Social media has impacted pretty much everything about our world - the way news is delivered, how products are marketed, and of course, how we communicate with one another (creating millions of jobs in the process). With the big data boom and the ever-growing demand for social technologies comes the inevitable evolution each platform must go through to accommodate our habits. Sometimes, change is not always welcome.
One example, among many, is the way Instagram has recently changed the way they collect and distribute data. Over five-hundred million people use this platform, many of whom are driving commerce to their businesses, and let's just say that some are less than thrilled with the recent updates.
Due to an algorithm update, Instagram's content is no longer in chronological order, but rather the order of photos and videos in each feed will be based on the level of probability that the user will be engaged with the content and how timely the post is. This is, perhaps, Instagram's way of anticipating the wants and needs of users, instead of simply reacting to them.
But its important to note that this new algorithm represents platform progress - helping users that maybe less data savvy receive the best 'bang for their buck,' so to speak. Think of it this way - would you rather post content in the order you want it in, or have more interaction with your posts? If the answer is "more interaction" - you may want to embrace change.
Jamie Reardon, co founder and CEO at Find Your Influence says: "This new algorithm is going to highlight how important content really is for marketers who use Instagram. It is only one of the many upcoming changes those in PR and marketing should brace themselves for."
A year ago, Instagram announced that they would update their platform API policy to extend user's control over their own content, and to set up an environment that was more sustainable in capturing authentic experiences. This meant that current third party apps had until this summer to request a review and approval. Mashable supported Instagram in this policy change after it was revealed that a third party app from Instagram was deleted because it stole a user's password from Google Play and the App Store. The whole idea is to provide more developer control and platform security - plus giving a more consistent experience to the user.
How will this change things for marketers?
Reardon notes that Instagram's API change will impact the ability to access data, which means that influencer partnerships may have to change their policies. He goes on to say that content is still the priority, and that videos and images must become more clever and relevant with their captions and their hashtags. Some will be relieved to know that content can still be embedded on a website that links directly back to Instagram.
This update will also delete apps from viewing the user's complete Instagram feed. According to Chaitanya Chandrasekhar, the co-founder and CEO of predictive advertising firm QuanticMind, this could be a plus, because it cleans up the platform, getting rid of faux 'likes' and their follower programs. It also makes spambot apps obsolete. They are as useless as yesterday's leftover latte.
Keeping up with changes on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and basically any other social media you use in your marketing is critical to how much impact your campaigns will have as social media morphs. Reporting policies can change right under your nose, so make sure your team is up to date and following best practices.