Last week, Instagram added two features that will alter the content in users’ feeds: The ability to follow hashtags will surface hashtag-focused posts, and a “Recommended for you” section will show posts friends have liked.
When it comes to organic reach on the platform, both changes have favorable and unfortunate implications for brands, publishers and influencers. Here’s a rundown of them:
Clutter will increase
Both changes will add increased clutter to Instagram feeds, resulting in more content users must scroll through to reach all organic content. Ever since 2016, when Instagram switched from a chronological algorithm to one that tailors posts for each specific user, brands have to pay to be seen. Instagram said the new changes will not impact where paid ads will appear within user feeds, so posts that are not backed by a robust paid Instagram strategy are likely to be further buried.
The new hashtag-related posts will follow the platform’s same algorithm. If a user follows a certain hashtag, say “#photography,” Instagram will determine which posts to show the user in their feed based on the recency and quality of the posts. There is no limit on how many hashtag-related posts appear in a user’s feed, said an Instagram spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the new “Recommended for you” section, which will include three to five posts, will appear after a user has viewed all of their new posts. Consequently, users who open and close the app more often will see the “Recommended for you” section more frequently than those that do not.
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