The “Insta-lgorithm” – what you need to know

The “Insta-lgorithm” – what you need to know
Group of Diverse People Discussing About Social Media

After many months of rumours, suspicions have been realised – Instagram will switch to an algorithm system, instead of chronological order. Instagram’s official Twitter account recently said the following: “We’re listening and we assure you nothing is changing with your feed right now. We promise to let you know when changes roll out broadly”.

Any change that requires this level of client management is sure to be a major event in social media circles. Many long-term fans of Instagram are sorry to see the old chronological system go – regardless of who you were, you had the same opportunity for exposure, and often the best photos of the day would rise to the top of the pile organically.

Anarchy in social media has often produced incredible results, from various subreddit pages, to the likes of 4Chan. Instagram are now going to follow this system with an algorithm similar to that of their owners, Facebook. The algorithm will aim to send photos that the user will enjoy to the top of the pile, instead of listing strictly in chronological order. The change has left many Instagram fans feeling despondent, and high-value profiles have been encouraging fans to turn on notifications in order to ensure their content makes it to their fans.

So why change the winning formula?

Instagram estimate that the average user misses 70% of their friends’ content. Implementing an algorithm will help address this balance, while still maintaining a positive degree of chaos. Many will remember the updates to Facebook’s methods, and the major criticism that followed. However, with a billion clicks per day, it’s hard to argue against them.


It will be curious to see if other visual social media channels can close the gap. Pinterest is a growing platform, and while it remains significantly behind Instagram in terms of user numbers, the platform holds increasing value – especially for advertisers and marketers, with almost half of all re-pins coming over six months since content is first posted. Perhaps, in this sense, we see the value of Instagram’s move – it makes content more evergreen, and in doing so, removes a major tool from a growing competitor.

What do you think of the changes?