The Future Of Instagram As Told By The Past Of Facebook

It is not a secret that organic reach on Facebook has been in steady decline. Why you ask? The answer is money. May 18, 2012 was the infamous day when Facebook IPO’d and became publicly traded. Declines in organic reach for your Facebook posts have everything to do with the fact that every quarter Zuckerberg has to get on a phone call with investors and tell them how the company is doing and from what I understand it is not fun to tell them profits are down.

The below chart is courtesy of Convince and Convert. It’s pretty simple, as organic reach goes down, more accounts are paying for reach, more paid posts, more profits, increased stock price.

So we know that Facebook is doing everything it can to increase profits, so what does that mean for Instagram?

A little background:

In April of 2012 Facebook turned a new chapter, they no longer paid millions for an acquisition, they paid a billion (in cash and stock), specifically for Instagram. This was huge news across the industry.

For a while Facebook just let the platform grow, gaining active users and popularity. Then in 2013 the ad platform hit. At first just big companies had access to advertise on Instagram, but now pretty much anyone that has a Facebook Ad Account can advertise on Instagram.

Fast forward to March 2016, when Instagram started beta testing a new feed algorithm that will show users posts based on popularity and “other factors”, sound familiar? (It is worth noting Lars Backstrom, Engineering Manager for News Feed Ranking at Facebook, estimated that there are as many as “100,000 individual weights in the model that produces News Feed.” 1)

Instagram has started down the path of mass monetization. This should not be a surprise, Facebook paid $1 Billion for the platform, mass monetization was an obvious end goal.

What does this mean for you?

While most of these changes become a wait-and-see proposition, we can only assume, that if history repeats itself, in a relatively short time, your organic reach on Instagram will decline significantly, and you will be forced to pay for reach. Instagram’s business model essentially becomes a mirror of Facebook, which has become a money making machine.

Until then, if you see Instagram as a viable platform for your business, you need to get busy and grow your account!!!

If you need help with an Instagram strategy to grow, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary strategy session.