The year is 2022 and the world is placed in the middle of a war between platforms. The main reasons for this? Attention, retention, and creation. Over the years, we saw how Instagram dominated the social media market and how it basically became the “official” badge to determine if a person could be considered an Influencer or even a Content Creator. But, so much has changed through these last years, especially the rules of the content game.
As a strategy to keep people on the platform and value Creators, Instagram announced that they will update their ranking algorithm to benefit original content.
While this might seem to be exciting news, no details have yet been released about what in fact these updates will be, how or when we can expect any change. It’s unclear if, by “original content”, Instagram is referring to rewarding creators for originality, or to encourage the creation of more Instagram-exclusive content.
But we have some guesses about how this new update may affect marketers and content creation on the social platform. Let’s dig into that.
A war over short videos
After the COVID-19 pandemic, brands realized that, in order to keep users consuming their content, it was necessary not only to have a practical interface and create good content, but to do that in an original way that catches and maintains the attention of the audience (and they also saw that one of the best ways of doing that was working alongside creators), in order to win over the increasing number of people consuming short videos for quick entertainment.
TikTok became a huge success not only for the short video format, but also for the dynamic ways it provides to create content with reactions and collabs, and for being well aligned with the music industry.
But even with all that, Instagram still was the place to be recognized as an influencer, so the most practical thing to do was to create content with all the tools from TikTok and repost the content on Instagram. And what did Instagram do to avoid that? Limiting the organic reach of videos with watermarks from other platforms. It didn’t work out very well.
As TikTok was becoming more and more popular as time passed, Instagram decided to take another step to keep users inside the platform. It shut down IGTV. The results from that? Not much, actually.
But throughout the last year, we saw Instagram attempting to become “more TikTok”, even claiming that it was no longer a photo-sharing app.
But what do all those actions have in common? None of them are really focused on the content creators nor their experience with the platform. It was basically just doing what the competitor does and using the brand name to stay on top. But we’re not in 2018 and this strategy doesn’t work anymore.
It took almost 2 years for the brand to realize that creators are just like customers and brand promoters. If they don’t feel comfortable or if they don’t feel respected for their work, they will just leave for another platform. Finally understanding this, Instagram updated its algorithm to favor original content.
Originality is key
What can we, as marketers and content creators, expect from that? Well, we can say that it is a small step for Instagram but a huge step for the market. As per Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri: “If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you are resharing something that you found from someone else. [As such] we’re going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content.”
📣 New Features 📣— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) April 20, 2022
We’ve added new ways to tag and improved ranking:
– Product Tags
– Enhanced Tags
– Ranking for originality
Creators are so important to the future of Instagram, and we want to make sure that they are successful and get all the credit they deserve. pic.twitter.com/PP7Qa10oJr
That doesn’t mean content which was edited outside the platform before being published will be penalized, according to Mosseri, “The idea is if you made it, it’s original.” And this is also a good thermometer to see if the majority of videos are edited outside the platform, it means that Instagram’s edit tools must be improved, so we can expect some future announcements related to this new algorithm update.
For now, let’s wait for what will really change on Instagram in the near future. If the social channel is really trying to create an engaged creators community, valuing their work is a good way to start.
Don’t forget that this update can also harm a lot of accounts that have their strategies based only on User-Generated Content, especially if their followers are also posting the same content on their profiles. But we’ll have to wait for future tests and tools to have an answer.