Instagram to become Ranker-gram
The imaged focused, social media site has announced they will soon be testing a new algorithm-based feed.
A feed is the running column of content common across many social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Traditionally, these feeds have been of a reverse chronological order, with the most recent content appearing at the top of our feed, however as our online network of friends grows, the feeds have evolved. The leader of the pack was Facebook, who in 2009 switched to an algorithm based largely on the popularity of posts, interactions with friends, and content type.
The new changes will see your feed being ranked in order of what you will like, and engage with best. The rationale behind the change is explained on Instagram’s blog, with the foremost reason being that on average, people miss 70% of their feeds. As the social network continues to grow, so too does the chance that you’ll miss an image which you’d like to see.
Instagram is trying to mitigate this #FOMO (fear of missing out) by rearranging photos and videos in your feed, with the order being based on the likelihood of your interest in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post being variable factors. Instagram reassures that all the posts will be there, but just in a different order.
Co-founder and CEO of Instagram, Kevin Systrom explained to The New York Times “On average, people miss about 70% of the posts in their Instagram feed. What this is about is making sure that the 30% you see is the best 30% possible”
With more than 400 million active users, Instagram’s update comes partly as a need to manage the massive amounts of content flowing through feeds each second.
Whilst feed-based networks have grown dominant in the recent decades, they must continue to evolve to keep audiences returning, and staying for longer. Brian Blau, the vice president of Gartner, an industry research firm explains “These companies want to always, always give you the next best thing to look at… If an algorithm can give you much more engaging content more frequently, you’ll stick around longer.” However, earlier this year Twitter suffered backlash after implementing a similar Facebook-style algorithmic timeline prompting the rapid trending of #RIPTwitter.
Systrom promised that the changes to the Instagram feed will not be jarring, “If it’s one thing we do really well as a company, it’s that we take big change slowly and deliberately and bring the community along with us. It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram.”