This morning, Instagram announced another big change to their platform: longer video, up to 60 seconds, as opposed to the previously maximum of 15, can now be uploaded to your feed, in efforts to â€œencourage creativityâ€ in their users. This aidÂ to the creation of creative content may come in handy considering the imminent roll-out of the platform’s recent decision to applyÂ algorithms to the sorting of images, which will take your feed from the comfort of chronology to the unchartered waters of engagement-based curation, with many users outcrying the decision.
There’s a flurry of updates urging followers to turn on notifications for their brand butÂ many businesses are still wondering just how much these changes â€“ creative or otherwise â€“ will impact their social media reach and the use of the platform in future.
This key departure fromÂ chronology-based feeds is forcing brands to rethink their creative strategy, as the feed will eventually become sorted solely in terms of “relevance” to users (NB: engagement levels), rather than the latest post to be uploaded.
â€œThe order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood youâ€™ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post,â€ Instagram explained on their blog when the changes were announced.
Despite critics comparing the change to Facebook’s monetisation, Instagram explained that the reasoning behind this adjustment was a result of the increasing amount of traffic on the site that obscured the ability of users to be able to engage properly with updates that are relevant to them: according to their findings, 70% of our feeds go unseen when the chronological method is in place. A study by agency Optical Cortex confirms a similar scenario: from a sample of over 20,000 Instagram users, it showed that the average number of handles a user follows is 800. In user viewing terms, that means the amount of content you actually see is minimal – and isn’t at all dependent on what you’re interested in when viewing it. A large majority of handles popular with users are also visited deliberately by the user, not interacted with through the mini-feed, therefore already eliminating the need for regular content updates.
While there are notable drawbacks – Instagram can no longer be a place for time-sensitive content that should coincide with a certain timing of a post, for example, as well as the obvious push to begin paying to push content – some argue the change makes little difference to brands with content thatâ€™s really worth viewing. That is: the content worth viewing will surface and the content that isn’t worth the click will have to up their game.
Will longer video and algorithm shake-ups mean better content in the long run? Only time will tell.