If you run a Star Wars art page and have noticed a precipitous drop in your organic reach, it is due to a recent algorithm change the company made to encourage people like you to pay.
What you may have noticed in the weeks leading up to this change was a nice little message on your IG account encouraging you to switch over to a Business Profile if you hadn’t done so already. Business Profiles allow you to take advantage of Instagram’s paid advertising offering which can significantly increase your overall presence and number of interactions you receive on your posts. This seems like a nice offering, but when you pair it with the fact that the new Instagram algorithm severely decreases your overall organic reach on your posts, you get a very different picture.
If we go back in time, a similar thing happened on Facebook. Pages that had a thriving community and high interaction rates suddenly saw their numbers plummet to around 10% of their organic reach. This change was put in place to ‘encourage’ page and business owners to start using Facebook’s paid ads. Since then, it has only gotten worse for Facebook page owners. They now routinely see their organic posts reaching approximately 2% of their organic page fans unless a post is particularly hot and reaches an interaction threshold within that initial 2% of organic reach. IG users can expect to see this same trend now that the almighty algorithm has been implemented.
Where Instagram users will suffer more than Facebook users with this change is in the content sharing department. Instagram doesn’t have an organic sharing tool like Facebook does, which means content that is shared on IG through the Repost app or any other method will not have a direct positive impact on the initial post or page that it was shared from. On Facebook, when content is shared, it can be shared in a way that directly benefits the original post and page. This is why you see shared Facebook posts that have upwards of 500,000 likes from a page that is relatively unknown. The interactions and likes on that share are attributed back to the original post and have a positive impact on that page’s overall reach and brand awareness. now that this new algorithm has been implemented and organic reach has been torpedoed, IG users should be pushing the developers to implement an organic sharing tool so users and pages can get proper credit for their work.
With Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012, this change was basically inevitable. Facebook has proven to be the most valuable social media outlet when it comes to advertising dollars and brand importance, and they are looking to move Instagram in the same direction. People have been able to create Instagram ads for a while now, but it seems like Facebook is now ready to make a full push for advertising dollars on the platform by nudging users towards paid promotions to increase reach and interactions.
For those interested in the advertising tools that IG is now clearly pushing for you to use, you need look no further than a post on your Business Profile. Find a post that you like and want to spend money on, open it up and the handy dandy promote button is right there under the image and will walk you through your entire ad set up.
For those that are unwilling to make the shift to pay to play, you need to really engage your audience and encourage them to like and comment on your posts. Earlier in this post I mentioned an ‘interaction threshold’ and this is the key to survival in the new world. Posts that have high interaction rates within their first organic serving will automatically be served to more people. If you can engage your audience and get the people that are within the first 10% of your organic audience to like, comment, and tag others, your posts will still be able to reach a substantial number of people, but if you struggle to pull in interactions immediately, you are unlikely to see your reach move beyond the initial offering. You can help yourself out a little by using proper hashtags and tagging people you know will interact and tag others.
Needless to say, it has been a rough couple weeks for the Instagram Star Wars artist community, a community that we love and try to lift up at every moment we can. Can I say that things will get better? No, and they will almost assuredly get a little worse. This round of organic reach reductions is likely only the first of more to come. But, there is one thing we can do. We can come together as a community to appreciate people’s hard work and vision, bring awareness to the people out there who deserve it, and make sure that everyone who should be seen is seen.