Instagram Quells 7% Organic Reach Rumours
Marketers can rest easy this long weekend since Instagram has just announced that there hasn’t been a significant algorithm update in recent weeks.
Social media marketers will no doubt have noticed the growing chorus of platform influencers sharing posts (like above) citing a new Instagram algorithm update.
The alleged Instagram update limited organic reach to only 7% of followers.
However, Instagram recently announced on Twitter that there has been no major change, with feeds ranking as normal. They even included a ‘peace’ emoji, so marketers and influencers know to chillax.
‘We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you're following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalised to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram.’
As with Google search, the scent of an algorithm update often comes from marketers, before being confirmed or denied (or ignored) by the platform in question.
How Good Is Instagram For FREE Marketing Anyway?
Instagram is perhaps one of the better social channels for free, unpaid exposure.
It has over one billion monthly active users and approx eleven million active users in Australia and New Zealand (Via: FB Ad Manager).
According to Social Bakers, Instagram averages 20 – 30% organic reach in the main Instagram feed, with a further 8% reach for Stories. All up that is significantly higher than any other social channel.
Chuck Instagram TV (IGTV) into the mix and the unpaid, organic exposure gets even better.
Hence, marketers and influencers lurrrrve Insta.
The only problem is, however, that this won’t last. It is not a question of if Instagram’s free marketing opps deteriorate, but rather when.
Moreover, when they do deteriorate, where will the new free opps be within Instagram? If at all.
Social algorithms shift and evolve much like search, and like search engine optimisation (SEO), marketers must adjust their tactics accordingly.
How Does Instagram’s Algorithm Work?
In 2018 Instagram’s engineers gave a presentation to tech media on how its algorithm works. Unsurprisingly, it is very similar to Facebook, in principle.
There are three main factors which determine what you see in your Instagram feed:
- Interest: How much Instagram predicts users will care about a post, with higher ranking determined by past behaviour on similar content and potentially machine vision analysing the actual content of the post
- Recency: How recently the post was shared, with prioritisation for timely posts over weeks-old ones
- Relationship: How close users are to the profile which shared it, with higher ranking for profiles they’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos
While these can be considered core, there are other factors which also influence rankings, such as:
- Frequency: How often a user opens Instagram, as it will try to show them the best posts since their last visit
- Following: If a user follows many profiles, Instagram will be picking from a wider breadth of authors so they might see less of any specific business/person
- Usage: How long a user spends on Instagram determines if they’re just seeing the best posts during short sessions, or it’s digging deeper into its catalogue if they spend more total time browsing
Nowadays, most social networks operate in very similar ways, concerning sorting and sifting content. While each network ranks information differently they all share a common spine; even LinkedIn doesn’t fundamentally differ too much from above.
That said, one can understand why users may be a tad jittery since it is almost a year to the day that Mark Zuckerberg threw Facebook marketers under the bus with a series of sweeping algorithm updates.
Thankfully Instagram hasn’t followed suit. Yet.