The New Instagram: What The Latest Changes Mean For You

Did your Instagram experience update this summer?

The popular social media platform, beloved up until recently for being THE place to share photos from your tropical vacation, perfectly posed pups, and the visually stunning dinner you just threw together last night, started rolling out some major changes to how your content is displayed (and what content YOU see) that are worth talking about.

You’ve likely heard (and perhaps experienced yourself) that Instagram’s emphasis has shifted toward video and recommended content (not just from accounts you follow already); Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, which owns Instagram, reported in their most recent earnings calls that currently about 15% of a user’s Feed is Recommended Content, and Meta wants to double that in the next year.

Most famously, Instagram had also been testing a full-screen vertical feed experience that many say is just Instagram trying to copy TikTok and drew the ire of droves of users, including multiple Kardashians. They’ve since backed off from this particular change, but don’t expect that to be permanent.

What does this mean for your business, which relies on social media to stay in touch with your customers and clients? These changes mean you’ll likely need to adjust the type of content you publish on Instagram. Here are a few things you can do to improve how your post is ranked on the algorithm:

  • Make sure all your videos are vertical, sized to a 9:16 ratio. Near the end of July, Instagram announced that all videos are now Reels. So, if you upload a file that’s square or in the more traditional 16:9 format, it will definitely not display as intended.
  • Publish Reels! Instagram has made it very clear that short media content is their media of choice and what scores highest with the algorithm. These 9:16 videos are your best bet for reaching NEW audiences with your social media content. At the end of Q1 2022, 20% of the time people spent on Instagram was engaging with Reels.
  • Invite engagement. It’s okay to ask questions or tell people to share with their friends. The engagement you get on a post is something the algorithm looks like when scoring that post.
  • Add those extra details. Attach a location, add Alternative Text, tag people who are in the post. All of that information helps improve your score with the algorithm.

Just a note: you should try to add Alternative Text to your images as much as possible as a matter of courtesy. This is how users who are visually impaired can get descriptions of what’s happening in the picture or video so they, too, can participate in social media.

Need help? Let us know; we are elbow-deep in social media every day.