Business Technology

Sunday 23 October 2016

Why your Instagram feed is now out of order

Cara McGoogan

Published 07/06/2016 | 07:57

New Instagram logo
New Instagram logo

Instagram has changed its feed to show users the photos it thinks they want to see rather than those most recently posted. 

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The change, which was announced in March and is now live, uses an algorithm to organise posts instead of displaying them chronologically. Its launch comes in spite of an outcry from users who feared that they would miss out on having their photos seen. 

Instagram has been testing the new order, which is similar to Facebook's news feed, for the last couple of months, and found users like more photos and comment on a greater number of them in the non-chronological feed. It claims to have initiated the change to help users keep up with the volume of photos shared to their feeds every day.

"On average, people miss 70 per cent of their feeds," said a spokesman for Instagram. "It's become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share as Instagram has grown

"You’ll see this new experience as we roll it out over the coming month. We’re going to keep improving over time to help make Instagram even better."

Instagram users have doubled to 400 million in the last two years, which has made feeds increasingly crowded as users follow more accounts. The Facebook-owned social network assures its users that the switch-up will help them stay up to date with posts, even when the people they follow are in different time zones.

Unlike Twitter, which introduced an algorithmic timeline last month, where users can switch back to a chronological timeline in settings, Instagram users cannot keep their time-ordered feeds. 

Shortly after the change was announced, Instagram users, including British popstar Ellie Goulding and American actress Ashley Tisdale, begged their followers to turn on notifications for their posts. 

Rather than forcing users to be inundated with notifications, the update is designed to make your feeds more refined by curating the photos worth seeing. 

How to make sure your photos are still seen 

The algorithm behind the new timeline determines the posts to place at the top of a user's feed based on the likelihood of their interest in it, relationship with the poster and its timeliness. 

At the moment, Instagram will still show you all the photos shared, but in a different order. This could change as the company improves and tweaks the algorithm, 

It has not revealed exactly how it selects which posts to display at the top of your feed, but it probably works in the same way as Facebook's, which boosts content that has a lot of likes, comments and shares. 

Posting great images that your followers will want to engage with is therefore the best way to make sure they're seen. When taking a picture for Instagram don't overcrowd the shot, think about the lighting, and make sure the photo's in focus.

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