One might say that Instagram just jumped the shark. This week they announced they will be using a algorithm based news feed. Similar to what Facebook has now. I will admit that the unfettered feed of Instagram is one thing I really loved about the social network. It was like Twitter and in chronological order. Unlike Twitter who is doing “While you were away” posts this appears to be mandatory for all.
I like the way Twitter is doing the algorithm. While you have been away it will show you the top posts since your last log in. If you refresh they will disappear. It is rumored that Twitter will have a tab for this. It’s done in such a way that for those who want the curated feed can get it. And those who don’t can avoid it.
This is from the official announcement:
The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.
The way they will be handling news feed is up in the air it leads to some really big questions.
Will the new feed stifle follower growth? Facebook has stifled page growth since brands are down played. Unlike Facebook, brands aren’t segregated by a page. They are all mixed in with personal accounts. This could be a good thing for brands. Some brands have the potential actually see more growth.
Since Facebook is now Pay to Play, will Instagram go next? To get any results on Facebook you have to pay for play. This is definitely true for small business. Now you can’t get discovered or your posts seen in the news feed. Since Facebook owns Instagram this could be a possibility. If they do they need to make Instagram ads easier to buy and able to be purchased through the Instagram app.
Will this Improve Peoples experience? The official announcement says this is intended to improve peoples experience on the social network. If this doesn’t happen it could spell the end of the service. People go to Instagram to be happy. If they get their feeds served with ads and other things they are not interested in, it could be a troubling factor for Instagram. People may leave. Unlike Facebook, which is the only game in town, there are alternatives or a new services can be created.
How will Instagram determine who is important to us? In the announcement it mentions your favorite singer and best friend. How will Instagram determine what is most important to us? Will it be posting comments, being tagged and giving likes on other accounts? It will be a little up in the air since they won’t share exactly what criteria they will be using. Facebook you have more context around relationships. Other than the three things mentioned above it has no Reactions, sharing (officially) or the ability to set family members.
We won’t know the implications till this is rolled out and we see how our strategy is working. I will be paying attention on roll out and how it affect my Instagram accounts I manage. Then I will let you know how this will affect your business. Until then lets keep our fingers crossed!