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The news we’d all been anticipating broke last week, as Instagram announced the introduction of a news-feed algorithm. But is it the doom and gloom for brands that many articles are suggesting?

Here are some thoughts on the development:

(Caveat: Instagram are “taking their time to get this right“, so we don’t know for sure exactly what it will look like).

Your content will still be in the race…

  • The thing: My understanding is that your Instagram posts will still be served up to your whole audience (at least to begin with); it’s just that they won’t be in chronological order.
  • So what: Your content is still in the race, it’s just it might have a bit of a handicap. I know Instagram have stated people typically miss around 70% of their feeds, but for many people they will still get through a high percentage of the content on their newsfeed (i.e. it’s still there if they keep scrolling).

This time we haven’t all been buying fans

  • The thing: when Facebook began radically reducing organic reach it caused frustration for brands who’d been merrily investment media budget to help acquire new fans. From personal experience in the grocery sector we saw competitors adding thousands of “page likes” each week; over a short period that investment was significantly eroded. However, on Instagram, brands’ audiences have essentially been grown organically (Instagram only recently introduced sponsored posts, plus there’s no specific “fan acquisition” ad format).
  • So what: an organically built audience is likely to have a far greater interest in consuming and interacting with your content… which probably makes them more likely to seek out your content (even if that means scrolling a little further). I’ll admit this might be wishful thinking… I’d probably only do that for 5-10 of the accounts I follow.

Will we all get to see post reach?

  • What: The 70% stat (above) is particularly interesting, as post reach on Instagram has been something of an unknown for brands. Instagram have been rolling out insights for advertisers, but typically it’s not been clear who’s seen what.
  • So what: engagement rate is a key metric for community managers. If the algorithm change starts to reduce the reach of brand posts, then it’s likely that engagement rates will drop. But only likely. If the goal-posts are changing, community managers will need this data to understand how their content is performing.

Side note: on reading Instagram’s blog post about this change I wondered if they used the word “Moment” in the title as a cheeky nod to Twitter!

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