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Small creators: listen up! Here’s how Instagram’s latest algorithm update will impact you.

If you’re struggling to gain traction on your content on Instagram, you’re not alone. Many small creators and businesses have been seeing a decline in organic reach, even across discoverable content formats like Instagram Reels.  The good news: this latest Instagram algorithm update is going to tackle this challenge head-on.  In mid-2024, Instagram is going to shift its focus to help smaller brands and creators get seen on the platform by rewarding those who create and share original content. 

Here’s what you need to know

Instagram’s latest algorithm update: what’s changed?

On April 30th, 2024, Instagram announced a major change to its algorithm to help creators find new audiences. This move comes amid increasing criticism from smaller creators who have been struggling to compete with larger accounts, which have been given the lion’s share of organic reach across the platform. To date, Instagram Reels have been ranked “primarily based on how an account’s followers engaged with them”. The result? Accounts with larger followings were given the highest reach opportunities.  Moving forward, Instagram is introducing a new ranking system that levels the playing field. 

Here’s how: every piece of eligible content will be shown to a small audience who Instagram predicts will like this content.  As a piece of content gains traction, it will be shown to a wider audience—creating a wave-like effect that boosts organic reach based on how engaging a piece of content is (not how many followers an account has).   But this is just one piece of the puzzle, with Instagram rolling out a stack of further changes to give small creators a leg up on Instagram:

  • Replacing reposts with original content in recommendations: If Instagram discovers two identical pieces of content on the platform, only the original post will be recommended. The platform will work hard to match content based on audio and visual signals and will only replace content in recommended placements (like the Explore and Reels feeds). 
    • Even better, Instagram will notify the original creator when content has been replaced.
  • Adding labels to reposted content to send traffic back to original creators: This label will be shown to followers of the accounting reposting content. However, this label can be removed if the original creator or reposter taps the three dots to hide it.
  • Removing content aggregators from Instagram’s recommendations: Aggregators are accounts that only repost content without making changes or additions to the original post. Now,  accounts that repost content from other creators more than ten times in the last 30 days will no longer appear in recommended content placements. 

Want to check if your account has been flagged as an aggregator? Head into your account status to find out. You can also appeal this if you feel you’ve been unfairly penalised by Instagram. 

How rewarding original content will affect smaller creators

Ultimately, this latest Instagram algorithm update is going to radically improve the chances of smaller creators reaching new audiences on the platform.  This is particularly important for Reels, with this content placement expected to offer even more value to small businesses and emerging creators on Instagram.  According to Lindsey Gamble (a LinkedIn Top Voice in Influencer Marketing and Creator Economy Expert), these updates will help to improve content attribution and may even mean a boost in followers for smaller accounts.

“Creators have already expressed frustration with the “limited” reach that Instagram currently provides. Additionally, creators are upset about their content being stolen by larger accounts, including other creators and aggregators. This can limit the performance of their original content, which can impact monetisation through the Reels bonus program and also not give them proper credit for the content.” – Lindsey Gamble 

By removing the presence of ‘meme accounts’ and aggregators in recommended content placements. It’s going to be much easier for original creators to get in front of new, high-value audiences on Instagram. Expect a boost in organic reach, an uptick in followers and potentially an increase in new customers, too! Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) took to Reels to chat about the upcoming changes, explaining that these updates will be rolling out in Summer 2024. The goal is simple: the team wants to be the best online platform for creators, and rewarding original content is key to achieving that aim.  

The takeaway? Continue to double-down on producing high-quality original content on Instagram, ensuring you’re consistently showing up with engaging Reels that will help you to gain the attention of new audiences on Instagram. 

How other platforms are prioritising original content

However, Instagram isn’t the only social media platform cracking down on reposted content.  Over at Pinterest, the platform has rolled out a new Account Claiming feature for Instagram. The goal is to help creators connect their Instagram content to Pinterest, ensuring they’re accurately attributed whenever their Instagram content is shared on Pinterest.  The best bit? Pinterest has even added a ‘follow’ button to grow your audience and analytics that give you an insight into how content is performing, too.  Over at YouTube, the team have refined their policy for “reused content”. This means that creators can now be suspended or removed from the YouTube Partner Program for sharing reused content unless they make significant changes to the piece of content.  All of these changes are welcome changes for smaller creators who have long been struggling with copycats and stolen content. In the months ahead, we expect accounts of all sizes to gain more traction with a boost in reach, views and engagement. It’s never been a better time to show up consistently with high-quality original content on social media! 

Ready to elevate your social media game?

Whether you’re struggling to keep up with the fast-paced nature of social media or simply want to devote more time to growing your business and focusing on those tasks that take place offline, here at SCS Agency we’re sure to help save you time with a structured social media strategy.

Get in touch with us today to book your session!