As I’m sure you know, digital technology is constantly evolving. You need to keep up with the changes, if you want your strategies to remain relevant and effective, otherwise you’ll see the number of your visitors, leads, and customers rapidly decline. One such change is the new Instagram algorithm, which hit the platform recently.
If you’ve been leveraging the platform to grow your business in the past, then you might be familiar with the 2016 Instagram algorithm change.
What they did 2 years ago was they removed the chronological feed, and put heavier emphasis on factors such as post engagement.
Now, with the newest algorithm update, Instagram decided to reintroduce the chronological feed to its users, but in a slightly different fashion.
What exactly does this mean for marketers and business on the platform?
How does it effect YOU and your business’ Instagram exposure?
Let’s take a look!
The 2018 Instagram Algorithm Change
Like I said, this update reintroduces the chronological feed.
However, it doesn’t simply mean someone at Instagram’s headquarters decided to roll-back to a previous version of the algorithm.
It does, however, clearly signal that Instagram is primarily concerned with ““giving you more control over your feed and ensure the posts you see are timely”, as stated in their March press release.
What are the practical implications of this new algorithm?
Previously, Instagram relied on a variety of factors to determine which posts to show in the user’s feed.
This included stuff like the number of interactions, how quickly users engaged with posts, and how long people viewed them for.
The new Instagram algorithm slightly shifted the focus towards when the content is being posted, and how often.
Don’t get me wrong. The other factors are still a part of the equation.
However, now the newer posts get priority in the user’s feed.
Additionally, Instagram is trying to further personalize everyone’s experience.
Their machine learning AI relies on your past behaviors on the platform to determine what type of content to show you.
In the most literal sense, people will now see new post based on what they like and interact with.
For brands on Instagram, this most likely means a review of their strategy on the platform is in order.
So, if you’re leveraging the platform to boost exposure and acquire leads & customers in 2018, there are a few things your should consider:
The more likely you are to “like” a post, the higher it will appear in your feed.
At least, that’s what Instagram is aiming for with the algorithm update.
As the big shots at Instagram claim, this is based on “past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.”
You can think of this similarly to the Instagram Explore Page.
Once you like a video featuring a certain type of content, all posts with similar content will be ranked higher in your feed.
This means that, when someone likes content that’s relevant to your business and the topic it revolves around, they’ll be much more likely to see YOUR posts at the very top of their Instagram feed.
Instagram now curates the Explore Page based on your interests. If you’re an animal lover, it might look something like this:
This is great news! It means that, even if someone checks their Ig account for 15 seconds, they’ll probably see and interact with your content.
It also means that your posts will be shown to people based on their genuine interests.
Therefore, you’ll always know that your message reaches the ideal audience.
2. The Timeliness
Timing is crucial now, since newer content takes priority.
Naturally, you want your content to be among the first things your followers see when they open up the app.
To do so, you need to first know when the bulk of your audience is online. Then, it’s simply the matter of posting engaging content at those peak hours.
This is where Instagram Insights can help you a lot.
You can find top time zones and other helpful data including when your followers are most active on the platform.
This gives you a solid starting point on when you should run some engagement tests.
With sufficient data, it’s easy to make the right strategic move. Simply schedule your Instagram posts based on the timeliness that prove the busiest for your brand.
The key variables you should keep an eye on are the likes and comments on your posts.
After you’ve gathered say a month’s worth of data, it’ll be much easier to pinpoint the best days/times to effectively reach your followers.
3. Posting Frequency
Consistency is another crucial factor that will determine how highly your posts will rank in the users’ feeds.
Therefore, you need to post at the right times often.
Ideally, this should mean that you’re posting daily. But, we both know that’s highly unlikely…
Unless you have a member of your team fully dedicated to developing an amazing social media strategy, that is.
Bottom line is – you want to post engaging, unique, and interesting content as often as possible.
The “shelf life” of your posts is now much shorter. If someone doesn’t log into the app for a few days, they might miss a fantastic piece of content.
Before this update, they would have seen it, based on engagement. But now, Instagram puts fresh content at the top.
That said, never sacrifice quality for quantity.
Engagement is still a big factor, so the posts that will appear first (and be the most likely to get noticed) are both the newest and what Instagram deems most interesting for each particular user.
With the new algorithm, among other things, Instagram is trying to put emphasis on posts from “friends & family”.
Although this might sound detrimental to businesses and brands advertising on the platform, it’s really not.
The reason being that an algorithm doesn’t factor in whether something is posted from an individual or a business profile.
How it determines what to put into the “friends & family” category is by the number of comments.
In other words, if you comment on someone’s posts a lot – you’ll see more of their posts at the top of your feed.
What does this mean for brands?
Put simply, the more you get your followers to comment on your posts, the more likely your future content is to appear near the top of their feed.
So, urge your followers to engage with the post and comment on it. Do your best to encourage meaningful engagement.
You can do this by using the right hashtags and filters, leveraging emojis, hosting contents, asking relevant questions, and so on…
Get creative, and help your audience feel like they’re actively involved in your content.
If you can pull that off, with the new Instagram algorithm, you’ll ensure that your posts always as many people as possible.
Staying Up To Date With The Current Instagram Algorithm
There are a few other things you need to keep in mind, to ensure you Instagram content strategy delivers.
Namely, don’t mistake this new update with the resurgence of the chronological feed.
Instagram attempted adding the “new posts” button, but they quickly scraped the idea.
This update is somewhat of a compromise. It aims to show the users new content that they’d most likely be interested in.
But still, every post from every account they follow will be there. It’s just the matter of how far you’re willing to scroll down.
Also, like I mentioned, Instagram algorithm doesn’t give priority to posts from individual vs business accounts. So, switching from one to the other won’t gain you any benefits.
Furthermore, the type of post is now completely irrelevant. Videos were recommended when they were still new and interesting, but now both videos and photos have the same chance to rank high in the user feeds.
The same goes for Stories and Instagram Live. They’re great and you should definitely use them, but the algorithm doesn’t patronize them.
And lastly, there’s no such thing as posting too frequently, anymore.
If you post 5 times in a row, chances are there will be some content from other users in between your posts.
However, Instagram “doesn’t downrank users for posting too frequently or for other specific behaviors”, so feel free to post your heart out! 🙂
Got any questions, comments, or feedback regarding the new Instagram algorithm? Feel free to post them in the comments below.
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About The Author
Your Millionaire Mentor
Shaqir Hussyin is the founder and CEO of WealthAcademy.com & Funnels.com. Nicknamed the “Backpack Millionaire”, he’s invested $350,000 into his own education and training. Whilst traveling to 100+ countries, Shaqir has built over 10+ million dollar brands and attracted over 500,000+ subscribers.
His signature program is now available: Max Income System; 14 Simple Steps To Making Your First Income Online
Shaqir is also a highly sought-after speaker and direct response “Sales Funnels” global leader. Shaqir’s work has impacted over 100,000 businesses in 65 different countries. Connect with Shaqir on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn & FB Group.