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Organic reach on Instagram is dead, brands scurry to figure out the new algorithm

Instagram’s new algorithm-based model is set to cause quite a stir amongst fashion brands that rely on the social platform for free advertising and marketing.

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Blame it on the new algorithm

Instagram’s new algorithm-based model (read about it here) is set to cause quite a stir amongst fashion brands that rely on the social platform for free advertising and marketing. According to many, including Digiday, Instagram’s algorithm may very well be the end of organic reach, or the number of unique people who see each unpaid post on a site.

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While fashion brands are well known for using Instagram to interact with their fans, the end of organic reach on social media will affect any brand using the platform as a means of free marketing.

High levels of customer engagement

A 2015 Fashion Index report released by L2 showed that the more a company posted on Instagram, the more engagement they saw with their followers.

A perfect example of this is fashion house Valentino, which posted around 40 updates per week, far more than the approximate 8 per week uploaded by other apparel brands. The influx of updates and posts worked, because 10% of Valentino’s 6.3 million followers engaged in conversation, a number higher than any other fashion brand. Seeing Valentino’s success, other fashion houses increased their own social media presence and between October 2014 and October 2015, other fashion brands increased their posts to 10 per week.

Quantity goes out the window

Unfortunately for brands who have learned from Valentino and the fashion set, quality is now much more important than quantity when it comes to uploads.

Kyle Wong, CEO of Pixlee, explains, “Instagram’s new algorithm feed puts an emphasis on quality of content, not quantity of content.

Brands will have to prioritize strategies that maximize their relevance and engagement rates rather than pure following and reach.”

Learn your audience

In other words, brands have to start researching their audiences and planning the perfect posts before they upload anything.

“Understanding who your audience is will be huge,” said Kate Hodes of the agency Huge. “That information is limited right now, so more vendors will come out with the ability to help with that.”

Expect to see more and more companies offering research and insight into brand loyalty and audiences. All brands will need to learn what their particular audience is most responsive to, and what uploads will create the most audience engagement.

Influencers be influencin’

For many, this will mean focusing on the types of posts that rank highest in engagement – product-related uploads, celebrity-generated content, and user-generated content. Brands will need to identify their top Instagram influencers (which you can read more about here), and work with them to pinpoint their shared target audience.

“In theory, the algorithm should be beneficial to influencers because they produce great content that an algorithm should prioritize,” Wong said. “They’re able to attract passionate followings and deliver more personal messages.”

Influencer marketing is going to gain in popularity because it serves as a substitution for in-your-face paid ads. Plus, according to research done by Experticity, influencer recommendations actually carry 22 times the power of suggestion than a recommendation from an everyday customer. To take advantage of the new algorithm, strong relationships with social media accounts with cult followings are going to take the place of multiple brand posts per day.

Instagram’s new algorithm may be the end of organic reach, but brands can easily learn to adapt and continue to gain followers and fans.

#AdaptingToTheAlgorithm

Staff Writer, Abigail White is a wordsmith who hails from the Deep South, having graduated with a degree in Journalism from Auburn University. She is usually reading three books at once, loves history, sarcasm, and arguing over the Oxford comma.

Social Media

There’s a subreddit that is literally moving the stock market

(SOCIAL MEDIA) “You can’t change the world on Reddit all day.” Hm. Wanna bet? Some people do bet on whether a stock will rise or fall on Reddit.

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Stock market

I don’t gamble. RIP to Mister Kenny Rogers, but this whole folding, holding, walking, running business is bad for my heart.

So playing the stock market is out for me, but apparently, you don’t even need an accountant to place your bets? The good, if foul mouthed, people of r/WSB aren’t just proving that, their playing and paying outside the traditional trading room is actually moving markets!

The subreddit, full name r/wallstreetbets, is 900,000 users strong, and boasts members that have been involved for years. They show off their stock market wins, losses, jokes, and opinions with varying levels of insight on all contributions.

Ordinarily, this’d just be an interesting collection of folks talking stock, but some of their threads have been shown to have an effect on share prices!

Users don’t just share what and how they’ve traded, they also gamble on what stock prices will do, without actually purchasing or selling any. Options contracts allow users to cast lots for less cash, while retaining the power to show actual purchases as hotter or colder and literally moving the temperature dial on them by word of mouth (and possibly pure conjecture) alone.

So I could hop in, put a marginal amount of money down, and say ‘Stock in Pressure Valve Company X is going to go up since more people are buying bidets in the wake of the Corona-based toilet paper hoarders, and they’re a key component’, then pepper in some off-color jokes about personal hygiene and everyone’s moms to blend in, and potentially wait to collect!

Neat.

After all, not only are surges of humans looking at these bets, web algorithms and cookie crawlers are staring too. It’s chatrooms of the dotcom boom all over again, except more chaotic, more gif-laden, and more monitored by outside forces.

It’d be sinister if the vibe of the sub wasn’t ‘Take literally nothing seriously’. Try discussing ‘chicken tendies’ in a boardroom sometime and see what I mean…although the tide on that might be shifting as well.

The one forbidden thing here is actually using the forum for insider trading. Directly profiting from the rumors gets users exiled, and gets users interacting with them booted too.

Serious business actually DOES occur, who would have thought? I wouldn’t have. Which is why I don’t gamble.

It’s easy to write Reddit off as just an online echo chamber slash cesspool, but when it comes down to it, the American Psychos of the world are on the same internet as the basement-dwellers, and the gap in financial literacy between the two ends of the spectrum is pulling a reverse Pangea.

We need to start recognizing that.

I’m still staying away from 4Chan though.

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Social Media

Facebook messenger gets a major facelift for speed

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook messenger has been around a loooooong time and has started to suffer from build bloat. So the new project lightspeed has redesigned it.

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If you’ve ever spent time in an old-school, family-built home, then you have an idea of what the inner workings of the Facebook Messenger app look like. It began with just a few rooms, but as the needs of the family grew, they kept adding on rooms wherever they fit until the layout no longer made sense and the home became a bloated maze.

Facebook Messenger has been suffering growing pains ever since it branched off into its own app in 2011. As the app became more popular developers worked to make it more engaging by adding new features like stickers, GIFS, and video calls.

At some point, they realized that the app had gotten away from them. The Facebook Messenger currently on your device has move 1.7 million lines of code. An app that big is slow and takes up a ton of valuable space on users devices, so the team knew it was time for a change. The project became internally as Project LightSpeed.

Facebook Messenger is a valuable app for connecting with friends, family, and business connections across the globe. You don’t even need to be Facebook friends with someone to message them making it an invaluable tool for long-distance teams or new business connections. In recent years, the app has begun to slow down making it vulnerable to competitors like WhatsApp.

The development team’s goal for the new app was to make it small, fast, and simple. In order to achieve this Facebook’s team of engineers has reduced the core code by 84%, taking the original 1.7 million lines of code down to 360,000. The new app will be about a quarter of the size of the current app.

A smaller app will load quicker and be more responsive, even if you’re using an older device or you’re in an area with lower connectivity. Current tests put the new app as being twice as fast as the current version, while keeping all the features that users have come to expect. Don’t worry, you will still be able to send your friends stickers, pictures, and obnoxious amounts of GIFs.

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Facebook wants to hear from you. Literally. For innocent reasons

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As if Facebook didn’t already own everything that is you, they are asking to hear you say a specific phrase for their new voice services.

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Good news, Facebook is now offering to pay you to let strangers listen to you! Well, kind of.

Users connect to Viewpoints – a different app under the Facebook umbrella – which allows them to participate in market research. In this case, participants repeat the phrase “Hey Portal, call,” followed by the name of a Facebook friend, and submit the recording. The whole ordeal is about five minutes, tops.

By finishing this and other tasks, participants can expect to make a grand total of…$5. It’s not much, but at least that’s a fancy cup of coffee for work you can do while waiting for the ads to finish on your TV show.

So, why is Facebook shelling out $5 for people to make voice recordings? Surprisingly, it’s because AI is not nearly as smart as we sometimes assume – especially when it comes to voice commands. There’s a whole host of things that go into how we communicate, like posture, tone and even slang, which can make understanding vocal commands a much bigger ordeal.

In order to make improvements to the system, it often requires teams of humans putting in the leg-work. This means studying the disconnect between humans and machines, as well as creating solutions. Unfortunately, this human touch is also the excuse companies like Amazon use to justify listening in on your conversations. (Sure, users can ‘opt out’ but come on. That’s not exactly something Amazon advertises.)

As more people grow aware of the potential breach of privacy that tech like Alexa or Portal can bring, however, it’s put pressure on companies to scale back. Which is where Facebook’s new paid survey comes in. Unlike an anonymous employee listening in on a random Portal conversation, this way participants opt in, rather than out, of having their information shared.

The academic in me is slightly skeptical. There’s only so far a paid study like this can get, especially when it comes to the nuances of voice command. The conspiracy theorist in me is also skeptical, mostly because although Facebook promises they won’t sell your information or publicly share it, there’s still plenty of nefarious things to be done. That said, at the end of the day, at least Facebook isn’t just swiping information off your Portal…and you even get some pocket change in exchange.

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