The Secrets behind the Instagram Feed Update

Last week Instagram stated as follows:

[…]people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds[…]To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.

To be honest, nobody has ever complained about that as much as they complained about this new update, and people started wondering why is Instagram shifting from a chronological feed to an algorithm based feed?

They said they did it to allow people to see their favorite posts and engage the most with their beloved friends but that’s obviously not the only reason behind it: they are doing it to sell more ads on Instagram.

Instagram as a Free Marketing Tool is now a thing

Lots of companies are nowadays generating leads and advertising their audience for free as much as they like with their daily posts. 
Instagram knew about it and they let it be for a while so that this could become a common practice. It has been just like a Trojan horse to the marketing best practices among smart companies worldwide.

Several months ago Instagram decided they wanted to start making money out of it and they introduced changes to the feed little by little; in a way that the most of their users couldn’t even notice. 
Despite that, experienced users could feel there was something going on with some of their followers’ feeds and with all the hashtags’ pages. Thought it was not official yet, most of the managers of big accounts with thousands of followers knew there was something more behind the so called “chronological feed”.
On March 15th 2016 Instagram finally decided to make it public in order to be able to do it consistently and on everyone’s feed.

Instagram wants to change your habits

As said before their main goal now is to sell more ads on Instagram. Their sales are improving but they are still not so great at the moment and a company with a good Social Manager can manage to use Instagram as an advertising platform without having to pay. 
They now want to take control of it but in order to do so they need to improve the user journey and engagement within the app.

The average life span of an Instagram active user who posts at least every three days is between 3 to 6 months; then everyone tends to login less frequently and posting rarely. This usually happens because after an initial boost of followers and engagement within the app, a new user is then left there with just a few likes per photo, not so many great posts by actual friends and not such a great user journey; unless that user knows how to rock and engage with IG communities using hashtags.

What do they want to achieve?

  • More frequent posts
    After one week since the Instagram Feed Update, the algorithm is reducing the average engagement life of a photo by 25%. Small accounts are not noticing the change while big accounts are now pushed to post every 3 hours if they want to keep a consistent flow of likes and comments per hour.
  • More frequent logins by any type of user
    Instagram wants you to go back to the app to check what’s new every now and then, just like you do with Facebook daily.

7 Predictions about Instagram

  1. What we shall expect now is to have an improvement in terms of engagement and reach of accounts like @GearedNomad or bigger, as long as they post between 6–8 photos a day. This will call the attention of even more companies and people, and will trigger an exponential growth for this social network. What will happen then is that in order to grow and to reach their followers on the gram, companies will need to pay.
  2. Facebook might soon come up with new ways to improve the social sharing and interaction with Instagram posts.
  3. Instagram will probably soon allow companies to flag themselves as a “Business Account” in a first phase. It will then become a must, so that people will be able to understand if they are looking at a Business or a Personal account right away.
  4. Business Accounts will probably be allowed to have a unique hashtag associated with their brand. If this happens, companies will push this feature the best they could to spread the hashtag associated with their name and obtain more visibility; which will eventually benefit the Instagram platform itself.
  5. I guess Instagram analysts must have understood that they are close to their apex in terms of users. According to the forecasting firm eMarkter, Instagram Will Top 100 Million US Users by 2018 and this is the best time in their history to put the basis to start monetizing on it properly.
  6. A new groundbreaking social media will probably arrive within the end of 2018 taking people away from current social medias little by little and capturing the attentions of a new generation of users.
  7. I consider Instagram Business accounts to be the same as Facebook Pages in 2019–2020.

Final Considerations

It will turn out to be quite similar to what’s Facebook now and companies will start looking for alternative ways and mediums to engage with their audience and followers as soon as working on Instagram won’t be worth the hassle anymore.

With that said, there’s still plenty of time to exploit the current situation for a good couple of years. You can be sure that we and everyone skilled enough to ride the wave will for sure be able to take advantage of it!


About the Author: I am Marco Tonetti, Founder of @GearedNomad an Instagram Photography Hub with 40k+ followers that I created on August 15th 2015 to start generating Leads for my new Startup. I’ve been working hardcore for 7 months to grow as fast as I could, trying to exploit the Instagram Algorithm behind the suggested posts and accounts. I now know all you need to grow a successful Instagram account from the ground up and when I’m not working as a Product Manager, I do Marketing Strategy and Growth Hacking consulting for brands. I’ll share here with you some of my secrets and thoughts about Instagram.

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