Instagram is going to make a big change to its feed, and most brands are not happy about it. The wildly popular photo-sharing platform said earlier this month that it will show an algorithm-based feed rather than a chronological one. Brands and professional Instagrammers are freaking out that their posts may not reach all their followers once the algorithm-based feed is implemented.
Instagram’s upcoming feed to improve user experience
It means the platform will serve up images in order its robots think you’d want to see them. Facebook has already done it, and it has been pretty good at understanding your behavior and preferences to display the most relevant content. YouTube and Vine have also moved to an algorithm-based feed. User experience suffers as the news feed gets increasingly crowded. The algorithm aims to improve user experience by showing you the content you would actually like to see.
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Worried brands and Instagrammers are asking users to turn on post notifications for their accounts so you don’t miss any of their posts. That seems ridiculous especially when they know that the change is not going to take place anytime soon. Instagram clarified on Monday that it won’t make any changes broadly without letting users know when they are rolling out.
We're listening and we assure you nothing is changing with your feed right now. We promise to let you know when changes roll out broadly.
— Instagram (@instagram) March 28, 2016
Should you turn on post notifications for specific accounts? If you choose to turn on notifications for all the individual accounts you want to get direct updates from, you will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of updates. Notifications on your smartphones are distracting. Why would a user want more distraction?
Brands will still be able to reach out to their customers
It is still unclear how Instagram’s algorithm would work. But it is highly likely to follow its parent company Facebook, which allows users to select certain accounts to see at the top of your feed. Taking cues from Facebook, Instagram will deliver a more pleasant user experience while making it increasingly difficult for brands to display ads to users without paying it for sponsored placement.
The brands will still be able to reach out to their customers and followers who are genuinely interested in their products. An Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company will not optimize just for performance or popularity. Likes, comments, and shares will be among key parameters, but the algorithm will also take into account timeliness and relationship between the viewer and the poster. “We are not removing any posts from people’s feeds, just reordering them,” said the spokesperson.