Instagram recently announced it hit 1 billion monthly users, up from 800 million in September. This makes Instagram the fastest growing social media platform since its launch in 2010. Studies estimate that they will reach $5.48 billion in US ad revenue in 2018. If that doesn’t convince you that Instagram is a powerful marketing tool, consider the statistic from HubSpot that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared.
Since Instagram is all about visual content, it’s no wonder if that it’s growing at such a rapid pace. However, just like anything else in the digital world, Instagram is constantly changing and as marketers, we must stay ahead of all the trends to best optimize our social media strategies. Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram in 2018.
How the Instagram Algorithm Works
When Instagram first came out as a photo sharing social network, the way the newsfeed worked was very straightforward: photos appeared in chronological order as users you followed posted. But since it has grown to be a powerful tool for businesses and influencers, the algorithm which determines how photos appear in your newsfeed has changed. People have been wondering exactly how the new algorithm worked for a while, and Instagram finally shared the six key ranking factors for the first time.
The three main factors that determine what you see in your feed are:
- Interest – Instagram looks at the genres of content you have interacted with in the past and shows you photos that are more relevant to your interests. So, whether it’s travel, food, fashion, or sports – if Instagram sees that’s what you’re constantly liking, that’s what it will show you.
- Timeliness – the chronological element of the newsfeed hasn’t gone away. Instagram still ranks recent posts higher in your feed.
- Relationship – Instagram also considers your relationship with the accounts as they show pictures in your feed. The algorithm determines what accounts you care about by whose content you like, who you direct message, or search for often and rank them higher.
These three additional factors that don’t hold as much weight, but still play a part in your newsfeed rankings:
- Frequency – How often you open Instagram will affect what you see in your newsfeed. If you only check Instagram once a day, you’ll see the most relevant posts from that day; but if you’re opening it hourly you’ll see the most relevant content from that hour.
- Following – The number of people you follow will affect your feed – the less people you follow the less content the algorithm must sort through to decide what to show you each time you open it.
- Usage – Whether you tend to browse Instagram in short bursts or large sessions can affect what the algorithm shows. If you typically spend a short time on the app, they will make sure to show the most relevant posts first; whereas if you typically prefer longer browsing sessions it can provide a deeper catalog of content for you.
Instagram’s Latest Announcement: Instagram TV
Now that the Instagram algorithm mystery is finally solved, there’s a brand-new feature for us to explore: IGTV. IGTV will feature full-screen videos up to an hour long create by the accounts you follow. There’s a button on the top of your Instagram on top of your feed or there’s a separate app. A few key features include:
- As soon as you open the app, IGTV starts playing – “just like turning on the TV” according to Instagram’s CEO.
- Also, like TV, it has channels, when you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up for you to watch. But anyone with an Instagram account can be a creator, just upload your videos to the app.
- Users can switch between their “Following” tab to discover related or popular content.
- Users can also like, comment and send videos to friends via direct message.
So basically, IGTV is a new long-form video sharing platform that’s incorporated into Instagram, modeled to be a mobile TV watching experience. There’s countless opportunities to use IGTV as marketers, especially if you already have a social media presence on Instagram.
The introduction of IGTV will be a forward move in the world of expanding video marketing and redefining the ways audiences connect with brands. As the fastest growing social network, with every new change to Instagram comes an opportunity to create content, connect with customers and grow your business.