Instagram's figures have been steadily increasing. According to a new study, one out of every three people in the United States will use Instagram by 2020. It is the only website where people only take and post visual content and nothing else, with 400 million active users today. It's a jealously guarded walled garden (even more so than Facebook) that keeps the traffic internal by making uploading ads from third-party locations either impossible or exceedingly difficult. However, signs of fractures have begun to emerge in the last year.
Engagement rates, which have traditionally been about 4% for top brands, are slowing down; it is the secret to most advertisement revenue-based platforms. According to another report, at the end of 2015, engagements were closer to 1.76 percent for all posts (not just top brands) and as low as.84 percent. Instagram most likely realized that their core customers were satisfied with the current collection of features and didn't need any extra goodies, which makes sense. If you have so much information, the users will either miss it or get confused. After all, the platform's popularity has always been based on its simplicity.
However, Instagram's recent efforts have been almost exclusively focused on pleasing advertisers, which has had the unsettling effect of alienating the platform's photographers and users. According to a new survey, follower development is declining (from 21 percent to 16 percent and slowing down to a predicted full stop in 24 months). Furthermore, engagement with posts is down 40% from the same time last year, especially in accounts with a large number of followers (over 1,000 followers). On the surface, this means that Instagram users are less active than before.
Following the rise of TikTok, Instagram soon innovated, to use a loose word, by introducing a new feature in an effort to entice people back into using their app (pun intended). However, all they did was create a rip-off of a hugely popular app. They hopped on a bandwagon, giving up their status as trailblazers and occupying the territory of early adopters. Perhaps we would be having a better conversation if they had offered anything much superior to the TikTok forum. They did not, though. They put a premium on product distribution speed over consistency.
While attempting to incorporate modern innovation seen in other applications, they lost sight of their strengths, becoming increasingly vulnerable in the process. You may claim that they were trying to diversify, but diversification can be a source of failure if not performed properly.
In order to keep their customers active, they introduced a slew of new additions that masked the app's true nature. Instagram was, in the end, an image-centric app that revolutionized the idea of filters. The app has shifted from being image-focused to being content-focused in recent months. Rather, the app engages users via video content, especially TikTok, which users have saved and transferred to Instagram in order to increase their TikTok following. You're doing something wrong if your customers are using your website to gain momentum on another app.
Instagram's algorithms have improved, making it even more difficult for bloggers to build a following and share their content. Instagram thought it had the upper hand, but they couldn't have been more mistaken. Influencers from all over the platform frequently post to their accounts about how much they despise the latest Instagram algorithm, which causes people to be "influenced" and believe Instagram is the "bad guy." In the same way as word-of-mouth can encourage a brand or product by holding influencers satisfied, negative word-of-mouth from influencers can degrade and destroy a brand or product. In the end, receiving this kind of bad press would just make people hate the app even more.
They designed a logo and a symbol that, of course, stand out and can be recognized in any pub logo quiz, but is that really enough? If you look through the app, you'll see the branding is used in just a few places. Instagram's simplicity and clean grid format used to be its identity; now, the structure has been changed to incorporate various image sizes and a combination of video and picture content, and it no longer has that clean, crisp consistency.
They have neglected their central USP by adding too many new components. They clouded their main image sharing function by adding a chat platform, various sources of content, and multiple uploading options in an effort to keep users from leaving. When compared, Pinterest will outlast the competition because it hasn't attempted to challenge. They've been faithful to themselves, as Instagram should have done.
The positive thing about Instagram is that it doesn't have somewhere else to go. Today, no other website provides the ease of simply exchanging visual information with others. Twitter and Facebook are mostly links and email, while Snapchat is overburdened with filters, stories, and paying add-ons while appealing to a much younger demographic. It's still more of a one-on-one chat than a forum for universal sharing. The second piece of good news is that, for the time being, content on the website is curated. Advertisers who are unable to communicate via API are required to use the app and therefore generate platform-specific content (instead of mass produced programmatic advertising). They can keep or recover any of the engagement by changing their target. Finally, Instagram hasn't yet used the algorithmic feed to its advantage. It has just recently released the project with a select group of people. Over time, it should be able to strike the best balance between genuine content and ads, preventing consumers from being frustrated.
Although it can reduce earnings by reducing the number of views organic posts get, it would also enable them to charge more to attract a wider audience, similar to Facebook. While any move the platform has taken has been a calculated gamble, it is never far from collapsing under its own weight. It does and does follow in the footsteps of its larger, more powerful Facebook sibling, but it must do so with caution. It's a lot easier to lose 400 million users than it is to lose a billion, particularly if the only thing that keeps them coming back is the content's validity.
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