If you go on Instagram right now, there is a good chance that while scrolling through your feed, you will see a post from many hours ago and possibly an advertisement for a website you were recently looking at.
Why does this happen? Well, here is the break down to why that is and what Instagram is doing.
In hopes of a more enjoyable experience for Instagram users, Instagram has created an algorithm to tailor the interests of the user and to organize the content of the users’ feed, including the incorporation of advertisements.
According to Hacker Noon, “to figure out how they can improve Instagram so that we spend as much time as possible on the app (so they can sell that to advertisers), they analyze our user behavior data (how we use the app) to identify what keeps us on the app for longer.”
Jenna Arend, an Instagram and Youtube personality, has insight on the new algorithm due to her previous meetings with Instagram Headquarters.
She told the Point in an interview, “One way to trigger the algorithm to is to get large accounts (bonus points if they are verified), to comment and like your posts. By doing this, your post will be pushed to more timelines of people who follow you. This is an interesting marketing and promotional scheme, that does in fact work.”
From Instagram influencers to recreational users, many people seem to wish that Instagram would switch back to what it used to be: posts in chronological order without ads. Freshman biology major Alyssa Wiggings said hat she prefers the old, chronological feed, as opposed to the new algorithm, “because you end up liking peoples photos from a long time ago instead of seeing new posts and it can be kind of annoying.”
People refresh their Instagram feeds in hopes that they will see new posts, but get irritated when they end up seeing old content. However, those who use Instagram solely to get their posts promoted seem to favor this new algorithm more.
For both small and large businesses, the new algorithm allows users to sponsor their posts so that their audience will increase and will have more users buying their products.
According to Lyfe Marketing, “Over ⅓ of Instagram users have used Instagram to purchase a product online, making them 70 percent more likely to do so than non-Instagram users.” Therefore, this new algorithm is praised by business owners because they are getting additional business.
Depending on what you are using Instagram for, either for leisure or business, the experience will be different. There are both positive and negative aspects of the algorithm, but Instagram says that they are continuing to try to improve the app by making it an enjoyable experience for all users.