Instagram rolls out personalised content feed algorithm Digital Marketing News


Instagram have announced an important change to their content feed algorithm, designed to improve user experience by showing “the moments you care about first”. The app previously displayed content in order of publication on each user’s feed, but is now to follow in the footsteps of Facebook by personalising each user’s content feed according to their inferred preferences.

Whilst Instagram had spoken publicly of this shift in content delivery as far back as March this year, full rollout of the change was only confirmed on June 2nd, via the Instagram blog. They wrote:

On average, people miss 70 percent of their feeds. It’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share as Instagram has grown. Over the past few months, we brought this new way of ordering posts to a portion of the community, and we found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way.

It would be fair to say that the response to the new, personalised Instagram content feed has been mixed. One user commented on the Instagram blog: “This is a horrible feature to force on loyal users. I used to love Instagram, but things like this are turning it into Facebook. I plan on abandoning Instagram once this new “feature” ruins my feed.”

Action it!

The implications of this update for marketers are profound. Focussing on quality and suitability for audience were always important factors, for obvious reasons – but they are now more important than ever.

Where a post may previously have gained adequate visibility simply by virtue of the account holder’s follower count, we can surmise that the best performing posts will now be those that attract high levels of interaction. Considering Instagram’s assertion that their average user misses 70% of posts on their feed, we can only assume the competition to make it into that 30% is going to be fierce.

Most digital marketers are familiar with gearing content towards engagements – it’s the bread-and-butter of Facebook marketing. You’ll now need to repurpose those skills for Instagram, which remains a very different platform.

That’s not going to be easy, but you can get a head start by checking out competitor profiles and analysing the content that’s attracting high engagement. Look for themes in the images and copy, identify the strongest and seek to replicate them in a way that suits your own brand.

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