Instagram announced this week that its reverse-chronological feed will soon become and algorithm-based feed, showing posts out of order according to what it believes people will care about most.
The company says people miss around 70% of posts on their feed, on average. An algorithm-based feed will help remedy that by showing people more of the top posts they would have otherwise missed.
Content will be ordered based on:
- How likely you’ll be interested in it
- Your relationship with the person posting it
- Timeliness of the post
The focus is solely on re-organizing posts; which means all posts from accounts you follow will be included, they’ll just be featured out of order. Expect this feature to roll out in the coming months.
Why Do This? Why Now?
Both Instagram users and marketers alike may be wondering why the company has decided to do this; and why it’s being done now. Without being able to say for sure, it may have to do with engagement.
A report published by Quintly this week reveals that engagement on Instagram is down 40% compared to last year. In addition, Instagram accounts are expected to see their follower rates “fall off the cliff” throughout 2016. Twitter, another social network which has had similar trouble with engagement rates, recently introduced a non-chronological timeline a well.
The study also points out that the rate of posts-per-day is up from this time last year. This could mean people are seeing fewer posts from their favorite accounts because they’re being buried by the increased frequency of posts from other accounts. Showing users more of what they really want to see could have them interacting more often.
Introducing a timeline similar to Facebook’s seems to be the latest trend for social networks with declining engagement rates. Will that be enough to keep people coming back and engaging with Instagram more frequently? Time will tell on that one. Even if everyone doesn’t love the idea, the data seems to indicate that it’s at least worth an attempt.