, someone with a million Instagram followers knew that any image he or she posted would appear in the feed of every one of the million who was using Instagram at the time. Under the new model, that is no longer the case. And, of course, Instagram could charge for the right to “boost posts” and appear more often–making the firm money but undermining the profits of influencers and increasing the cost to brands.
+Commentary: Note another of the ‘proprietary algorithms we’ve reported on previously when talking about who they leave out or punish, versus what they promote. This is another of those paradigm shifting cases and should be treated with care. Readjustment is necessary, for anyone using it to promote your art, business, or brand. Not sure we agree with the suggestions of the above author, they are for “big businesses” with marketing budgets, and the like. Yet he is right to suggest you test, and look to what is working or will work. Test & test again.
Never stop measuring, that is usually an indicator what does or doesn’t work, what is giving you the most return on your investment, even if that is just time spent doing the campaign. Interlocking them to all the other things you do is key too. So many today just focus, to the exclusion of all else on one platform, and suffer because of it.
Many of the influencers with those inflated follower counts, that know-nothing executives talk about, will be hurt the most. Yet just like the Facebook algorithms that the freebooters consistently game, will find a way around this. Leave it to human intuition, and adversity being the mother of invention. They will find some memetic way, or start using what could be called black-hat tricks, like stolen videos, or whatever to lure you back to liking their stuff and commenting. It will probably look like Exposure Trolling on Twitter.
So we will stay attuned to whatever this is going to become, reporting on trends, and what part it can play in viable long-term strategies for creatives. Let us know below what you think of the change, personally it made our stream so much nicer and more enjoyable.