My take on the Instagram newsfeed changes

image via @mrgan 

image via @mrgan 

Yes, Instagram is changing the order in which it shows us posts from the people we follow. No, that does not mean it's going to stop showing your posts to people! 

Sadly, we're in the middle if a serious hivemind situation right now. Nobody is taking the time to even think about what's going on, and they're just blindly reposting stuff because they've seen it a couple other times on their feed. 

Let's slow down and use our brains for a second: Instagram engagement is down across the board (and we'll get into that later), so why would they do something that would make engagement worse? And the way everyone is insisting all their followers turn on post notifications, you'd think Instagram is going to stop showing posts altogether. Really think about it for a second. Does Instagram benefit in any way from any of that? The answer is obviously no. 

Now of course you can argue and say "but John, you twat, what if they go the Facebook route and make us pay to show our posts to peoples?!?" and yes I suppose that could happen at some point down the road, but that isn't what's happening now.

So lets chat about engagement.

Hot dogs or legs? Happy #NationalHotDogDay guys! 👟👟 #hotdogsorlegs #thelegcollection

A photo posted by JohnSpannos® (@vilonious) on

Dang 🔪 #canigetahand

A photo posted by JohnSpannos® (@vilonious) on

As you can see above, 6 months ago I used to get, on average, 1,200 likes per post. Today I'm lucky to break 500. I know that people aren't scrolling past me in their feed because when I post a video, it doesn't even get 1,000 views. So that means that of my 35,000 followers, less than 4% of them are actually seeing my posts. And I am not the only one. Overall engagement since September 2015 has dropped more than 20% globally. Why is that? Well there are 2 reasons:

First: There has been a huge influx of new users. Over 400 million in the last 12 months. That's a lot of people cluttering up your newsfeed.

Second: People are following too many people. A vast majority of users have had their accounts for several years now, and over those years, they've followed a lot of people. Chances are you follow more people now than you did a year ago, right? But you probably don't spend any more time scrolling through Instagram do you? Meaning, you're probably missing a pretty good amount of what people are posting to begin with. 

According to Instagram the number of posts you miss on average is 70%. That's a lot.

Let's get into some dirt here. I don't think it's a secret at this point that Instagram has an in-house brand team, where they work with brands to create content that will engage with consumers. Sometimes brands hire popular users to help promote their products, and those users get paid a hefty amount of money to make sponsored posts. Now if Instagram wanted to become the middle man in that business, and connect brands to the users that are right for them (and I'm speaking totally hypothetically here, I am not saying this is actually happening, I'm just using my brain and putting 2 and 2 together), wouldn't it be in everyone's best interest to have those users engagement be as high as possible so everyone involved can make more money?

Now let's circle back to the discussion at hand, is Instagram going to ruin your experience by rearranging the order in which is shows you posts from the people you follow? Honestly, I don't think so. Personally, I think everyone will see a bump in engagement. Worst case scenario, I think it will stay the same. I don't foresee a drop in engagement anywhere. So stop telling people to turn on post notifications.

A quick note on post notifications by the way: They're annoying. They pop up on your phone like an unwanted text message and I promise people will turn them off anyways. And if Instagram is going to hide your posts on the newsfeed anyways, how are post notifications even going to help? You want people to search for you, look up your most recent post, and then interact with it? That's not happening. Get over it.

In summary, Instagram isn't hiding anybody's posts, so stop freaking out. They're just putting them in an order that will be unique and (hopefully) pleasant and relevant for each user. So stop worrying. Keep making awesome, original content, and Instagram will keep on being fun for everybody.