Before Facebook bought it, it was an amazing platform where you could get instant feedback from your peers who were in the same or related industry as yourself, they used to show content based on recently posted by anybody, the organic reach was amazing.
But then facebook came in and changed things up, they pushed "recently posted content" -- almost out of view and instead decided to primarily show content based on popularity. Popularity from bigger accounts who have bigger audiences, more interaction and more money for increasing their reach, and hide the recent content inside a secondary tab that almost no one will click on.
My account is very small in comparison to some of my friends with more followers, but I remember in the early days the more you post the more you can reach different people from all parts of the world.
But shortly after the facebook Instagram algorithm changes, I spent roughly 1.5 years without any new followers, even though I posted regularly and interacted with other people on an occasional basis. I would be better off having a blog instead, at least I would be getting some return on my investment of time. Going from having organic reach to almost zero reach, is the very definition of de-motivational.
As a content creator and an artist, I thrive on feedback and getting my work seen by like-minded people. In an attempt to understand what happened or what I might be doing wrong, I did some research and even read some proposals from professional instagram marketers and the bottom line was that the platform algorithm had changed and that it now supposedly favored people who posted twice a day everyday. Now that’s insane, if I wanted to do a joke test I would just take a photo of my breakfast and dinner everyday and post that to see if it will have any effect on my reach.
Plus you need to get a certain amount of interaction on your posts. Now that's a lot of work especially when organic reach has been almost completely severed and also the transient nature of the stuff that you create today is already gone by tomorrow, so it’s pretty much a race to the bottom. Not to mention that it’s also a lot of work for a platform that has no loyalty to its core users of content creators and screws their content creators every chance that they get in favor of corporate greed.
On my analytics data, for every post that I make on instagram I get a less than 0.001% return of users coming to my youtube channel and I get an even less amount of people following me who aren’t using a follow and unfollow bot. Since instagram limits the amount of people you can follow to 5000, many people try to game the system by following as many accounts as they can and then unfollowing them so they can follow even more. I can’t say that I blame these people because they want to increase their followers and fall in line with the guidelines that the new and very aggressive algorithm that facebook has put into place. However on the other hand, it just leads to a culture full of disingenuous behavior.
Also, the platform to me personally, just feels very limited in the way that you have to post content. I feel like boxed in with their odd format sizing and crop points for the media that you post. I also hate vertical videos, but I understand why they utilize this format because it’s primarily a mobile product.
Originally called Burbn, it was an app that allowed users to check-in to places, post their plans and share photos, but it’s unique selling point was the photo-sharing feature, it later pivoted to focusing only on it’s photos, commenting and liking features, after it’s initial launch it had become very popular and within two and a half months, it had racked up one million users on the platform. This allowed the creators to raise even more capital funding to continue operations, however even with the injection of more capital the founders decided to keep the company really small, with less than 12 employees. Originally released in October 6, 2010, and shortly after, by March 2012 -- it had grown to 27 million users and shortly after Facebook had made an offer that the founders couldn’t refuse.
After Facebook paid $1 billion to purchase it, they quickly came in and started implementing different tactics for generating streams of income from the platform. It only makes sense since they dropped a colossal amount of money to acquire the platform in order to stop their competitor Twitter from acquiring it and so they had to justify their purchase to their shareholders.
But in my opinion and the one shared by many of my friends who used to be big IG users, facebook ultimately came in and completely destroyed the platform, it feels like this was an attempt to just eliminate their competition which was instagram, but they bought out the platform so why need to destroy it? Many of the instagram features were copied over to facebook (stories feature being on of them) and many of the disliked features from facebook have made it over to instagram, such as in-feed ads.
Facebook has always been a closed-off ecosystem. Which is one of the biggest reasons I always preferred instagram in the early days. Because on instagram your reach was not limited to only your circle of friends. However facebook has completely made it so that now your organic reach on instagram is for the most part limited to ONLY your circle of followers. How is this even possible on a platform that supposedly has 1 billion users?
Shortly after in 2018 the original founders abruptly quit the company. From reading many different articles on the topic of what led to the original founders quitting, it’s really not a mystery. Facebook came in and imposed their ideas into the Instagram platform and in effect killing the original spirit of the platform. Essentially facebook limited organic reach on purpose in order to drive users to start paying for reach, but ultimately the limits of paying for reach ultimately come down are how deep are your pockets, and at the end of the day the founders strongly disagreed with many of the ideas that Facebook had for the platform.
There are alternatives that have come up in recent years, one being Tiktok which has the organic reach that Instagram once had, however it’s not entirely clear how to achieve it (aside from limited hashtag usage) or not really clear if you are limited to discovering within only a specific geographic region on Tiktok. Another one being an app called VSCO, which has the photo features just like instagram and I think it’s only limited to photos. The final alternative being the original Facebook competitor Twitter, where the reach is not limited as much as it is on Instagram.
In conclusion, everything that has a beginning has an end and if you want to maintain your original vision then don’t sell out to the highest bidder.