Instagram’s New Algorithm Change Just Fucked the Middle Class (of Instagram)
The new “Insta-magic”
algorithm change plays favorites.
Three days ago I found myself sifting through my camera roll searching for the perfect photo to upload to my secondary (micro-influencer) Instagram account. After about 20 minutes of tedious editing, reflecting, and perfecting I posted the image, expecting to get an average number of likes. Three hours later I moseyed back to my account and notice that the number of likes I had received was WAY below usual. We aren’t talking a little bit down; the likes were 50% the level they should be.
Holy shit. How could this have happened? After all, I have 8500 followers. The photo wasn’t that bad. I immediately looked at the data on iconosquare and saw that my photo just wasn’t getting the engagement percentage other posts were getting before. I decided to cut my losses and post another photo (three posts a day keeps the doctor away, right?!).
Again…. shitty like count and shitty engagement? Now I am trying to look externally— maybe there was some worldwide phenomenon that everyone was engaged in (did Mexico football get skunked again?). So I went to my personal feed. After scrolling for a little I realized that for some reason it felt different; I felt discombobulated — like I couldn’t get my bearings in the feed. Turns out Instagram had finally rolled out their algorithm change from chronological order to a proprietary “Insta-magic” algo.
I immediately noticed that some other micro-influential’s posts were not showing up in my feed but the users had new content in their profile. Was Instagram removing posts from users timelines? Turns out, yes they were; the new algorithm doesn’t just reorder the posts in my feed, but it actually removes them from my view!
Instagram is just like society in that there are lower, middle, and upper classes. Users that are in the lower class (my personal account — 550 followers) post and get around the same amount of likes and engagement as before the algo change. The upper class (100k+ followers) is somewhat the same as the lower class; users covet the posts of these users and their engagement and likes are analogous before and after the algo change. The new algo change is fine and dandy for these users, but, just like in society (fight me in the comments if you want) the middle class often gets forgotten.
I have now posted 8 photos over the last three days on my 8500 follower, “middle class” account. EVERY single post has a 30–64% decrease in engagement and likes. Is anyone ever going to be climb from zero to mega influencer status again? Lets hope Instagram iterates out of this mess.