Yep, Your Instagram Feed Has Officially Changed. Here’s What It Means For Brands.

Social Media
July 8, 2016

You can’t say they didn’t warn us. In what appears to have been a slow roll out over June, most (if not all) Instagram users now will open the platform to see posts in an algorithm format, in a change Instagram made because they want you to “see the moments you care about first”.

Not surprisingly, the slow and yet somehow still slightly unanticipated role out has been met with disdain from users missing their morning Instagram coffee shots, their nightly wine Wednesday FOMO-inducing pics and timely memes. Photographs are now organised in algorithm format, so users can see shots from those accounts they interact with the most (like friends or their favourite brands/funny puppy account). Well, that’s what Instagram tells us – we are guessing it will work a lot like Facebook’s algorithm, where, in addition to top friends, families and brands, the photographs with the most interaction will be featured at the top of the news feed.

So, what does this mean for brands? Read on while we give you tips on how to break the algorithm for your business’ benefit.

You’ll have to start creating quality content (…not that you haven’t done that before, right?)

This isn’t such a tough cookie to crack. Being seen at the top of the news feed is all about creating content that resonates with your target audience. Create branded content that engages with your customers instead of creating directly promotional advertising, and your followers will see your posts a lot more. Quality content not only humanises your brand, it builds a connection between you and your customers, leading to increased recommendations via word of mouth and can lead to conversions. Oh, and don’t stress out about the amount of likes and engagement a post receives – social media is all about creating meaningful connections between your brand and its target audience. If you have managed to do that, it doesn’t matter if you’re the “most popular” on Instagram (leave that to the foodies and the Kardashians), you’ve built a level of trust and engagement that will lead to conversions. And that’s better than any amount of likes a post gets!

You’ll need to start pay for advertising a lot more

As we said in our last blog about the Insta algorithm change, the change may see organic advertisements pushed down the feed a lot like the Facebook algorithm update. Facebook penalises “overly promotional” posts and we’re guessing, being owned by Facebook, they have used the same intelligence when implementing this algorithm. It’s best to complement any promotional post with advertising in order to be seen by the masses. You can boost Instagram posts through Facebook Ads Manager. While this may mean the end of free direct advertising on the platform, you’ll have access to Ads Manager’s wealth of statistics on hand, which Instagram’s organic posts traditionally lack. You can easily obtain crucial statistics such as reach, frequency and clicks, informing you of the success of the campaign as well as giving you insight into how to better improve the campaign.

In fact, Instagram has announced they will be launching tools for businesses within the next couple of months. Businesses will be able to gain insights, promote ads and can include phone numbers or emails so customers can get in touch with them – all within the app. No more weird disjointed advertising and insights through Facebook; we like!

Will it ever go away?

For now: no. Instagram has said they trialled the algorithm format “to a portion of the community” and found that “people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way”. Instagram has even said that on average, people miss 70% of their feeds anyway, which means there’s a chance users aren’t seeing the content you post in chronological format. While some people may prefer their morning-themed photos when they wake up, it’s becoming clear that the platform is seeking more quality content to deliver to their users. Instagram has even said that on average, people miss 70% of their feeds anyway, which means there’s a chance users aren’t seeing the content you post in chronological format…so, the algorithm may actually benefit businesses!

For now, it’s best to embrace change – take this as a challenge. After all, you’ve fought and conquered this before (Facebook algorithm change, anybody?). Go forth and deliver that winning content!

 

Mustard Creative Tip
Take that coffee walk.
Separate studies have found that both walking and coffee improve creativity. Give yourself the space to visit your favourite coffee shop and grab a cup of joe while your ideas percolate in the background. Mustard is a creative agency in Cremorne, home to some of Melbourne best cafes and brunch spots.