When Instagram launched back in 2010 there were no complicated algorithms, advertising for businesses did not exist and posts were simply sorted chronologically from newest to oldest.

Back in 2016 Instagram introduced their algorithm which removed the chronological feed, and instead prioritised ads with higher post engagements. This meant users and brands were competing for the top spot and having to look at new ways to get their content seen. The problem with this is that users were missing posts from the people that they really cared about.

This has led to the most recent announcement from Instagram, the return of the chronological feed. The new algorithm update means newer posts are more likely to appear first in the feeds. However, it’s not the same as it once was when the platform initially launched in 2010.

What are the changes to the Instagram algorithm?

Back in March this year, Instagram shared news that their focus was to give consumers more control over their feed, ensuring that the posts they see are timely and relevant. The algorithm makes predictions about the types of content the user will want to see, ensuring the feed is always unique to the user.

Instagram claims people see 90 percent of posts from their “friends and family,” compared to around 50 percent with the reverse chronological feed.

The algorithm makes these assumptions and prioritises posts based on the following factors:

  • Engagement– How quickly users interact and engage with a post
  • Relevancy– How likely the user is to be interested in the post based on previous activity
  • Relationships– Establishes friendships and connections based on activity
  • Frequency– How often the user opens up the App controls the no. of posts they see
  • Time – The most recent posts will now always appear first

What does this mean for marketers?

As a result of the changes, a re-think of strategy is required. It is more important now than ever to make sure you are posting ads or organic content on Instagram at the time your users will be online, increasing your visibility and engagement.

You should also consider posting more often to remain at the forefront of your users feeds and avoid being missed. Not all your users will be online at the same period in the day.

Stay relevant and encourage meaningful engagement as the other components are still apart of the algorithm and have not simply been replaced by the chronological timeline.

In order to make the most out of the new algorithm changes, you should have greater numbers of testing, with the help of analytics, to understand when your posts will gain the best reach and engagement. Once you have run tests, you should notice trends that will assist and mould your social Instagram marketing strategy. Knowing your audience is the best starting point.

At 21six we specialise in social strategy and marketing, so let us help! Contact us today to see how we can work together to make the most out of the algorithm changes.