This week Instagram announced they would begin to shift their real-time model into a personalized, algorithm based feed. The change comes as it’s big brother made the move in 2009 and last month, Twitter updated their feed to show older, popular posts at the top. This is directly related to network effects. When a network grows very big and becomes a behemoth in the industry, time-based information isn’t enough anymore, you need to use filters. The problem right now is that the filters are being designed by Facebook, meaning users will have to digest whatever an algorithm gives them. As opposed to seeing 30% of your posts at a random time, Facebook will be deciding what you see. While the benefits for users are still in question, the move is good for Instagram, it will increase the revenue made on the channel as Facebook will likely push everyone to use their ad platform to get any sort of meaningful engagement on Instagram.
So what does this mean for Creators? Below are our top takeaways for what this means for you…
Drop in Reach, Means Engagement Can Decrease
Organic reach is going to decrease and therefore, creators can expect to notice initial drops in engagement. We’ve seen a similar trend on Facebook where organic reach is down to 3%. It might seem obvious but the less your post is seen, the lower the chances it is for getting the likes, shares and comments that make your content successful. Now more than ever, focus on quality content to keep engagement up.
Owning Your Audience Has Never Been More Important
The change is slowly being rolled out, ironically, ‘owning’ your audience has never been more important. Creating deep connections with your fan base is the most critical piece in this puzzle. If you look at Instagram’s new algorithm, they are going to bubble up people that are engaging with their fans, as content that they want to see. If Instagram hasn’t been a huge priority yet, we recommend you start using the platform now to push out exclusive content so that you can own your audience before the change affects everyone.
Focus on Evergreen Content
The more relevant your content is at any time, the more likely it is to continue to generate likes/comments and therefore, get pushed to the top of the feed. While super timely content is great, producing pieces that can live for days will make it that much more engaging regardless of posting time. Creators across all categories can find ways to produce this type of content, we recommend digging into your analytics to identify your top posts and what factors led to that engagement.
Get in Front of the Right Brand by Knowing Your Audience
Working with the right partner to get in front of the right brands has never been more important. It isn’t just about followers anymore. Engagement will be key and brands will need to know how past posts have performed, what elements of a post make it viral (ie hashtags, posting times, filters) and the type of content that is most successful for fans, in order to create a powerful sponsored campaign. Platforms that use intelligent algorithms to identify those elements and the Influencer best suited to truly amplify content will be a major focus as we continue to see newsfeed based models shift to become more personalized.
Any questions? Reach out!