Are Instagram Changes Killing Small Business?

April 14, 20165min

Earlier this month, Instagram announced changes in its news feed algorithm. That means that very soon, posts will no longer appear in chronological order and instead, they will be sorted “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.”


In other words, Instagram will choose what posts you will be able to see and when, just like in Facebook’s news feed.

Just like with every social media change, this announcement prompted an outcry from users who are worried about the possibility of turning their feeds into a never-ending slideshow of strictly mainstream posts or, oh the horror, paid advertisements.

The death of small brands on Instagram

Besides diehard users, small business users are also worried that their posts will disappear in the sea of bigger brands who are actually paying sponsored posts on Instagram.

That’s why more and more Instagram users are urging their followers to turn on notifications for their posts by using hashtag #turnmeon, so their followers will receive a notification each time they post something new.

Monetisation of Instagram

As mentioned before, Instagram is clearly following Facebook’s path of limiting organic reach. This can be a threat to brands that have been investing in creating content and brand awareness on Instagram.

While larger brands still have the budget for promoting their content on social media, small businesses may not be so lucky.

On the other hand, the algorithm change is a way to optimise a user’s feed: “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed. What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible,” says Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and CEO of Instagram.

Why Facebook cares?

Facebook, the world’s biggest social network and Instagram’s owner since 2012, announced $5.8 billion in Revenue in Q4, a staggering 51 percent growth over the prior year. Even though Facebook’s growth rate has consistently been over 40 percent, it is not so simple to actually maintain that growth.
If it follows its own growth rate, Facebook will need to produce additional $2 billion in growth next quarter and another $3 billion in growth in this quarter next year.

According to Facebook’s CFO, this growth is driven by an increase in average revenue per user, and not an increase in user growth.

Wake up call or just a common update?

Instagram has 400 million users, and some of them will inevitably be annoyed by these changes. However, will the change hurt Instagram? Not so likely. Facebook has used the algorithm that serves up content it thinks users will be more interested in, and as a result, a billion people check the site every single day. The same will probably happen with Instagram’s feed as well. The thing is, there is just too much good content on the platform to just give up on it.

Bonus tip: How to turn notifications on

You can turn on notification by going to the Instagram page of the user you don’t want to miss any posts from, and click on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the screen and click “Turn on Post Notifications.” However, you may want to think twice about this decision, because just like your fav small brands are afraid of drowning in anonymity, you could also find yourself drowning in their alerts every 3 minutes.

Republished from the blog of UK Customer Experience Awards ‘16

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Tamara Lužajić

Tamara Lužajić

CXM.world is the branch of Customer Experience Magazine made for our readers in the Middle East. It's packed with global and local news and features covering relevant CX topics and upcoming events.




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