Surviving The Instagram Algorithm In 2019
Just like SEO, social media is constantly changing – and so are its algorithms. Following its chronological feed problem, leading to people missing approximately 70% of the posts in their feed, Instagram is the latest platform to receive backlash.
Here at Absolute Digital Media, we’re taking a closer look at how brands and businesses can survive the Instagram algorithm in 2019.
In March 2016 Instagram removed chronological feeds from the platform but following the 2018 algorithm update, the social network announced that “newer posts are more likely to appear first in feed,” like they once did.
Following the algorithm changes, they tweeted that:
“We’ve noticed an uptick in posts about Instagram limiting the reach of your photos to 7% of your followers, and would love to clear this up.”
“What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc.”
“We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you’re following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram.”
So, Is It Possible To Outsmart The Algorithm?
While we are unable to confirm exactly how the Instagram algorithm works, there are a couples of things that you can do to ensure that more people see your content, with the first being improving your photo quality. Just like Google, Instagram take the quality of the content uploaded onto the platform very seriously, meaning that businesses and influencers now need to do more in order for their images to be seen.
The Latest Business To ‘Switch Up’ Social
In a series of tweets posted on 8th April, Lush, a popular cosmetics retailer located across the UK, announced that they are ‘switching up social’ by closing their accounts.
We’re switching up social.
Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. pic.twitter.com/nJUzG0lham
— LUSH UK (@LushLtd) April 8, 2019
So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.
— LUSH UK (@LushLtd) April 8, 2019
The retailer then went onto state that:
“Lush has always been made up of many voices, and it’s time for all of them to be heard. We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities – from our founders to our friends.”
Basing the decision on the fact that Lush is a community, the brand stated that they believe they “can make more noise using all of our voices across the globe because when we do we drive change, challenge norms and create a cosmetic revolution.”
With 202,000 followers on Twitter, 423,000 page likes on Facebook and 569,000 followers on Instagram, many have been left confused as to why the business have chosen to remove their accounts with one person commenting:
“Blaming the algorithms of social media is the easy way out and if what you say about valuing community and conversation moving away from social media will only give your audience who tags or search’s for you on social the feeling, that you don’t care or desire to hear from them!”
So, have Lush done the right thing? Claiming that this move “isn’t the end, it’s just the start of something new,” it seems as though the popular cosmetics brand is taking a step back from the iconic social media movement in the UK in order to make social “more about passions and less about likes”.
Despite bidding farewell to their UK accounts, Lush will still have some presence on social media as they will be continuing to post on and monitor their global pages.
The Future Of Instagram
While it’s no hidden secret that organic reach is in decline, more and more social media platforms are being impacted by these algorithm shifts, with Instagram being one of the most recent channels to take the fall.
Just like Facebook, it is expected that Instagram will soon become dominated with paid posts in order to generate any sort of engagement. So, what can we expect to find on our Instagram feeds?
Instagram Stories Will Be More Interactive
As one of the largest features to be added to the platform in 2018, it’s expected that Instagram Stories will become more interactive this year. Experts have predicated that the popular photo sharing social network may bring out features such as multiple choice questions and the ability to publicly comment on stories.
Authenticity Will Become More Important Than Ever
Increasingly, Instagram is being used to search for products and businesses meaning that businesses are under more pressure than ever to ensure that their profiles are fully optimised for awareness, sales and followers. While in 2018 the number of influencer posts more than doubled, some social media experts believe that more people will turn away from carefully thought-out feeds this year in order to provide audiences with something that looks much more authentic.
Influencer Marketing Will Be More Personalised
Due to recent Instagram algorithm updates, influencers have been battling a lack of engagement on their profiles. This year, the influencer marketing sphere is set to become more personalised in order to encourage people to like and comment on posts. From responding to questions and general comments, to ditching the ‘perfect’ theme to make feeds appear more realistic, we can expect many to take a step back from how we view online influencers to adapt the way the platform is used and reinvent organic results. With more than 500,00 active influencers on the platform, it will be interesting to see those that make the first move.
New User-To-User Tools Will Be Added
While Lush may have closed their UK social media profiles in a bid to continue building their ‘community’, the demand for businesses to interact with customers online is still very much there. In fact, experts are expecting Instagram to release new user-to-user tools throughout the coming months that further improve communication and boost sharing, ultimately improving engagement and brand interaction.
New AR Features Will Change How Businesses Advertise Their Products
Instagram has had ‘selfie filters’ since May 2017, but it wasn’t until recently that it’s been possible for users to create their own. While Instagram has been working on AR creation software for quite some time, it’s platform – Spark AR Studio – is only just becoming widely available to the public. They aren’t the first platform to introduce the creation of AR effects – Snapchat has offered this feature since early 2018.
On Snapchat, users have already been producing branded ‘lenses’, with creators earning considerable amounts offering this kind of service to businesses. The lenses work, too. Snapchat’s user base practically quadrupled when it’s leading filters of the year so far were released. The baby-face and gender-swap filters saw install rates jump from around 4million to 7million in just a couple of weeks, and then up to 13million in the following 7 days. With Instagram following suit with their own lens creation platform, we could see similar effects on the image-based app.
For businesses that can utilise Instagram’s new Spark AR Studio, the possibilities are endless. Users can browse other user-created content and try it for themselves and so with the right design and promotion, brands could certainly benefit. Businesses could advertise their products by letting users ‘try them on’, and put their branding within a logo to promote their business on a wider scale – the possibilities are endless.
New Story Layouts & Boomerangs
According to a recent article, Instagram are also working on new layouts for Stories and boomerangs and soon, users will have up to 5 more options to choose from. These options including the ability to loop their boomerang, speed it up or slow it down. The new layouts will work much like Instagram’s Layouts app, which allows users to collate their favourite pictures and create a collage that can be shared onto the main feed.
The Importance Of SEO & PPC
While social platforms enable businesses to better connect with their customers and increase awareness of their brand, SEO and PPC remain as two of strongest marketing avenues for local and international businesses. While SEO provides businesses with the chance to generate more traffic and boost conversion rate, PPC allows businesses to directly advertise to users searching for a similar product or business with immediate impact. Combined together, the use of SEO, PPC an social media can maximise reach and results.
For more information about our multi award-winning digital marketing services, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 0800 088 6000, today.