Proof That The Internet Is Sometimes One Big Game Of Chinese Whispers
If you've been on Instagram at all this weekend, you'll no doubt have seen a flurry of posts in your feed from content creators asking you to "turn on notifications".
This is in response to Instagram's announcement earlier this month that they will be switching from a chronological feed to an algorithmic one, meaning that posts will "be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most". This will work in a similar way to Facebook (surprise surprise) - the posts you're served will be based on what you've previously shown an interest in.
For some unknown reason, a rumour spread that Instagram would be updating their algorithm today. Which led to a lot of popular Instagram users telling fans to turn on notifications, meaning they will light up the phones of their followers every single time they post. Every. Single. Time.
Instagram spoke out on Twitter yesterday evening, dispelling the rumours with a friendly but vague comment.
So while users can rest assured that the change isn't happening "right now", we should still be expecting the update to be rolled out in the next coming months.
What does the Instagram algorithm update mean for marketers?
Controversially, I don't think the update is wholly a bad thing...
Instagram won't have just decided on this overnight. Last month, they hit an 11-month low: user growth was down by 93% and engagement was down by 70%. The updated algorithm will be carefully crafted to combat this. They want to get more people using the platform, not throttle organic reach so much that it drives existing users away.
Visually striking content has always been at the heart of Instagram. The algorithm won't change this; in fact posting consistently great photos is a surefire way to make sure people engage with your content, whatever the algorithm.
Lastly, the algorithm just reminds marketers of what we already know. We know to monitor our audience and post content when they're online. We're always being told to put the effort into responding to comments and driving conversations. Writing witty captions and researching the best hashtags is part and parcel of running a social media account for your business.
So don't panic. Use this time before the algorithm kicks in to fine tune your Instagram strategy - after all, you've been given a head start!