You may have caught wind that last week Instagram made some pretty significant changes to how you'll see photos in your feed. The photo-sharing app soon will be more similar to its parent company, Facebook, in that Instagram will use an algorithm to feed you images it believes you'll be most interested in, rather than showing you every photo of people you follow in chronological order.
While the algorithm may make your feed more inspiring or more entertaining—especially for those of us who have a tendency to over-follow (guilty)—there's a pretty big downside to the change. TechCrunch calls it “The Death of Instagram for Brands.” And since our blogs are also our brands, we should all pay close attention.
Companies that have worked to organically build their followings by consistently posting beautiful photos and engaging with their audiences will now find it harder to reach the number of prospective customers they did previously. And that may force them to start paying for placement on Instagram, which is, we would bet, exactly what the company has in mind. TechCrunch writes:
While larger brands have the marketing budget to pay for what was once free media, blogshops and other small businesses may not be so lucky… if your business relies heavily on Instagram as a channel, customer acquisition is about to come with a hefty price tag instead of a perfectly edited photo.
Considering that most fashion bloggers count ourselves as small business, this whole thing kind of sucks.
In a separate article, TechCrunch wrote the following about the prospect of a feed algorithm: “Now, you might have to choose just your best photo or your wittiest quip to post. Otherwise, it could sink into obscurity, buried below posts that algorithms think people would rather view.”
As fashion and lifestyle bloggers, though, we have always done this. We chose only our best photos, knowing that our followers are discriminating and will unfollow if they don't like what they see.
There's also another potentially positive effect: We don't have to worry as much about curating our feed because the algorithm will help with that. If you suddenly find yourself following thousands of people (again, guilty), you won't have spend as much time culling your list to get a nicely edited feed.
It also could result in more follows thanks to less unfollowing in general—although in this case a higher follower count may be less likely to increase engagement.
The negatives certainly seem to outweigh the positives. One wonders why we can't simply have the option to toggle between seeing everything or Instagram's curated list? That, however, doesn't seem likely. I guess it's time to put more effort into Snapchat!
[Photo via Shutterstock]