Please Don’t Kill My Gram

This weeks’ major annoucement, and most impactful to your daily life, might not be the urging development of VR technology and augmented reality at SXSW. Yet.

Yesterday, Instagram’s management made an important statement: it is about to change your feed using a new algorithm based on the popularity of posts, claiming that “people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds”. Basically, the Gram is going to implement the same changes that what it’s parent company, Facebook, did in 2009.

Finding the right balance.

As a loyal user, I like in my Instagram feed as it is: a mix between my moderate popular friend’s post and brand’s ones that gather a (sensibly) higher engagement. How are my friends supposed to survive to the a new order?

The upcoming change is already raising concerns, as it happened when FB undertook it’s change. And for the first time, it is clearly translating into those dislike new buttons to whoever relay this information. The announcement is already quite unpopular.

Of course, the algorithm plans to deliver the content that it thinks you value the most. It’s a promise you’d be fooled to trust because, according to the Facebook experience, it always promotes popularity or paid content above all.

Still Insta?

For it’s 400 million monthly users, this is the major change coming to the platform since 2010. As a growing gramer, I dearly appreciate the immediacy in my use of this social network. The temporality matters in our customer behavior and people are used to it (sometimes putting a #latergram when they were posting that did not occur at the current moment).

Instagram’s management, say they worry about you missing something that happened while you were asleep, or on a plane. Thought I surely don’t know anyone who scrolls back to his instagram feed to discover past events.

So why changing it now? Why go against the flow?

More Money.

As opposed to Twitter, brands are rushing to the Gram, like bears in front of a honey bar. Resulting in a very promising $600 million ad revenue this year. After only allowing a few dozens of companies to advertise on its platform, the social network will open it’s ads to all marketers in next August.

So the very goal behind this change is not to optimize your user experience, it is to have brands pay more for exposure. Companies like Taco Bell, Beats, AirBnb or even Smart have already experienced a very high brand recall, being rewarded of their goods ad practices on the platform:

By limiting the number of actors enabled to develop campaigns on the platform, it stimulated brands and agencies to innovate. But few months down the line, who can guarantee that ads will be as inventive and compelling and they are now?

“We certainly don’t want to contribute to that pollution or play in a space that feels like there are messages that don’t fit in.” says the Chief Investment Officer at DigitasLBi, an notorious digital agency . I hope Instagram reps and brands will pay a good attention not deteriorating our experience as the ad spend will skyrock in the next couple of months.

Instagram’s CEO says there’s nothing to worry about: “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”. Well, Mr. Systrom, We hear you but allow us to be a little doubtful.

Even if it won’t happen overnight, I’ve seen what happened to my Facebook feed. It’s now filled of viral content, “easy-to-click-on” articles and that I’m not particularly interested in.

So please don’t kill my gram, Kevin. You’ll still be making millions and brands (and their agencies) will adjust, as they always do.

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