Instagram’s Latest Changes & What It Means for Marketers

May 18, 2016

You probably noticed something a little different the last time you opened your Instagram (which, if you’re like most ‘grammers, was less than 5 minutes ago). Instagram is undergoing some major changes this year. Most recently, we’ve seen the classic camera icon replaced with something that looks like this:

As with most social platforms changes, the Internet was. not. happy. Here’s how the New York Times describes the change in an article titled “The Great Instagram Logo Freakout of 2016“:

“The popular app ditched its old-timey camera icon – the one that actually looked like a camera – and replaced it with a square symbol that evoked a camera, rendered in the vivid colors and simple lines of the “flat design” aesthetic. It was sleek, minimalistic and, according to many users, kind of basic.” 

Instagram's Latest Changes & What It Means for Marketers

Good-bye, old friend.

And this isn’t the first change for Instagram this year. The other change is MAJOR. It means a lot for marketers.

On March 15th, Instagram announced that it would be changing people’s feeds, no longer displaying images and video chronologically, but based on a proprietary algorithm (remember that Instagram is a division of Facebook). On the day that Instagram rolled out its new logo, it also started implementing its new algorithm. How sneaky of them, huh? While everyone is reacting to the logo change, Instagram implements the change that had enough people upset that a 300,000 petition was signed.

Inc. sums up the impact for marketers the best here:

“Displaying pictures algorithmically has a dramatic impact on brands and influencers (who are often the heaviest users of Instagram) – under the old model, for example, someone with a million Instagram followers knew that any image that he or she posted would appear in the feed of every one of the million who was using Instagram at the time. Under the new model, that is no longer the case. And, of course, Instagram could charge for the right to “boost posts” and appear more often – making the firm money, but undermining the profits of influencers and increasing the cost to brands.”

This change is still in testing, so only select users saw the change. However, it seems that this change will indeed be rolled out to the masses in the near future. Instagram is going in the same way as Facebook, and marketers need to be ready for it. Identify your most popular posts on Instagram, the ones with the most engagement, and figure out what made them so successful. If you’re able to capitalize on that, Instagram might just notice your content and decide to promote it in your followers’ feeds.