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Instagram: chronological feed and video, towards new flagship features in 2022!

Since the implementation of the algorithm feed in 2016, the Instagram experience has gradually become a real obstacle course for content creators on the platform. While we never thought we'd never see the famous timeline that made Instagram so successful for nearly 6 years, change is on the way ! Big news has been announced for 2022. Take a closer look.

iphone with Instagram app opened
iphone with Instagram app opened

From chronological feed to algorithm feed

For the record, at the launch of Instagram in 2010, all publications were classified in the feed in chronological order. Which meant, at the time, that if you scrolled through your home feed you would end up seeing all the posts of the people you follow. Plain and simple.

But in 2016, the network took a 360-degree turn and introduced algorithm-based feed. This new way of categorizing posts led to a drastic drop of engagement on the social network, as now posts are categorized by “interest”.  In other terms, the more you interact with an account, the more likely you are to see its publications at the top of your homepage.

On the other hand, if you don’t interact much with an account, its posts will hardly ever be displayed to you, even if you continue to follow it. Most KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) have always advocated for a return of the chronological feed, hoping to regain their former engagement. But so far, Instagram has always refused to go backwards. At least until today.

The main reason for this change is that there are more and more users on Instagram so that it became hard to keep things the way they were when the social network was launched. Adam Mosseri, the director of Instagram, recalled in June 2021 the network’s desire to keep this feed by algorithm in a blog post on the official Instagram account:

“When we first launched in 2010, Instagram was a single feed of photos in chronological order. But as more people joined and more things were shared, it became impossible for most people to see everything, let alone see all the posts they cared about. In 2016, people were missing 70% of all their posts in their feed, including nearly half of the posts from their close connections. So we developed and introduced a feed that ranked posts based on what you care about most.”

The big downfall for content creators is that they have no control over this algorithm, so from one week to the other, and even from one day to the next, their posts can reach from millions of people to just a few thousand without them being able to do anything.

At the whim of Instagram and their recommendations, KOLs must constantly adapt to capitalize on content that works, which is not always easy for them. Since this update, thousands of voices have been raised to ask for the return of the chronological feed, with no positive response from Instagram so far. This request has become even more important with the arrival of TikTok which allows, unlike Instagram, to small accounts to explode and have a very important reach and this, without having a very large community.

A new algorithm for 2022?

Big news eventually, Adam Mosseri stated in a recent post published on January 5th on his Instagram account that new features would be rolled out gradually in terms of how the feed is presented:

“We are currently testing new ways for users to have more choice and control over what they see in their feed. These tests include the ability to switch between three different views on your home screen (two of which would give you the option to see posts in chronological order):

– Home
– Favorites
– Following

If things go well, we hope to launch this feature in the first half of the year.”

Could this be the return of the chronological feed? It looks like it! So here is what these three new feed classifications correspond to:

  • Home: You can find here the Instagram behavior that exists today where posts are classified according to the algorithm of the social network. Adam Mosseri has nevertheless specified that users will be able to find more suggestions of publications, under the same model of what already exists on TikTok today with the tab “for you”.

  • Favorites: A new option will also allow you to see only the posts of your “favorite” accounts as long as you have selected them beforehand.

  • Following: With this new option, you will be able to return to the news feed in chronological order. In other words, you’ll only see the posts of all the accounts you follow sorted by date and time of publication. This option will therefore allow you to bypass Instagram’s algorithm and be able to revisit all the posts of the accounts you follow. This is great (and good) news for content creators and brands on Instagram! Indeed, if the engagement rate on Instagram is somewhat plateauing today, it could rise thanks to these new ads. In fact, via this update, the various contents could gain more visibility and will therefore, logically, generate a more important and accurate engagement.

The American content creator Natalie Lee aka @stylemesunday (104K followers on Instagram) notably shares this enthusiasm: “the comeback to the chronological order on Instagram is a good thing because for now, we feel like we’re in an echo chamber of the same things, it’s boring. It’s also really hard to get a perspective on what’s going on in a larger context. We don’t see different opinions anymore and that doesn’t really help. That’s what drew me in at first, I learned a lot. I hope it will make my life more enjoyable again,” she told Corq magazine. It is true that the algorithmic ranking by interests has somewhat diminished the inspiration that could once be found on Instagram. Let’s hope that these new ones allow us to reconnect with the golden age of the social network!

For now, these new ways of sorting the feed are still in the pilot phase but should quickly be deployed to all users. New features to watch out for, such as the full screen feed.

Instagram : focus on video!

Adam Mosseri recently declared that the Reels are not yet up to scratch, and he stated in an interview with The Verge that he was not yet completely satisfied with the format offered by Instagram. “I’m not satisfied with it yet… And let’s be honest, TikTok is ahead of the curve,” he said.

According to the results of a survey conducted by Forrester last November, 63% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 used TikTok on a weekly basis in 2021, compared to 57% for Instagram. Competition is tough in the video format and Instagram was a bit of a laggard in this format. Adam Mosseri also says: “Let’s be honest, the competition is tough right now. TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger, and there are a lot of other start-ups.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the social network owned by the Meta group wants to focus more than ever on the video format. This is one of Instagram’s main priorities, according to the short video published by its director Adam Mosseri on Twitter. The social network plans to double its focus on video, which means we can expect to see multiple new features for Reels, IGTVs and even feeds that could include more videos than posts in the future.

If you were still hesitating to take the leap into the videos format, it would seem that there is no longer any hesitation to take the step. The growth opportunities are much more attractive, as well as the average engagement rate.

Towards more transparency in 2022

Another point on which Instagram is trying to make an effort is undoubtedly transparency. As we discussed earlier, many voices have been raised over the years to denounce the often obscure functioning of Instagram’s algorithm. For a few months now, the social network has been trying to make its algorithm more transparent by explaining, in part, how it works through various blog posts published on the social platform’s official website.

This trend should carry on, and perhaps even strengthen in 2022. The social network wants users to know more about how it operates and could introduce more options to help them have more control over the services. The goal here is to make Instagram more reliable and easier to understand. Definitely one to watch.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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