by Clyde Smith
The news that Instagram is introducing a new algorithmic feed has been upsetting to many users. Instagram feeds are starting to feel much more like Facebook feeds featuring pics and videos that meet their secret algorithmic criteria.
It appears likely that posts that garner initial interaction, including likes and comments, will be featured; thus leading to further interaction and distribution. For those whose posts do not inspire instant engagement, Instagram will become a much less welcoming platform for marketing.
Early Responses To The Algo-Apocalypse
Many Instagram users are in an uproar. But Facebook has weathered such storms before and is unlikely to change course. Musicians whose Facebook pages have thousands of followers may express outrage; but Facebook’s goal is to deliver the reader their favorite content and to sell ads alongside it.
Some Instagram users are responding practically and urging their followers to opt-in to notifications so that they’ll be alerted each time a new photo or video is posted. But with more and more users asking for opt-ins there is already a backlash against notification requests.
So is the Algo-Apocalypse about to destroy Instagram as a viable marketing platform? Though marketing on Instagram is going to get a bit tougher, there are many ways to be a winner.
What Is Most Likely To Happen
Based on a recent blog post from Instagram, it sounds like we are going to see a repeat of what happened with Facebook marketing.
On Facebook, such interactions as likes and reposts are the basis for the “engagement rate” which is one of the more important indicators of whether or not a particular post will be shown in followers’ news feeds. In addition, the posts to which Facebook users respond affect the kind of posts that they will be shown in the future.
While this means that some posts won’t be shown the reality is that many weren’t being seen. The bright side is that content posted late night that might have been missed before may well show up as the first thing users see when they start their day.
So What’s A Music Marketer To Do?
1. If you’re going to encourage followers to op-tin to notifications let them know that something special is coming like an opportunity to get free exclusive content. Instagram does not currently notify users when their followers opt-in but that may be something worth requesting if you’re already buying ads.
2. Commit to creating engaging content. In many respects this commitment is easier for music and media companies but studying both analytics and qualitative aspects of comments is necessary for fine tuning based on follower response.
3. If you aren’t buying Instagram ads, now is the time to investigate ahead of the upcoming Algo-Apocalypse. Make sure you and your music media buyers are up to date on the options. Experience with ad campaigns on Facebook where a similar scenario has played out before will also be of use.
Well-planned campaigns are key tactics for long-term Instagram marketing strategy and may actually lead to greater success in the future despite what some may see as a setback.