With so many social media platforms to choose from, Instagram has become one of the go to platforms, with over 400,000 million monthly active users. In five years, Instagram has powered to social media success quite simply because it offers a fantastic user experience. Consumers love it because it feels real, it's beautifully simple and a rich and creative way to tell stories. The social media site is also a powerful ally for advertisers, offering them the opportunity to reach a new audience and build a community, raising awareness and even shifting perceptions. However will the news that Instagram will start personalising our feeds through a new algorithm impact this?
Instagram's decision to show content based on our relationships with other users is a nod to the social network introducing more effective and significant communications. The change would mean users won't miss big occasions in loved ones' lives, with favourite accounts appearing in the top of newsfeeds. In terms of brands, in most cases consumers will be happy to continue being targeted with relevant content by brands that they have a relationship with, so the personalised newsfeed should resonate well.
Yet this announcement has created a pressure on marketers to reconsider social media strategies. Marketers need to consider the entire ecosystem of their target audience, as content that is served up on Instagram feeds will also be based on what we engage with on Facebook and vice versa. Marketers will need to take a granular approach to their targeting process, just because a certain audience liked something on Facebook doesn't mean they would want their Instagram feeds to be full of their products. Marketing teams will have to consider the breakdown of their target audience, an 18 year old and 50 year old will engage with brands differently and they will have very diverse interests, therefore a different approach for each age group is imperative. Segmenting target audiences by age group and location for example, is a good starting point to ensure brands are driving relevant engagement with the right audiences.
The thought of creating a more personalised strategy may be intimidating, but if marketers supplement their approach by exploiting specific targeting features that are available within their social media tools, they can ensure they don't find themselves on the back foot.
Instagram boasts a sound business model and has achieved rapid user growth, it will be interesting to see how the more personalised newsfeed will serve brands and impact their user base. Not many platforms can boast such a highly engaged community and by taking a more personalised approach to content, brands can look to unlock further engagement potential.
This article was first published in The Wall Blog.