Social media marketers are on pins and needles as they watch the clock tick down to "Instageddon"—the day Instagram changes how you discover content in your feed.

In case you've been buried under a social feed filled with trash pandas and pictures of your cousin's new baby, here's the scoop: Instagram announced in March that it caught the "relevance bug" and will soon change the way platform users discover moments.

At present, content is shown instantly, filling feeds chronologically. Though the insta-nature of the platform is great for keeping followers up to date with the latest pictures from the handles they follow, the good folks down in Menlo Park contend that the average user misses 70% of content because he or she is not on-app to see it when posted. In looking at the issue, they must've thought, "There has to be a better way."

That way is relevance.

I, for one, welcome our not-so new algorithmic overlords

The number of handles followed by the average Instagram user tends to be big. Really big. The average is 400–500 accounts per person.

Considering the impressive rate of daily activity by handles on platform, the average user can easily be overwhelmed by a flood of disorganized content. In an age of on-demand programming and personalized curation for everything, an algorithmic approach to social content discovery seems to fit right in. Instagram's new algorithm will help optimize your ability to find the content most interesting to you by assessing and ordering it through:

  • Your personal and network's relationship with the poster (Birds of a feather share content together.)
  • The number of engagements it receives ("Oh, I think they like it… You probably will, too.")
  • The kind of content you share with your network ("You see my food pic; I see yours.")
  • The timeliness of posts ("I want it now.")

If you think this approach sounds familiar, that's because you've been discovering content on Facebook via a relevance algorithm for years. Facebook has always attempted to bring some order to your news feed. By and large, that has been a successful approach, and I'm confident it will be on Instagram as well.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Vincent Bates

Vincent Bates is a digital and social marketing manager at Eastwick's Digital Brand Lab, a tech-focused communications agency.

LinkedIn: Vincent M. Bates 

Twitter: @VincentMBates