We’ve all voiced our opinion at some point on Instagram wanting to become a copy and paste of rival app TikTok, but that didn’t stop them slowly applying the updates to people’s feeds.
Well, that was until an abundance of backlash across social media stopped Meta, Instagram’s parent company, in their tracks leading to a surprising U-turn in the rollout of new features.
At face value this announcement was great news; there would be less videos on our feed, the number of recommendations would temporarily decrease and the full-screen testing would be paused.
Whilst the majority are happy with this update, it still causes headaches for influencers and brands who are having to drastically alter the style of content to ensure it works with the algorithm in order to meet objectives. At the moment we’re in limbo – do we continue to push more videos or will an image focus perform better?
Now that the honeymoon phase is over, it’s time to delve into the channel to see if we can answer that question.
So, what is different?
Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be much. Videos and reels still seem to be the top performing posts. Whilst we have seen a higher percentage of images being posted, the engagements are still far higher on video content.
When it comes to influencers and brands, the recommendation would be to evaluate your channel (this should be done constantly anyway), take some learnings and look at which posts have performed best, based on your objectives. If it’s videos, which videos have had higher views and engagement? Is it the 1-2 minute Reel or is it a shorter, 30 second clip? It is important to remember that not every single piece of content you push out will work as a video and likewise, static imagery isn’t the only way forward.
The number of recommendations on feeds has dropped slightly, but it’s worth highlighting that this feature has only temporarily decreased. In time this is only going to revert back to what it was before the drastic U-turn, with us potentially even seeing an increase. Our prediction is that it will be the latter.
This in turn could make it much harder for audiences to see your posts, resulting in much lower reach and engagements, which is not something you want as an influencer or for clients. Could this result in requiring a larger budget to boost your posts or run ads to increase impressions, engagements and growth? It may well come down to that.
As the platform is constantly evolving, these features could be rolled out one month and then a few weeks later Instagram may announce further changes – leading to another re-evaluation of your channel and content.
What can we learn from this? Instagram is never going back to how it first started. Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri has stated that their findings show this isn’t what users want, despite what we (and the Kardashians) may think.