Hot from a Q&A hosted on Instagram Stories this week, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, has promised “Photos will always be a part of Instagram”.
And there we all were, getting ready for a full pivot from static imagery posts over to video.
Stand down marketeers, stand down.
We got some of the picture from Mosseri as he responded to a question about photographers “losing faith” in Instagram as a platform for showcasing their work. He said:
I think we were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos.
We’ve since balanced, so things like how often someone likes photos versus videos, and how often someone comments on photos versus videos, are roughly equal.
To translate that into explain-it-to-me-like-I’m-a-5-year-old; Instagram will now be using users’ content interactions to inform what content to show to them, with an aim to tailor their feeds so that people are engaging with photos (static images) as much as they’re engaging with video.
But we’ve got a hunch that users also voted with their feet in response to an increase in video “spam” in their Instagram feeds in 2022. We’ve no way of knowing for sure, but we’ve heard people talk about using Instagram less because it’s “trying to be TikTok”.
With the feed being used primarily for entertainment (an insight that came out of a survey by Instagram), a bombardment of uninteresting, boring or irrelevant content will certainly put users off. Why check a feed if you think it’ll be full of rubbish? And a potential loss of users, and less time spent in the app, will have panicked Meta into worrying about the knock-on effect on advertising revenue.
It always comes back to money.
How do we know Instagram won’t change its mind again?
Well, we don’t.
Mosseri has said that if Instagram see an uptick in engagement with video over time, it’ll be in response to data showing that this is what their users are engaging with the most.
So it all comes down to supply and demand: If users start to ask for more video, Instagram will give it to them.
What should you do next?
First up, expect your Instagram posts to perform slightly differently over the coming weeks. You may find impressions on Reels pull back, but engagement rates increase. You may also find your static image posts see a little boost in impressions, particularly amongst your followers. This could have a lovely little knock-on effect on engagement with those posts too.
Long term, continue to do what we always recommend doing: listen to what your social media performance data is telling you, and monitor how algorithm changes impact the performance of your posts. Split your efforts 80% toward doing more of what you know works, and 20% toward testing new things (or even re-testing old things).
Stay strong Social Media Managers. You’ve got this.
But if reading all that has left you feeling like you’re back to square one with your Instagram strategy, or worried about whether your plans for 2023 are still the best course of action, drop us a line and we’ll see how we can help you get your Instagram back on track.