Facebook is Ruining Instagram

Below is an explanation of the latest from Instagram and where I think it will be going in the near future. To summarize, Instagram has begun to roll out Business Accounts (similar to Facebook Pages) and I believe that soon it will cause us to spend more money once our accounts are switched (if / when it happens).

As you are aware, Facebook owns Instagram and has been slowly integrating monetization into the platform. It is my belief that Instagram is now looking to limit the performance of content from businesses to encourage them (businesses) to spend more money.

The rollout has looked like this:

First, limited advertising became available to businesses where access was rolled out over the course of months. Ads had to be created through Facebook's Power Editor / Ads Manager and promoted ("boosted") posts were unavailable. Today, all ad accounts associated with Facebook have access to Instagram adverts. 

Their next step was to restructure the timeline. 

Within Instagram's most recent update, we are now presented with a "weighted timeline," where content that the user is *most* interested in appears first. This has already resulted in decreased engagement across the platform. (This is an interesting result of the update, but I believe this is also a reflection of a lower app usage rate overall).

Now that the timeline has been restructured and advertising access is ubiquitous, Instagram has begun to introduce Instagram Business Pages. Recently, I was given access to it via my personal Instagram account, which I elected to change my personal account to so that I could better understand what may be required for our larger accounts in the future. 

Positives: 

  • Built in analytics per post (Impressions / reach / engagement)
  • Page analytics ( impressions / reach / demographics / average fan activity per day)
  • Ability to view content based on performance 
  • Ability to "Promote" posts in app - However, it appears that these promotions duplicate as a new advertisement and DO NOT affect the performance of the original post. 

Potential Negatives (I'll put money on this)

  • Overall reach will be restricted much like Facebook pages are today. (Too early to tell)
  • Each promoted post will still look like an Instagram Ad (with the button that links out). Not necessarily bad, but it's not like a boosted post would be on Facebook

It remains to be seen what effects this new phase of Instagram will have on our accounts, but I thought that it would be worth keeping you all in the know. In short, I don't think any of these changes are particularly surprising, but I do think they will change the way we use the platform. 

My advice, for now, would be to hold off updating to the Business Accounts for as long as we can!

- I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this.