The place did your folks’ Instagram posts go?

Not so long ago, Instagram was a popular app loved by many users. The social network first managed to convince young people, and then all those who gradually lost interest in Facebook.

It is clear that today the application follows the sad path of his big brother.

For what reasons? Deteriorated search for profitability, which greatly degrades the user experience; a small revolutionary innovation, “new features” that are just copies of TikTok or Snapchat features; and algorithms that show their limitations.

1.5 billion people and a lot of advertisers

First observation: there are a lot of people on Instagram. The social network no longer communicates about its number of users, but we know that through advertisements that are broadcast on the application, we can reach almost 1.5 billion people.

This is quite symbolic: on the one hand, we no longer say how many people use Instagram. But, on the other hand, the social network necessarily indicates to advertisers the number of goals they can reach.

We are witnessing a classic pattern of free digital service that wants to maximize its profitability. We attract customers first, and then we cash in, more and more. Auctions increase competition among buyers. And it works: Google and Meta are largely monopolizing online advertising budgets, along with Amazon. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, Meta generated revenue of $ 7.72 per user, while offering competitive prices to advertisers. And this is not surprising, given the pressure on users…

Degraded user experience on feeds and stories

People to reach, advertisers, significant revenue: where is the problem? Stan Schroeder publishes an article on Mashable that sums it up pretty well.

It seems that the experience of Instagram users today is so degraded that we can legitimately ask questions about the future performance of the application.

The journalist condemns excessive exposure to user advertising and the quality of proposals. While the example isn’t necessarily representative of everyone’s experience, here’s content we were able to discover by watching the feed and stories.

  • Feed: 1 post, 1 ad, 2 posts, 1 suggestion, 1 ad, 2 posts, 1 suggestion, 1 post On the first 10 contents 60% of posts for 40% of unwanted contents, be it advertisements and suggested posts.
  • Stories: 1 story, 1 ad, 2 stories, 2 ads, 2 stories, 1 ad, 1 suggestion screen from 3 people to follow. Warning for missclick !!

You may have ignored these people 10 times, but Instagram still thinks you could follow them…

Again, this is just a one-time test: all you need to do is go back to Instagram too often to replace suggestions and ads with content you’ve already seen or content social networking algorithms don’t want you to display.

A typical example of a “dark pattern”

Dark patterns are techniques designed to raise the indicator to the detriment of users. Instagram offers something particularly interesting. From now on, you no longer have direct access to switch between different versions of the feed (classic, subscriptions, favorites) by clicking on the Instagram logo when launching the application. You need to scroll lightly to activate the small arrow to the right of the logo to access other feeds.

Last March, Instagram communicated with great pomp about the return of chronological news. A way to restore power to users, who can re-explore feeds exclusively made up of the content they have subscribed to. This little limitation of the scroll is symbolic and illustrates quite well the choices made by the social network.

The relevance of the proposal shows the limits of the algorithms

Finally, the last thing: the quality of the proposal. In August 2020, Instagram launched an endless feed with suggested posts. We used to access the old account publications that followed. From now on, the scroll leads to the proposed publications. What about their relevance?

Instagram is inspired by the experience that can be had on TikTok, where the user accesses content published on accounts that he has not decided to follow. A good way to suggest posts, better understand everyone’s interests, increase usage time, attract attention … and distribute ads.

Instagram copied, but Instagram doesn’t match: just use a little TikTok’s For You feed and Instagram’s suggested feed to notice the difference in relevance between the content of the 2 apps.

We could also mention the number of reels that are just videos from TikTok… The Instagram audience is huge, but the creation is now taking place on other apps.

How to regain control of your Instagram News Feed

The fact is that Instagram doesn’t really help the user to have an optimal experience. On the other hand, the app has developed tools, sometimes unknown, to regain control of your news and improve the content you consult on a daily basis.

Is Instagram the new Facebook?

Instagram has been in trend, Instagram is becoming was. That doesn’t mean Instagram will go downhill soon. Just look at Facebook: an outdated social network, whose death everyone announces, with content whose quality often leaves something to be desired … But the platform is still, despite everything, the one that attracts the most monthly users and of course most advertisers.

Instagram has accepted the challenge of copying all the features of its competitors, all the way to pinned posts, in order to better counter them. It is clear that TikTok is still there.

Will Instagram follow Facebook’s example? That is possible. According to its basic functionality, photo sharing, the application fortunately does not suffer from any competition. But for innovation and user experience, now is the time to look elsewhere.

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