This past week, the folks over at Instagram invited a group of tech reporters to come in and sit down with them, as they “popped the hood” to show everybody what was going on with their algorithm and it was very interesting. TechCrunch reported on this, but I thought I today I would share with you some very specific things that are important to note, specifically in relation to you making marketing plans to grow your audience and engagement.
The Feared “Instagram Shadow Ban” Was NEVER Actually A Thing
Yes. I said it. It was all in your heads. There never was a shadow ban at all. As with all things in life, there is a very logical explanation for this, and it is actually the easiest to consider and understand. Simply put, slowly but surely, the folks at Instagram have been easing into their new algorithm. As a result, it makes perfect sense why you may have thought some of your posts were being hidden on their platform. Those posts just may have been colliding with their new algorithm.
The Pillars Of The New Algorithm Are Interest, Recency And Relationship
When trying to figure out how your reach and therefore engagement are going to track on any of your posts, it is important to consider these three key factors in Instagram’s new algorithm:
Interest- The simple way to explain this is by considering how much Instagram thinks you will like seeing a particular post. So what they are taking into account here are accounts you follow and scroll through frequently, posts you engage with, etc. The more similar a post is to one of these factors, the more likely you are to see a post.
Recency- This one is pretty self explanatory, but just in case you aren’t clear on it, what Instagram is tracking here is how long ago the post was shared. So if you and I are friends on Instagram and I am sharing things on my account, you are much more likely to see the post I just posted, rather than the post I posted a few days ago.
Relationship- Even though you may follow lots of people on Instagram, there are still different levels of relationships, even in a virtual environment. Relationship grades the level of your friendship with another Instagram user. Specifically, they are tracking how often you share, comment or are tagged in content from the other person. The more of those boxes you check, the more likely Instagram will be to show you posts from that person, and visa versa.
What Does This Mean To Digital Marketing On The Instagram Platform?
So as I’m sure you can imagine, each one of these specific pillars in Instagram’s new algorithm can impact the number of people that are seeing your brand’s ads, the amount of interaction they get, and ultimately your bottom line. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. In fact, I think it’s a good thing. If you remember, a few months ago, Facebook rolled out a new algorithm for that platform. A lot of it revolved around things that you could consider the best practices in inbound marketing, merged with digital marketing. The interesting, but logical thing here is that in a lot of ways, the algorithm change at Instagram is closely related. It’s logical because Facebook owns Instagram, so it makes sense that they have similar algorithms. What is super interesting though is that this is yet another example of how social media platforms want to make better experiences for their users. You can no longer “buy your way in”.
You need to build content that is going to resonate with people. The more you do this, the more they engage with your posts, the more they will follow you and the more they will share it with their other friends. I know this is the end goal that every brand has. Many brands end up taking shortcuts, in the hopes of gaming the system though. This time around, it seems that trying to game the system is going to be to the detriment of your brand. For those of you though that are committed to building your brand and engagement, this is the best time for you to get out there and start doing it, today.