Skip to main content

Instagram is appealing to TikTok users through a new algorithm overhaul.

As a possible TikTok ban approaches, creators are concerned about more than just their earnings. In a bid to capitalize on TikTok’s challenges, Instagram is undergoing significant changes to its recommendation algorithms. The platform’s focus will shift towards prioritizing original content, particularly on Reels, its short-form video service, to offer all creators an equal opportunity to gain visibility.

The move is seen as Instagram’s attempt to replicate TikTok’s success, especially amid uncertainties surrounding TikTok’s future, particularly in the US. However, some within the creator community question whether these changes will be effective, considering Instagram’s past approach to its Reels feature.

According to Instagram’s announcement, the platform aims to correct its previous recommendation approach, which favored accounts with larger followings and content aggregators. These changes will be gradually rolled out over the next few months.

Changing the Algorithm to Benefit Small Creators

Instagram is changing how it ranks content to give smaller creators a better chance of reaching new audiences. They will prioritize original content over reposted material and add labels linking back to the original creator. Accounts that repeatedly post unoriginal content will be excluded from recommendations. These changes aim to create a fairer platform for all creators and ensure high-quality content is promoted.

Instagram’s Algorithm Changes in 2024

As Instagram announces significant updates to its recommendation algorithms, businesses and content creators are poised for changes that could affect their reach and engagement. Historically, the platform has favored accounts with large followings and reposted content, leaving smaller creators at a disadvantage. Swell recognizes the importance of creating a level playing field for all creators and acknowledges the potential impact of these changes on businesses leveraging Instagram for marketing and brand promotion.

More Chances for Smaller Creators to Break Through

With Instagram’s new ranking system, smaller creators will have a better chance of reaching new audiences. Previously, accounts with large followings received the most reach, but now, every piece of eligible content will be shown to a small audience to gauge engagement. This approach will gradually expand the audience for top-performing content, providing smaller creators with increased visibility over time.

Rewarding Original Content

Instagram is taking steps to recognize and reward original content creators. Reposted content will be replaced with the original in recommendations, ensuring that creators receive credit and distribution for their work. Additionally, labels linking back to the original creator will be added to reposted content, maintaining transparency and attribution.

Removing Aggregators from Recommendations

To further support original content creators, Instagram will exclude accounts that repeatedly post unoriginal content from recommendations. Content aggregators, which repost content without significant enhancements, will no longer appear in recommended feeds. This change aims to discourage the proliferation of reposted material and promote diverse, high-quality content on the platform.

Implications for Businesses

These algorithm changes have significant implications for businesses leveraging Instagram for marketing and brand promotion. As the platform prioritizes original content and rewards creators based on engagement, businesses may need to adapt their content strategies to align with these shifts. Emphasizing creativity, authenticity, and engagement will be key to maintaining visibility and reach in Instagram’s evolving landscape.

Understanding Recommendations Guidelines and Eligibility

Businesses must also be mindful of Instagram’s recommendations guidelines and eligibility criteria. Certain categories of content may be ineligible for recommendations, including sensitive, low-quality, or misleading content. Adhering to these guidelines will be essential for businesses seeking to maintain a positive presence on the platform and avoid penalties for violating community standards.

The TikTok Ban Explained

TikTok might get banned in the US if its Chinese owner, ByteDance, doesn’t sell it. The app has lots of users worldwide but some people worry about how it handles user data and its ties to the Chinese government.

US lawmakers from both parties want to pass a law banning TikTok unless ByteDance sells it to a non-Chinese company. They’re concerned that the Chinese government could make ByteDance share data about TikTok’s American users, even though TikTok says it wouldn’t do that.

TikTok is predominantly owned by institutional investors, with its Chinese founder holding a 20% stake. The remaining 20% is distributed among employees worldwide. Despite concerns about its ownership, three of ByteDance’s five board members are American. While the Chinese government has dismissed worries over ownership, the US government has given ByteDance nine months to sell its US operations, with a potential ban looming after a sale deadline, likely in 2025.

The Ban’s Impact on Creators

Since TikTok gained popularity in the US in 2020, it has become a platform where creators can quickly build a following and sustain businesses through revenue-sharing programs, live streams, brand deals, and promotions. 

Beyond offering a nontraditional career path, TikTok serves as a community-building space. If banned in the US, creators fear losing not just an income stream but also a vital platform for sharing information, educating others, developing businesses, fundraising, and organizing around humanitarian issues.

If TikTok is banned, users will lose a digital community space. The US has given ByteDance nine months to sell to a US buyer or face a ban. However, enforcing a total ban poses challenges, including legal battles and public dissent. If banned, the app will disappear from app stores, making it unusable over time.

Will Instagram Catch Up?

The personalized algorithm and For You Page on TikTok have made it attractive to emerging creators seeking wider exposure.

Instagram is making changes to prevent “aggregator” accounts from being recommended to users and rewarding original creators by replacing duplicates with the original content in recommendations. The platform will also apply labels attributing original creators on reposted content to ensure they receive credit and distribution.

Despite Instagram’s efforts to emulate TikTok’s success, there are doubts about whether these changes will address the frustrations of smaller creators. Some feel that Instagram’s frequent algorithm changes have hindered their growth, leading them to seek alternatives such as LinkedIn or traditional marketing approaches.

As Instagram and other platforms adapt to compete with TikTok, the future of social media remains uncertain. While these changes may offer opportunities for creators, the ultimate success of such endeavors remains to be seen.

While these algorithm changes may present initial challenges for businesses, they also offer opportunities for innovation and creativity. By embracing originality, engaging with audiences authentically, and adhering to platform guidelines, businesses can continue to thrive in Instagram’s dynamic environment. Swell remains committed to supporting businesses in navigating these changes and maximizing their impact on social media marketing strategies.