May 2, 2024

What Does the New IG Algorithm Update Mean for You?

Instagram won the praise of creators everywhere when they announced on April 30th that they are restructuring the algorithm to better favor original creators on the platform.

What is the New Algorithm Update?

Here is what Instagram shared with regards to the update which you can read on IG directly:

Or, you can read the recap here along with my further explanation of the various updates.

From IG's announcement

  • "Every piece of eligible content is shown to a small audience that we think will enjoy it"
  • Top performing posts in these audience subsets will get more distribution and placements
  • If two pieces of identical content are found, only the original post will get the additional distribution and placement (Explore, suggested, etc.)
  • If there is identical content found, they will REPLACE the reshared/reused content with the original piece from the original creator
  • If your content is reused, a label will be applied to their post giving you creator credit and you will receive a notification that content is being given your attribution
  • They will also punish accounts that repeatedly repost others' content (more than 10 Reels in a 30 day period)

Please note

  • These changes are primarily for Reels but I'm hoping it'll impact feed posts as well.
  • Note that if someone remixes your Reel, that is considered their "original" content so that won't apply to this rule.
  • This is for distribution to non-followers through results in Explore and in recommended posts. This should not impact how your current followers experience your content.

These changes are designed to give credit to original creators and reward smaller accounts with the reach and distribution they deserve, not rewarding large following accounts with more views.

What does this mean for YOU?

In general, this should be a good thing. It means giving you attribution for the content you've created.

It also indicates a KEY shift in that IG will intentionally share your posts (again, focused on Reels) with a select audience along with other similar content. If your content performs well in the small subset of viewers, it'll be shown to more people and so on as long as it continues to perform well.

This puts a higher weight than ever before on the POPULARITY of your posts. Reels have always had a higher weight on popularity (unlike feed and Stories) but this puts a higher value on that. It’s worth remembering too, that the popularity is still weighted based on users it's shown to, not the size of your audience.

A reminder though that this is related to discoverability for non-followers. These changes should not impact how your existing followers see and interact with your content.

What about UGC?

One of the questions I’ve gotten the most since this update is how this will impact user generated content (UGC) for brands that regularly repost other people’s content to show off their product or service.

If your Instagram account relies ONLY on UGC for content, and primarily Reels UGC, then yes, this will impact you significantly.

However, if you occasionally incorporate UGC (photos and Reels), you will be fine if you stay within the restrictions IG has outlined. They have said that if accounts that post more than 10 Reels (from other creators) within a 30-day period will be “punished” by not allowing those accounts to appear in recommendations and Explore. It does not directly mention feed posts in this restriction.

So, you can still share UGC photos and you want to keep your UGC Reels to less than 10 per month.

Also, remember, this is related to being included in those search and recommendation sections, which, yes, are vital for growth. However, if you continue to heavily use UGC, your audience will still see it, you just won’t get placed in key locations around IG for non-followers to find you.

And, another option you have is to use the Remix feature on Reels where you take the original Reel and add your own reactions or participation in the Reel, thereby making your own “original” content even though it’s UGC based. If you regularly share a lot of Reels UGC, consider incorporating more Remix Reels.

What about Instagram Stories?

Another great question but one you don’t have to stress over. Sharing to Stories always retains the original attribution and doesn’t attempt to repurpose content as your own. Stories are also primarily only shown to your existing followers so there’s no issue with these appearing in search, Explore, or recommendations.

Sharing to Stories will not punished with these changes.

Wrapping it all up! 
This is good news for most creators and brands. These changes should offer small brands more opportunity to go “viral”, to get credit for the content they’ve created, and to reach more of their ideal target audience regularly.

So get out there and create those Reels to reach those audiences!

But remember: the platform is always evolving. And even with these changes rolling out in the coming weeks, you aren’t going to all of a sudden get massive reach on all your posts. There will be ebbs and flows over time and content. Be patient. Keep creating the quality content that resonates with your audience.


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