Bloggers and brands react strongly to Instagram’s announcement over timeline changes

By: Jo Middleton

March 17, 2016

Categories:

Content Marketing - Customer Experience - Social Marketing -

 

 

The Internet has been all of a flutter this week over news that Instagram is changing the way it displays pictures.

Instagram has long been a favourite of brands and bloggers alike because of the freedom it allows users, and the lack of control it has imposed to date, so Instagrammers are understandably up in arms about what they see as a step towards a Facebook style model, where only those who can afford to pay get seen.

The changes will mean that pictures will be displayed according to an algorithm, based chiefly on popularity, rather than chronologically. Some say this defeats the whole point of the app – the clue is in the name after all; INSTAgram. Instagram has always stood firm on this principle, refusing to allow scheduling or automated posting, insisting that this goes against the ‘instant’ nature of the beast, and yet this ethos appears to be being completely undermined by the new strategy.

Instagram say that this is simply down to how popular the app has become. “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed,” Kevin Systrom, co-founder and chief executive of Instagram, said in an interview. “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.”

Reactions so far have mainly been negative.

“Instagram works right now,” says Camilla, blogger at Fab Food 4 All. “When I upload a picture I make sure I like lots of accounts that I’m following and often they’ll come over and like my post because they are on their phone at that moment in real time. When Instagram’s new system comes into place there will be no real time interaction.”

“Instagram is a two way street for me and I want to like pictures on small accounts that aren’t run by brands but passionate individuals with a hobby or just a cute cat, I don’t see why Instagram should have the power to remove or bury these pictures under a pile of perfectly coiffed pictures that get more hits. I can only assume that Instagram is turning to the dark side like Facebook, where cash is king, so if you want your own followers to see your posts then you’ll end up having to pay for the privilege. All the innocent joy will be lost.”

 

Despite the backlash, which Instagram must have known would have been inevitable, given the stick that Facebook and Twitter received when they did similar things, there could be positives.

“I know the announcement is very unpopular,” says photographer Lucy, who writes the blog Capture By Lucy, “but one good thing about the new system is that it might make you appreciate the accounts you follow more, make a more conscious effort to find their gallery and check in on their latest post, rather than just relying on your news feed. That’s where we see the real engagement, people who can’t wait to see what you post next so they hunt yours out!”

“Most of the accounts I follow post images that aren’t instant. There’s definitely been a shift over the last couple of years towards content being curated, and DSLR images being shared as often as phone camera snaps. I don’t see this as a bad thing, anything that encourages you to enjoy the platform and use it more is a good thing.”

So how do we make the new system work for us?

“Don’t be so selective when scrolling through your feed,” says Lucy. “Be a more active user, like the photos you like! And then under the proposed changes you will see more of them.”

 

A photo posted by Capture by Lucy (@capturebylucy) on Mar 12, 2016 at 1:18am PST

 

What do you think about the changes? What effect will they have on how your use Instagram?

 


 

With the social landscape always changing, keeping up with how best to utilise these platforms and communicate with audiences effectively is a continuous challenge. Don’t miss out on the ever-evolving area of Social Marketing – join us for our Social Marketing track at #DMWF Amsterdam.

Photo credit: (c)iStock.com/franckreporter