Instagram Announces New Algorithm, Business Profiles

Posted by: Shane Stafford in: Digital/Social -

Instgram login screen

With more than 400 million users, Instagram is a powerful social media channel. Up until now, brands used the network similarly to individual users. However, two changes will cause marketers to adjust how brands utilize the platform:

New Algorithm-Based Feed

What It Is: An algorithm-based feed similar to parent company Facebook’s has been rumored for some time, and it is now being rolled out. Instagram made this change because it says people miss 70% of their feed due to the existing/previous chronological format.

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How It Impacts Social Media Marketing: Specifics on how the algorithm works have not been revealed (naturally), but it appears to have a direct correlation with a user’s engagement. Your best friend’s and favorite musician’s posts will keep appearing at the top of your timeline because you regularly like and comment on their posts. For brands, this means that users who are already engaged with them should continue to see their posts. This signifies the continued shift to narrowcasting – niche audience development and a reduction of serendipitous media consumption.

New Business Profiles

What It Is: Until now, business and brands have used Instagram profiles that are the same as everyone else’s. However, Instagram has started a pilot program to shift companies on the platform to its new business profiles. Business profile features will only be available within the app and to those companies that also have a Facebook profile. It will include basic analytics and the ability to boost posts and contact the company from the app. A longstanding frustration for marketers has been the lack of analytics on Instagram, so this a welcome development. Promoting Instagram posts via Facebook’s business manager is not user friendly, so the hope is that this makes Instagram advertising easier. Finally, the ability to contact companies from the app means conversion via the link-less app is now easier to measure.

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How It Impacts Social Media Marketing: It is rumored that switching to a business profile will reduce organic reach on Instagram, similar to how companies face uphill battles for organic reach on Facebook. However, there is no concrete way to measure before and after Instagram reach so this will always be conjecture, and the ability to have analytics, contact methods and quickly boosted posts seems to make up for any perceived lack of reach. This means marketers can develop content strategy based on informed insights and develop custom audiences to more easily advertise to.

Between the algorithm and business profile updates, what this really signifies is a shift to open Instagram to advertising.

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