What do the 2018 Instagram algorithm changes mean for me?

Instagram is known for changing their algorithm pretty frequently, and they recently made a couple of changes. Instagram also finally went on the record about some of the rumours that have been floating around. Today, I’m doing a quick run through of the 2018 Instagram algorithm changes you need to know (and how they affect your own Instagram marketing strategy), as well as debunking some common Instagram myths.  

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What do the 2018 Instagram algorithm changes mean for you?

The new Instagram algorithm changes have been in effect for a little while already – maybe you’ve even noticed a drop in your Instagram engagement or other changes. Today, I’m going quickly touch on the 2018 Instagram algorithm changes and how they affect you and your business.

Instagram recently went on the record and spoke about changes that it has made to the Instagram algorithm in 2018 and some of the rumours that people have been floating around about Instagram. Some of the answers might actually surprise you!

So here are the key things that you need to know about the 2018 Instagram algorithm changes…

1. Shadowbanning isn’t a real thing

Last year, everyone freaked out about shadowbanning. Instagram was apparently blocking people’s posts from being shown in the hashtag explore section if they used the same hashtags over and over. According to Instagram, this was a mysterious bug in the system and it isn’t actually something to worry about.

That said you should definitely still be using different Instagram hashtag sets to make sure you’re reaching as many people as possible on Instagram.

2. Key things that determine what people see in their Instagram feed with the 2018 Instagram algorithm changes

With the new Instagram algorithm in 2018, there are three main things that determine what shows in the Instagram feed. These things are:

  1. Interest: How interested Instagram predicts you’ll be in a certain post based on your past interactions with the platform.
  2. Recency: How new the post is.
  3. Relationship: How close Instagram determines your relationship is with this person based on how you’ve interacted with them in the past. Maybe you’ve been in posts together or maybe you’ve sent them a message, etc.

The feed is no longer in reverse chronological order like it once was. This is something that was introduced a little while ago, so it’s nothing new. But, basically, it means you don’t really need to be posting three times a day anymore. Sure, if you can post that often and keep it up then go ahead, but it’s unlikely to give you any real advantage in terms of beating the algorithm or reaching your audience.

People who are interested in your brand will see your posts on their feed, regardless of whether it was posted one minute ago or one day ago.

3. Video doesn’t necessarily give you an advantage

There were rumours the video content gets a higher reach on Instagram than photo content and, according to Instagram, this isn’t true.

However, if someone regularly stops to watch video content in their Instagram feed they’ll see more video content. Or, if they never stop to watch videos, they’ll see less video content.

So, what does this mean for you? It means you need to know your audience. Where are they when they see your posts? If they’re on the bus home from a busy day at work they mightn’t want to watch your video and chew up their mobile data. Or, maybe they’re sitting at their desk at work and they don’t want the whole office to hear it. You could even ask your audience straight up whether they prefer video or photo posts. Just do an Instagram stories poll and ask them.

If you’re looking to create video content without getting in front of the camera, these animated Instagram templates are just what you need!

4. Instagram’s algorithm doesn’t give preference to people who use Instagram Live, Stories or any other special features

There were rumours going around that if you used Instagram Live or Instagram Stories regularly you’d be given special treatment by the Instagram algorithm. Instagram has now confirmed that this isn’t true. While these things still play a huge part in your Instagram strategy, you don’t need to be doing them simply to show up higher in people’s feeds, because it won’t make a difference.

5. Instagram doesn’t down rank you for posting too frequently

If you’ve had a particularly big day and you’ve posted a few more posts than usual you don’t need to stress – Instagram won’t penalize you for posting too frequently. However, if you do post quite a few posts in short succession, you might find that other people’s posts show up between yours on their feed

6. Instagram doesn’t penalise business accounts

Yet another rumour was that switching to an Instagram business profile would decrease your reach. Instagram has confirmed what I suspected all along, which is that switching to a business account doesn’t affect your reach.

We switched all our client accounts over and we didn’t notice any drop in reach and, even if there were a drop in reach, I’d be tempted to say it’s actually worth it for the additional reporting and analytics that Instagram gives business accounts.

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New Instagram algorithm 2018 changes

June 27, 2018

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