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When Instagram announced it was planning to bring back the chronological feed in December 2021, both social media users and businesses rejoiced. Their pleas for Instagram to go back to the way it was had been answered.

But here’s the thing - we’re not waving goodbye to the algorithmically curated feed just yet. And there’s a lot more to this recent change than first meets the eye. We take a closer look at what the new update entails, what it will mean for users, and how businessses can prepare for it below…

 

What will the new feed look like?

In a recent Tweet, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri explains how a new menu will be introduced to the app, allowing users to choose between three options for how they want their posts displayed. The first filtering option is called ‘Home’ – the very same setting that we’re currently very used to where Instagram will use the algorithm to feed us content it thinks will interest us.

The second ‘Favourites’ option is new to us, populating the feed with content from a subset of accounts a user chooses – for example, Mosseri says “I use it for siblings, a few of my favourite creators, a few of my best friends.” And thirdly, the ‘Following’ option will see a return of what users have been asking for: a stream of posts from accounts you follow in chronological order.

 

What will this mean for Instagram users?

Mosseri claims that his aim behind the movement is to give users “meaningful control” over their Instagram experience. This new shift for Instagram puts the onus back on users. So, if they don’t like pesky algorithms interfering with their experience, they can simply re-sort their feed as they see fit.

At the same time, ‘Home’ will remain the default setting, meaning that users will have to manually change their feed settings every time they open the app. So, unless Instagram brings back an option for permanently setting a chronological feed as your default, the user experience isn’t really being kept front of mind.

 

What can businesses do about it?

Whilst users may now have the option to reorder their feeds, the algorithmically curated feed will remain the default setting. For this reason, businesses should still follow the same drill when it comes to social media content creation for Instagram.

There are three key elements which determine how the Instagram algorithm currently works. These are:

  1. Information about the post: the type of content (i.e. photo or video), the time it was posted and how many likes it has
  2. Information about the account posting: how relevant they are to a user’s profile, whether you’re following each other, and how often users typically engage with their content
  3. The user’s activity: the sort of content you usually engage with and whether you typically ‘like’ or leave comments

Using all of the above information, Instagram calculates how likely users will be to interact with certain pieces of content. This is what determines the order posts appear in the feed.

With this in mind, social media content creators should continue to ask themselves these questions:

  • Will people ‘like’ or comment on this post?
  • Are people likely to save it and come back to it?
  • Does it include a CTA (for example, ‘link in bio’)?

By addressing these questions and creating content that actively encourages engagement, you can effectively use the Instagram algorithm for your benefit. You can read more about how to navigate social media algorithms in our blog here.

 

Looking to elevate your social media marketing strategy this year? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today and we’d love to chat through the ways we can work together.

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