While users focus on Instagram’s visual makeover in the last week, it seems changes are afoot behind the scenes to implement a more significant change, the move to Instagram’s algorithmic feed.
It was only in the last week that Instagram changed its visual style, with a new icon, logo, and layout for its mobile apps. There was a bit of a collective chuckle on social media about the simplicity of Instagram’s new logo, but it seems the laugh might be on us, with Instagram continuing with its rollout of its algorithmic feed for users in the US, and we could well be next.
The announcement shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Instagram told its users two months ago that this change was coming, and though there was a fairly significant backlash, leading to the company shelving the plans temporarily, it’s now on its way. We’ve seen reports from users in the US, New Zealand and elsewhere that this change has hit their feeds, and there’s little reason to doubt that — absent some phenomenal backlash — the rollout will reach us here in Australia soon as well.
It’s not without risk, though. Instagram reach has been important for brands and influencers for some time. A user with a million followers would know, for a certainty, that their posts would appear in the feeds of their one million followers, though depending on how many users those users themselves follow, they mightn’t necessarily see that post. With an algorithmic feed, however, brands and influencers can have no guarantee that their posts will be seen by any number of viewers.
Facebook (the owners of Instagram) made a similar change to their news feed a while ago now, and while it didn’t bring the end of days, it certainly made Facebook arguably less useful for some users .. though for others, the more intelligent, not necessarily chronological, news feed does save a bit of time; in my experience, the more useful stuff does tend to filter to the top, based on your preferences over time.
Instagram’s stance remains unchanged; at the time of writing, they’re denying any official rollout of the algorithmic feed to all users, though they do acknowledge that they’re rolling it out to some accounts for “testing purposes”.
If you notice your Instagram feed change, do let us know. Ours remain, for the moment, unchanged.