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How a tiny Instagram tweak led to wins for users and brands

While their work is vital in keeping us Liking and tweeting, software engineers don’t often make headlines in social.

Bucking that trend is a recent post from Instagram, explaining how a tweak from their tech heads led to a better experience for the rest of us.

Smooth sailing

Until recently Instagram would send up to 20 comments on a post to users’ mobile devices. All these comments churned up data plans and time.

So Instagram’s engineers came up with a simple solution: slash the amount of comments sent from 20 to three.

Speed trials

The engineers found that the paired-back comments led to quicker loading times, more stability, and less memory and data being chewed through on users’ phones.

Significantly, engagement also rose. Scrolls through user profiles increased by close to 3%, while overall impressions on mobile got bumped by 0.7%. Likes also increased by 0.4%.

As an extra bonus, the reduced workload took the strain off Facebook’s servers, meaning Instagram’s parent company might run a little faster too.

So the next time you’re seeing your Likes come speedily through on Facebook and Instagram, you might have a software engineer to thank.
 

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