Instagram’s algorithmic feed will officially roll out over the next month

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Your Instagram feed is officially about to change.

Instagram announced in March that it would test having an algorithm sort people’s feeds based on what they’re most likely to be interested in versus what was most recently posted. Now, Instagram will officially roll out its algorithmic feed over the next month, the Facebook-owned photo-and-video sharing service announced on Thursday.

The announcement of Instagram’s algorithm cued a freakout among people, mainly influencers and some brands, who worried that the algorithm would mean fewer of their followers would see their posts. But the opposite may actually be true.

According to Instagram, people miss 70 percent of the posts from the people they follow, which is why it opted to adopt an algorithmic feed.

So the idea is that an algorithmic feed would do a better job of showing people the photos and videos they’d be most interested in seeing each time they open Instagram — versus needing to scroll through their feeds to sift them out — and would lead to people interacting with more of those posts. And Instagram’s test of the algorithmic feed appears to bear that out.

“We found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way,” Instagram wrote in a company blog post announcing the official rollout.

Of course, there’s also a financial incentive for Instagram to adopt an algorithmic feed. Some people — particularly brands and publishers — may be so scared about Instagram’s algorithm not showing their posts to enough people that they’ll opt to pay Instagram to promote those posts as ads in order to attract more eyeballs. And if Instagram’s parent company Facebook’s experience with an algorithmic feed is any indication, eventually, brands may have little choice but to pay in order to get in front of the audience they had previously reached for free.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Tim Peterson, Third Door Media’s Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles.

He has broken stories on Snapchat’s ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar’s attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon’s ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube’s programming strategy, Facebook’s ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking’s rise; and documented digital video’s biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed’s branded video production process and Snapchat Discover’s ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands’ early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo’s and Google’s search designs and examine the NFL’s YouTube and Facebook video strategies.

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