Instagram launched two new features in early December: the ability to follow specific hashtags and a “recommended for you” addition displaying posts liked by accounts users follow.
What this means for marketers: Instagram has confirmed that the placement of paid ads within users’ feeds will remain intact with these changes. That said, both updates raise new opportunities and challenges.
Posts with a followed hashtag will be seen in a user’s experience under the same algorithm as all other posts, regardless of whether a user follows the publishing account. There will be potential for brands to attract new users and improve reach organically – particularly in conjunction with breaking news or trends – albeit in an incredibly competitive organic environment. Additionally, understanding what hashtags are being followed, not just used, will enhance advertiser’s targeting capabilities.
The “recommended for you” section should prove to be a minor addition for the average user, as it only appears once all new content has been seen. This portion of the feed will not feature sponsored posts, but provide yet another space for brands to potentially increase engagement organically with an untapped audience. With competition for space on user’s feeds amplifying because of these new features, Harmelin will need to be more strategic than ever before, particularly when it comes to leveraging hashtags within copy.