A few months ago, Instagram announced that they would soon be implementing an algorithm that will arrange posts in users’ feeds based on how likely, users will be interested in the content, rather than (how it is now) ordering posts in reverse chronological order. Using this method, using engagement as an indication, such as likes, comments and searches, will hopefully ensure that users don’t miss out on the posts that they are most interested in and which matter to them.
The change came as a result of the surprising statistics, revealing that, reverse chronological order led Instagram users to miss a staggering 70% of their feed; already missing out on some of the posts they may care about the most. The announcement caused a mixture of chaos, concern and confusion, among users, but mostly between brands, influencers and bloggers.
Why are Influencers bloggers and Brands Worried about Instagram changes?
For most influencers, bloggers and brands, Instagram is a go-to marketing tool, a “valuable revenue stream”. Brands pay bloggers and influencers to promote their products, through the platform. Posting an image, which includes a brand’s product can earn influencers hundreds if not thousands of pounds.
Thus the initial worry was triggered by the assumption that posts would disappear from their audience’s feeds. If the posts with the most likes and comments always appear at the top, it may mean that followers won’t even bother to scroll down to view their content. Limiting the attention that their posts receive.
Much research has gone into, estimating the times and days which are the best to post in order to get more attention from followers; many bloggers in actual fact did follow a well-throughout social media timetable. However, with the new algorithm, posting at a specific time won’t make much of a difference if the post is not of any interest to their followers. This will then reduce the number of likes they get, thus limiting engagement and plummeting the interest from brands.
That’s why once the announcement was made, hundreds of influencers, bloggers and brands turned to their followers asking them to switch on their notifications for their posts. Doing so, would mean that followers will be notified whenever they posted new content. But audiences side step from doing so, they know very well that activating their notifications, will mean several notifications a day from each of the individual they follow, alongside texts, emails and other notices they receive on a daily basis.
Will Instagram changes really have such a huge effect on Brands, Influencers and Bloggers?
But the algorithm change won’t have as much of an impact as influencers and bloggers have made it out to be. In fact, the change in Instagram should distinguish good content from the not so good. Which means influencers will start to put more effort and creativity into their posts, creating higher quality posts to increase engagement.
When followers are unable to see content they like and admire on their feed they would search for the influencer/blogger’s name directly. Whilst brands will finally start getting their money’s worth for collaborations with bloggers and influencers.
Until now brands targeted bloggers and influencers who had the most followers, (a pretty bad indicator- given that so many instagrammers buy fake followers). The changes will assist brands to target those who have greater levels of engagement rather than followers. So the announcement probably caused a sense of insecurity among influencers and bloggers who fake their statistics. The ones who aren’t necessarily concerned with what they’re posting or who lack etiquette in their collaborations with brands.
Let’s not also forget that even though Instagram is used to promote brands, it’s not the sole platform. Influencers will still be able to reach their audiences through other platforms as brand-influencer deals are occur across multiple social networking sites and platforms. For bloggers especially, Instagram modifications shouldn’t affect their readership or following engagement.
In essence what Instagram is doing, is trying to make it easier for brands to identify the good influencers, who have an actual influence on their audience, that way investing into the ones which are more likely to get a return on investment.
Who might the Instagram changes actually effect?
Newbies will mostly be affected by the changes, the micro-influencers and brands who are new to the platform, still trying to build their following, and get noticed. The big names out there who already have a high engagement rate, and who always produced strong content will be pushed to the top of users’ feed, though the smaller fish will be hidden and forced to produce better content.
It seems as though, changes in Instagram will benefit brands’ identification of influencers who have a real following. Whilst influencers who receive great levels of engagement will benefit, by receiving even more attention than before. The social media rich will be getting richer whilst the poor poorer.
The changes in the algorithm allow for platforms like Zine to grow. Smaller influencers, bloggers and brands with great content who will be receiving less attention on Instagram would be visible and easily identifiable by one another on the platform.