Should brands be panicking about Instagram?

Earlier this month Instagram announced that they will be changing the way in which its users consume content. Switching from chronologically sorting posts to what it calls “algorithmic timelines”. Basically, it will feed users posts according to their interests rather than to list them chronologically. 

This shift brings the image sharing network in line with the way in which its parent company Facebook serves its content. Facebook made a similar change to its news feed in 2014. Its users complained then, too. Did the world turn on its axis then? No. Will it in 2016? Unlikely.

These proposed changes have caused concern amongst a certain group of users. Namely; celebrities who stand to profit from their posts. ‘Reality star’ Kylie Jenner was one of the first to sound the alarm saying in a post that drew some 17,000 comments; “I hate this new update Instagram is slowly trying to introduce”.

Brands and celebs alike have begun to urge their followers to turn on notifications allowing them to push their posts out to their users. This would mean that every time they posted an image their followers would get an alert they had done so. Much the same as receiving a text.

This in turn has caused a backlash from users who don’t want their smart phone to ‘bing’ every time Rihanna posts another selfie.

But is all this concern necessary? Well according to Instagram no it’s not. 

Firstly, as reported in The Drum, there was no evidence that the algorithm was set to change this week, merely a rumour that spread very fast. Secondly, if the new algorithm is designed to deliver content that’s suitable for the user, then surely the accounts and posts the user has chosen to follow, liked or commented on should be a major factor in that algorithm.

Even if Instagram had implemented the changes already and users don’t update their notifications, as a host of celebs and brands are begging them to do so, this does not mean that posts won’t appear at all. Instagram explained that ordering posts chronologically meant users were probably missing out on the posts that mean the most to them. The network went on to explain in a statement that “you may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70% of their feeds”.

Our recommendation to brands; don’t beg, it appears needy. Give your audience what they want and deserve; better and more engaging content that helps build a strong relationship between your brand and your audience. Or as we call it, immersive connections.