I’ve heard this come out of many mouths in the last few months, mine included. With algorithms changing, system updates never ceasing and new features being added almost daily for Instagram, it’s not a shock that we are seeing differences in our followings and engagement. Though through all of the bitching and complaining and wanting “Insta to go back to normal” I have to remind ourselves that Instagram is a business.
So here’s some tough love my friends:
Instagram is not your friend.
I’m sorry, but it’s not. Though we wish it were, IG is not here to bend the knee to our every whistle and command. It’s here to make money. They 100% have their own agenda and they aren’t putting ours first. Sure, they will take our opinions and objections with a grain of salt but they are in it to make money. Just like us. No survey or petition is going to stop that.
If you’re an older account (or an account in general) I can assume that you’ve been wondering where the dip is coming from. Same here. We’ve been growing so quickly and now we’re barley crawling. Last year I saw new up and comers jump through the ranks and skyrocket in followers to only see mine slowly climb. Even in the last couple months it’s become harder and harder to grow. Same with accounts all over!
Here’s my speculation (and again it’s just speculation):
On April 9th 2012 Facebook bought out Instagram – a 13 employee company for $1 Billion dollars. They knew the younger generation was moving to the new platform because the millennials didn’t want to be on Facebook anymore because their parents were signing up and keeping tabs on them. In turn Facebook decided to buy out the younger and “hip-er” medium where teens felt more comfortable putting up the pics they wanted because they weren’t being watched. Facebook was already starting to stunt the growth of organic views for companies because too many businesses were popping up and vying for the same spots in the same feeds. Welcome “Pay to play”. Makes sense in the grand scheme of things. If you only had one company in the beginning taking up the “advertising space” on someones feed and all of a sudden you have 9 more join, the logical thing to do is to see who is willing to pay to get into that slot. Voila Facebook – make that money money. Who doesn’t want to see those higher dollar signs rolling in?
My thoughts: In the last couple years Facebook has been watching IG do the exact same thing as it’s original platform and has been pushing for it. More and more people signing up, more of the older generation coming aboard (Hello! My mom is now on Insta!), but Facebook seems to have been pretty proactive in testing out new things. Last year I watched new accounts sky rocket – as if the algorithm was favoring them. Thus making them more and more hungry for new followers, to post more on the social media platform, and getting them sucked into the vortex of how awesome IG is because of how quickly they were growing. Meanwhile older accounts were getting stale. This in turn was (and is) making the older accounts have to move towards sponsored ads to be seen. With more people “signing up” for an IG account, Facebook is just repeating itself. AKA bringing in pay to play, and you know what that means, IG/FB is now raking in more money.
Still skeptical? If it puts it into perspective: In 2012 IG had only 40 million active monthly users. Now they have over 700 million! Same idea as Facebook, IG is now getting crowded. It’s no wonder that we’re getting lower engagement with so many people duking it out for the likes and comments. That being said IG would still be growing as quickly as it has even if FB didn’t buy it out. So don’t blame Facebook here.
So please, if you are panicking or getting upset at the system please don’t. It’s just an endless cycle that will figure itself out. I’m sure another app will come around and the same thing will happen. Just remember that like you and I, we take our biz first. We think of it’s income and worth first before any others and IG is not any different. Though it is a social media platform for the people it’s still a very large stream of revenue. So next time you feel like breaking up with your best friend Insta because it’s not playing fair, just take a breath and realize that social media is not the only way to get your biz out there. You always have other options. *wink*
Please note that these are my opinions and speculations.