March 16, 2016Published by: Drew Benvie

Instagram changes its time stamps and announces a personalised feed

In the last week, Instagram ushered in a seemingly small tweak to its content layout, where the trademark age stamps were replaced with far less visible date footers. The old version, as you will no doubt remember, displayed the date stamp top right of the photo or video, in hours, days or weeks depending on age. This is still visible if you look at Instagram on your laptop or computer. However from the Instagram app, you will now see the precise date, rather than the age of the content, and it appears in a barely visible pale grey text below the content and below all comments and likes. It's clear that the age of the content is intended to be less relevant to Instagram moving forward.

In addition to this, the news broke last night that Instagram intends to swap its current chronological ordering of user content, in favour of the Facebook-style personalised feed, where content is ordered based on a number of factors such as what's popular in context to the user. This tends to go hand in hand with a more sophisticated advertising platform, where content can be boosted to aid visibility, amongst other things.

Instagram says on its blog:

To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most. If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in.

And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it. We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months.

What will this mean for your Instagram content strategy? What we saw when Facebook made this move is that there is a need to be engaging with your content, otherwise your audience just wont see it at all. A lot of Instagram accounts that post if anything too regularly will suffer. The good news however is that boosted content should help you access hard to reach audiences. Happy days.

* Update, 17th March 2016: Twitter has quietly rolled out a personalised feed for all users, mimicking this announcement from Instagram and the Facebook model. This article on the news by TNW shows how you can turn off the algorhythm, so that you can switch back to chronological content if that's what you prefer.


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