The response to Instagram’s recent announcement was almost unanimous: Users aren’t happy to hear about the new algorithm-based news feed. I mean, Instagram is one of the few social platforms left with a chronological news feed, and that’s what we love about it.
But that’s all about to change!
Instagram has essentially remained the same since inception (aside from the recent addition of paid ads), so the criticism that the new idea is receiving comes as no surprise. Remember when Facebook rolled out an algorithm-based news feedback in 2009? It received the same backlash then that Instagram is facing today.
So what is this new algorithm? Similar to Facebook, Instagram plans to change the news feed so users no longer see posts in a consecutive order. Instead, you’ll see posts that Instagram believes are most relevant to you.
According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, users miss 70% of the posts in their feed. His goal is to make the 30% of posts users do see the most significant and interesting to them.
What will determine the photos you see? Three things:
- The popularity of the photo
- Your history with the user posting the photo
- The timeliness of the photo
In essence, you’ll see more of what you want: your best friend’s wedding pictures, your favorite restaurant’s new menu items, etc. It depends on how long you’ve been following the user or how often you like or comment on their photos. The algorithm is meant to improve your experience so you can see the photos that mean the most to you.
Worried about missing out? No fear! All of the posts will be there, just in a new, more sophisticated order. This could be good news for some users who need to clean up their follower section. That relative you’re too afraid to unfollow for fear they’ll make a scene? The cute guy from your freshman-year math class whom you haven’t seen since that college class? With the new algorithm, those photos will begin to appear less often!
What do you think of the upcoming change? We knew it was bound to happen, but now that it’s almost here, can we learn to accept it like we did with Facebook?
I guess only time will tell.
—Kasey Cooper is a Social Media Coordinator at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency.