Instagram is rolling out a big new change that will impact how users will view their news feed. The social giant has announced they will soon be testing a new algorithm that will control what people see, rather than showing users the entire feed in chronological order. Once the algorithm will be implemented your feed’s photos and videos will soon be showing up in order of what Instagram believes you’ll engage with the most. Instagram announced the change on its blog earlier, saying:
“The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”
That sounds like something that should be welcomed, right? Maybe on the user end, however, brands and businesses have been down this path before. We’re talking about Facebook fanpages, and their Edgerank algorithm that decides what users get to see. Businesses who have a presence on Facebook know how crappy the current state of Facebook marketing really is. Fanpages barely reach 5% of their followers per post, and the only way to remedy that is to pay Facebook.
Well, it seems that Instagram is heading down the same path, which is no surprise since it was bought out by Facebook. Give it two to three years before Instagram will get to the point where you have to pay to actually reach a substantial amount of users. While deciding what users should see sounds like a noble idea, we don’t believe it is necessary. Instagram managed to become the 8th most popular app in the world without their new algorithm, so why fix something that’s not broken? Picking out content for users suggests that they’re inept to choose what they like to see. There is a reason why there is a follow/unfollow button on each account. If a user is tired of seeing someone’s post they can simply leave, no need to get algorithms involved. However, since money seems to be the primary motivator here, there is nothing we can do but sit and wait to see what will happen. People are already screaming in anger, and companies are preparing petitions to combat this change. Instagram won’t budge, they need to make money somehow, and they’re taking the same approach as they did with Facebook.
Hopefully, we will see a new app down the line that (again) will offer unlimited reach and actually let users decide what they like to see.