Aishwarya Ramesh
Social Media

Grappling with Instagram's ever changing algorithm

Some view the algorithm as something that prevents content discovery rather than enabling it.

Instagram, as a platform, is constantly changing its algorithm. It came to light when beauty influencer James Charles took to the platform’s ‘Stories’ section to complain about a dip in his engagement. In his story, he mentioned that he had been consistently posting content and also engaging with his followers.

Instagram regularly updates its algorithm to ensure content visibility among users. Another reason for the constant algorithm updates is to increase the visibility of content posted regularly by creators so that they might have opportunities to monetise the same. The biggest changes to the user interface in recent times was when Instagram made a decision for content on the feed to be in non-chronological order and began hiding the number of likes on photos.

“Me as a large creator, a 75% decrease sucks and is annoying,” said Charles in his monologue, as reported by MTV Australia. “But I can still survive off of 25% engagement. However a lot of small businesses or small artists that are already struggling to get by cannot. That 75% decrease could literally be their school tuition, their food on the table for themselves or their family that month, their insurance bill, their house bill," he said.

"Users have a tendency to get bored and Instagram, as a visual platform, keeps them entertained. This is what keeps users coming back to the app," explains Shradha Agarwal, COO/head, strategy and engagement, Grapes Digital.

Shradha Agarwal
Shradha Agarwal

She adds that Instagram's strategy to shift the algorithm is a bid to quickly adapt to changes and trends that become popular among social media users. "You have to understand that there is no dearth of content creators on Instagram. A brand can work with content creators to use Instagram's targeting option to reach the desired audience and gain visibility."

According to Agarwal, Instagram's advantage is that it is technically sound and acts fast to react to market changes. She takes the example of the platform introducing 'Reels' when TikTok was banned in India. She calls it a prime example of the platform’s agility.