R.I.P. Instagram...

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Well not really... but sorta.

 

Instagram Responds to Low Engagement Woes with an Algorithm Based Instagram Feed

"See the moments you care about first,” Instagram optimistically outlined on their blog post, published on Tuesday. The social media giant announced that Instagram feeds would be switching to an algorithm based feed, or as they put it, "your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”

Recently, Quintly, a social media analytics company, published a comprehensive study that pulled data from 10,000 Instagram profiles over the course of a year. The study paid particular heed to how businesses are using the social platform, follower growth and engagement. Though the study didn’t present all bad news, there were a few alarming statistics. 

“Most surprising for me was the distinct drop in the interaction rate,” Julian Gottke, Communications Manager at Quintly, said in an article on VentureBeat. “Last year we reported Instagram as the ‘king of engagement’ and now the amount of interactions has dropped significantly.”

At the begginging of 2015, the average Instagram profile was developing at an average growth rate of 21%. The growth has sluggishly decreased to 16%, which shows that as "Instagram becomes increasingly grown-up, as the networks reaches higher “saturation”," Quintly outlined

Not only is profile growth slowing, engagement rates have also taken a hit, likes and comments are much lower now than at the start of 2015. The average Instagram receives 40 percent less engagement than a year ago, which is a staggering drop. Interestingly, Quintly’s data also shows that accounts with sub 1,000 followers receive significantly higher engagement than accounts with large audiences. Instagram’s own report support this, stating similarly that people “miss on average 70 percent of their feeds.” As the number of users on Instagram has continued to climb, it has been increasingly harder to "keep up with all the photos and videos people share.” In other words, users are feeling a bit of Instagram fatigue, and refreshing their feed is Instagram’s way of protecting and continuing to build paid advertising on the platform. 

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Our thoughts...

Well, it was inevitable. Instagram is part of Facebook (a publicly traded company) and they have to answer to shareholders, so the bottom line matters - even if it compromises the platform. You need optimization to get your great content noticed, and it reaffirms the belief that without it, the saturation in users is too high to benefit the brand without a strategy. Luckily, we've known this was coming, and our strategies are built around optimization (insert shameless plug).

The good:

For users:  Your feed will be curated with 'moments you care about first' (per Instagram). Engagement could increase as result of continuing to share great content.

For brands:  Paid media across instagram will benefit the brands that utilize the platform. Potential higher conversions and engagement.

The bad:

Just like Facebook, it will be pay to play. If you want your brand to get noticed, and you didn't use an optimization strategy prior to this, you'll need one now. Better increase that ad budget next quarter!

Sources: 

http://venturebeat.com/2016/03/15/instagram-interaction-rates-dropped-40-last-year-and-other-bad-news-report/

https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-statistics-for-business/

http://get.simplymeasured.com/rs/simplymeasured/images/InstagramStudy2014Q3.pdf?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRolua%2FAZKXonjHpfsX57%2BwtX6a2lMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4CTsViI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQrDEMal41bgNWRM%3D

http://blog.instagram.com/post/141107034797/160315-news