Messaging Apps
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Messaging Apps

Instagram is now explaining its algorithm

(But not very well)

As an addendum to my previous article Instagram has added an algorithm; it’s better for you & brands, Instagram has now started to explain why it shows you certain posts in the Explore tab. Each post has an annotation under it and so far I have seen two different annotations:

  • Popular in your country” aka trending locally. This is a step in the right direction away from posts that have little cultural significance to you.
  • Based on photos you’ve liked” this seems to be a misnomer. I think what they mean here is “based on photos your friends have liked” because this photo (and many others with this annotation) is liked by people I know, and taken by someone I don’t follow.

More importantly, I feel Instagram’s little annotations lay the groundwork for another upcoming annotation:

  • Advertisement” / “Sponsored Post

As I’ve said before,

The Explore tab is a better place for advertising.

Advertising in the homefeed is interruptive. But people go to the explore tab when they are actively looking for new posts to see from people that don’t already follow.

It’s not hard to see conversion rates on promoted posts in the Explore tab, especially if they are promoted via friends of fans, being far higher than promoted posts in the homefeed.

The problem is, the Explore tab has been so poorly designed, many users find it irrelevant. Improving the consumer experience in the Explore tab will lead users to frequent it more. Instagram need to prime their product before they sell it to brands and this is a good step in that direction.

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Musings on how they’re used, by whom, what for, and where they’re going.

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