Moving with the Insta-Rhythm: What Instagram’s Changes Mean for its Users

Instagram has been a hot topic lately with platform updates that are shaking up the social world. Its most recent installment? An algorithm-based news feed. Every day it becomes more evident that Instagram is mirroring its big-sister brand, Facebook. It started with a sponsored ad every once in a while to ads appearing every third or fourth picture. Now the platform has completely renovated its news feed and time-tracking methods. Although Instagram is certainly making wise business decisions by following suit with Facebook, could these changes be driving users away from the platform?

Why the Public’s Not Feeling It
Instagram’s “new and improved” news feed algorithm is sparking a lot of controversy among users who’ve enjoyed the platform’s simple interface. Some users believe the algorithm is a way for the platform to increase ad placement. For example, if Instagram is announcing it can alter the order of news feeds based on user interests, it will most likely sell space at an increased price to advertisers. This gives advertisers access to the top of their target audience’s news feed. Increased ad placement will affect Instagram’s engagement stratgey, transforming a network that was once dedicated to  #organicvibes to another pay-to-play platform. A channel that once showed posts of individuals and brands chosen by the user is now pushing sales through personal feeds to an un-wanting audience. 

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Organic Engagement  #TBT
The beauty of Instagram is that underdog brands, businesses and individuals can reach users organically and creatively. By posting enticing and cutting-edge grams, these Instagram pros have been able to gain #instafame and build communities of willing and engaged followers. Instagram is now putting the knife in organic engagement, saying “no more” with its news feed algorithm. Instead, influencers and businesses are being told that followers come with a price tag. Businesses beware—the Insta-game has switched focus from filters to finances.

The Future of Instagram
Although all of this may sound like a reason to riot, it isn’t. As digital marketers, we understand the mutual (yes, mutual) benefit this will provide Instagram and its users. As marketing professionals, our main goal is to bridge the gap between users and the respectable brands that fit their lifestyle. Facebook’s implementation of customized news feeds has proven to perform exceptionally well with an algorithm that guides users to businesses that match their interests. Using this method, industries and people have been able to establish better relationships because they are based on commonalities. This innovation, although disruptive, is designed to enhance the user experience by gaining a better understanding of likes, dislikes and anticipating what audiences want to see more of.

So, what is to be said about this #instacrisis? Algorithm-based platforms (started by Google) are revolutionizing the way we interact online. As experts in digital, we embrace the change and look with optimistic eyes toward the expansion of social networks. This is a huge opportunity to build better connections, but will your brand be able to break through to the top?

Netflix and No Chill

Service Provider Becomes a $32-Billion Company through Content Marketing

Yes, you read that correctly. Netflix has become a billion-dollar company, making it one of the largest video-streaming service providers in the world. Netflix’s success can be attributed not only to the brand’s quirky sense of humor, but also its content marketing strategy. The company has mastered the approach of delivering tailored content to its users—an audience of more than 60 million subscribers around the globe.

Unlike advertising, content marketing is designed to pull audiences in, rather than force information on them. Instead of focusing on the sale of a product or service, this approach helps audiences reach a decision through provided content such as blogs, infographics, white papers, eBooks, videos and more. Here are the five ways Netflix used content marketing to take over the video-rental industry and become the video streaming and production giant it is today.

1. Serving Catered Content

Every Netflix homepage is different based upon user preferences. The company focuses on consumer personalization and “treats every situation as an opportunity to present the right content to each of [their] 57 million members” (Netflix). Netflix’s software quickly analyzes each subscriber using an algorithm, and recommends movies and TV shows based on this data.

For example, do you have a passion for gangster flicks? No problem. Netflix will find movies based on this knowledge and recommend more of what you love. This tactic keeps users engaged by targeting them with the right content while further enhancing user experience. Pictured below is an example of a customized homepage (the “Recommended for You” section) a user sees upon entering Netflix.

Netflix customizes every user experience

2. Being a Content Powerhouse

It’s no coincidence that Netflix aligns their content strategy with promoting new TV shows and movies. The once DVD-rental service started generating original content, in the form of blogs and even newspaper editorials, to build momentum for upcoming TV shows and movies.

For example, when promoting the original series “Orange is the New Black,” Netflix went straight to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper featured a 1,500 word editorial titled, “Woman Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work,” to draw new viewers to the original series. Netflix uses this content marketing tactic to drive excitement about its services, while not appearing overly self-promotional.

3.  #KickAss Social Presence

If you haven’t checked out Netflix’s social media accounts, I highly suggest you do. Netflix does an excellent job at keeping users informed about upcoming movies and TV shows, while injecting contemporary trends into every post.

For instance, Netflix cleverly crafted a post addressing Facebook’s new reaction feature on its platform. The post was well received, earning more than 15,000 views and 700 likes. The strategy of combining topical, relevant posts and company updates continuously evolves Netflix’s kickass social presence.

Netflix has an awesome social media presence

4. Convenience is King

Netflix has not only survived the on-demand economy, it’s managed to flourish in it. Who makes up this on-demand economy? Tech companies that offer answers to consumer demand by means of immediate fulfillment of goods or services (think Uber, Blue Apron and Airbnb).

Netflix started out as a DVD-delivery service and eventually moved its way through the market when it saw an opportunity no other company was capitalizing on: renting movies without leaving the house. Netflix’s easy-to-use service and Blockbuster’s inability to adapt caused Blockbuster to epically fail. Needless to say, Netflix came out ahead.

5. Netflix and Chill, Anywhere

Netflix subscribers can watch videos on virtually any type of device. From Blu-ray players, PCs and smart phones to gaming consoles and tablets, Netflix is responsive on almost any device. The company adapts to viewer’s needs by offering many viewing options. This not only enhances user experience, but it also makes the service available to a larger audience.

What can marketers learn from Netflix? An effective content marketing strategy accompanied by personalization and data pays off. Netflix doesn’t need to have a huge advertising budget. Rather, the company focuses on creating an excellent user experience by collecting user analytics.  The company has mastered the approach of delivering tailored content to its users- an audience of more than 60 million subscribers around the globe.