Instagram is updating its algorithm to favor original content: What you need to know

Instagram is one of the top social media platforms used by influencers and brands. According to a Media Kix global marketing survey, 89% of marketers chose Instagram as the platform that is most strategically important to their marketing strategy. Instagram is aware that promotional content and ads are becoming more commonplace on its platform, which is why it’s been making moves to favor more original and bespoke content on the platform.

Just last week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram is going to update how it ranks and presents content on the platform, favoring more original content over promotions. According to Mosseri, “If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you are resharing something that you found from someone else. [As such] we’re going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content.”

So what does this mean for influencers and brands?

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It’s still unclear, but Mosseri clarified a number of key points that should be noted. For instance, content that was edited outside of Instagram, i.e. with external editing and design tools, won’t be demoted according to Instagram’s algorithm. This doesn’t include content that was created on TikTok and then re-shared in Instagram’s Reels. So any content that has visible logos or watermarks will be downranked in Reels, but content edited or created by other means won’t be penalized. 

Instagram will start to penalize what are known as “content aggregators”, or those that repost or share content as opposed to generating their own original content. The platform’s algorithms are starting to inspect content to examine its originality. As put by Mosseri, “We build classifiers to predict how *likely* something is to be original, but that’s not knowing. We look at things like who’s in the video, and if we’ve seen the video before.” Instagram will also look at the posting history to examine if the user is a regular content aggregator or not. 

While the new limitations of Instagram’s original content strategy may seem daunting to brands and creators at first, it will actually be in their favor in the long run because it could help improve their engagement by taking it away from reposting content aggregators. Where it could have an impact on brands is this user-generated content (UGC), such as reposting customer updates, posts and recommendations. However, the originality algorithm is just starting to take shape, so Instagram may address this aspect, which could backfire for brands looking to strengthen their social proof and community validations. 

Despite the strategic shift from Instagram, brands and creators will still likely favor the platform for their posting purposes – so don’t waste time and start creating original content today!