In an effort to make the Instagram user experience more personalized, the photo-sharing platform has updated the algorithm for its Explore tab. Previously, a quick tap on the Explore tab would summon the platform’s most popular posts (usually the supermodel-esque selfies and adorable cat photos that had racked up the greatest number of likes) for all Instagrammers. As of last week, however, the tables have turned.
The app’s Explore tab now offers personalized recommendations for each user. These recommendations are based on the photos and videos their friends have most recently liked, plus the Instagram community’s most popular photos. While the customization is new, the basics are not – the Explore tab still shows 21 photos and videos from public users only (sorry, private users!) and is updated regularly, based on the trends within the Instagram community. And, of course, users are still able to find for new content and new users to follow by searching by username and hashtag. These changes have only been made to the Explore tab and won’t affect the app’s home feed, which still displays photos and videos from users in the order in which they were posted.
What does this mean for you? Whether you’re an individual Instagrammer or representing a brand on the platform, it seems to be a good thing, at least according to some folks.
The algorithm change could make your content easier to find. If you’re using the app to share personal photos and videos, your friends and their friends could find your content because you fall within their social graph. If you’re more of a photojournalist, this shift could attract new followers by sharing your photos (even those with a smaller number of likes) with users who are interested in your subject matter, based on their social network and interests. And for brands, this is a much improved way to connect and share branded content with followers and extend that reach to their friends.
Plus, with just 20 other photos with which to “compete,” each photo (and user) instantly becomes easier to digest, appreciate, and explore further on Instagram’s Explore tab. It’s unclear how many people are using the tab currently, but this will hopefully make it more user-friendly, whether those users are individuals or brands. What do you think of the algorithm change? Will this make you more or less likely to tap over to the Explore tab in the future?
This post originally appeared on the Advertising Week Social Club here.