By Melony Roy

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A lot of Instagram users are not happy about the company’s plan to roll out a Facebook-like algorithm for its photo and video feed. Brands are getting nervous too.

Brands active on Instagram are bracing for a possible dip in organic reach many experienced when Facebook changed its algorithm, fearing they will now have to pay to be seen on the service. But Instagram says users only see 30% of posts and the algorithm is to show people more of the content they want to see.

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“For brands that are already creating quality content this is really good news,” said Brendan Lowry, Marketing Director for Philly-based visual analytics firm Curalate. “We may even see that engagement increases for those specific brands because their content is not getting buried among a sea of selfies and sunsets”

Unlike what happened when Facebook changed its algorithm for brand Pages, Lowry doesn’t see it not becoming a pay to play situation on Instagram.

“If brands continue to focus on understanding their audience and continue to build and make great content, they’re not going to be priced out of reaching their audience on Instagram,” he says.

What impact the changes will have is still unknown, but Lowry says brands need to understand great content is more than just a high quality photo.

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“It’s really about being relevant, getting a sense of who your community is,” he says, “but more importantly measuring what is happening when you share content so if you can understand what images are performing best you’ll want to create more content based off those insights.”

Earlier this week, users were inundated with requests to turn on notifications that would allow Instagram to send the equivalent of a text message every time that account has a new post, but for now there’s no need. The algorithm is still in a testing stage and it could be weeks or months before its rolled out.

The company has announced another major change, increasing its video limit from 15 seconds to one minute starting March 30th.

 

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