Who else shared the utterly blissful moment with me last month, when Instagram reveled it’s new feature where a user can quickly and easily switch between multiple accounts? That is a rhetorical question because I already know… It was everyone!! No longer do you have to deal with the frustrating tasks of logging in and out of accounts, losing your saved hashtags, etc. Personally, it got so frustrating with having multiple accounts that I started carrying around multiple phones just so that I wouldn’t have to log out.
#firstworldproblems I know.
Then on February 8th, I felt that Instagram finally sensed my frustration (as well as that of the other millions of marketers, bloggers and brands who share the same sentiment) and give us the sweet release of the account switching feature. The elation that I felt that day did not revisit with Instagram’s latest update . In fact, many users are pretty upset with it’s new algorithm feature. Starting this week users may see a change in their timeline which will be that posts from those they follow are no longer in its well known chronological order.
Hmmm sounds like a way too familiar story, right Facebook?
This algorithm will now dictate .. I mean suggest what’s most relevant to show users instead of letting them see the post that their followers posted in the “time-it-was-posted” order (say that 10 times fast).
What does this mean for users?
Well, the intent behind the change is that users will receive posts from those they follow that are most relevant to them based on their engagement, likes, searches, etc. This is great if you are ready to avoid those who you don’t want to unfollow but they spam your wall with selfies, baby photos and cat photos (I actually like all cute animal posts) so you can live without seeing that on your timeline. But the down fall is that you can potentially miss posts that you would have enjoyed from those who you don’t normally have a lot of engagement with. Instagram users have taken to Twitter to express their sentiment on the new change, along with their overall confusion of the update.
What does this mean for brands, bloggers and marketers?
If you checked out your Instagram timeline Monday morning, you may have seen several instructional posts from those you follow – encouraging you to update your notifications to ensure that you are able to view their posts/updates/selfies/event notices.
Currently, the way for brands, bloggers, marketers or really ANYONE to guarantee that their followers are going to see their posts in timelines is to have notifications “turned on” in the users/followers account settings. Therefore, the users will receive a notice every time anyone they follow posts something with the hopes that the user will see the notification and check out that posts.
“WOW .. that seems a little annoying right”.
TIP: Make sure to put your phone on silent if you do turn on notifications.
Who is currently affected?
If you haven’t seen the changes yet on your time-line that is because the new feed is still in test mode so not everyone will have a non-chronological timeline just yet.
Also, this new change doesn’t necessarily mean that small businesses or new users will be pushed out or prevented from being successful in the platform but it will result in users working a little harder at reaching an audience and especially a “pay to play”environment for marketers. The pro of this is that marketers have more options and (potentially) better results when it comes to targeted posts.
If there was a Facebook “REACTION” for this update, it would probably be the Angry emotion as the majority of users (I have seen) have expressed their dislike for the change. Perhaps in the upcoming weeks to follow the changes will be better explained and more accepted. As we all know, when it comes to social media — things change at the speed of social. So whether we like it or not, change has arrived to Instagram’s time-line.
Stay tuned for updates. Leave a comment about your thoughts, experience and perception of the update.