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Understanding Why Instagram has Switched to an Algorithm

Since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, there have been rumblings among social media marketers that Instagram may switch to a news feed based on an algorithm instead of showing you posts chronologically.

Well, that day is finally here.

The Instagram news feed is now algorithmic. Just like its older and bigger cousin Facebook, Instagram will now only display the content that it thinks you want to see.

Instagram is growing up and doing so at a ridiculously fast pace. In fact, only a few weeks ago, Instagram announced that it now boasts 500 million users with 300 million using the app every day. With so many active users and hundreds of millions of images shared every day, Instagram has been forced to move to an algorithmic model – they’re just trying to help their users out.

So, with that said, let’s address what this change means for authors and publishers – it’s really a good and bad thing depending on how you choose to look at it.

First, regardless of your viewpoint, authors and publishers should not be panicking. If you already do an effective job of regularly sharing content and your follower base engages with it (likes, comments, shares), this change should not affect you too much. Yes, you may see a slight drop in engagement, but it’s nothing to write home about. In fact, this change will mean that your top fans will be seeing your content more frequently, as they no longer will need to sift through dozens and dozens of images. In the publishing world, it’s been proven that engaged fans lead to book sales and they often tell their friends about what they’re reading.

But what if you’re just using Instagram to advertise your latest book(s) and build followers? Unfortunately, you should expect the organic (i.e. you’re not paying to post) reach of your posts to shrink. Instagram, especially since Facebook took over, has always been a for-profit company, and with a user base of 500 million, they will now require you to pay for ads to reach the number of people you once did. It’s also worth noting that, like Facebook, Instagram has its own strict criteria for advertising.

With this change, now is a great time to re-evaluate your Instagram content strategy. If you are regularly posting but receiving little engagement or if your current content needs a boost, we invite you to book a consultation with one of our book marketing experts.

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