Instagram hates photographers

Hello all! It’s #TravelTuesday and I, Dave Williams, am here as always to bring you something interesting from the world photography. This week is no different and I want to explore an idea I’ve been mulling over a lot lately, and it’s this: –

Instagram hates photographers

Yep. There it is. We’ve all noticed changes in Instagram and the algorithm and all that ‘good stuff’ that’s come with Reels, which is clearly a way to compete with TikTok, but it’s come at the cost of engagement to us photographers. The majority of us want to share our photos and Instagram was the place to do it, but Instagram is now a place to share video. I’ll be talking a little about influencer marketing at the upcoming KelbyOne ‘Making Money’ Conference, but let me very quickly touch on it here. I used to partake in the odd bit of micro influencing work on Instagram through an agency, but since it’s now all about video content and I can’t share my photos because the algorithm doesn’t give them anywhere near as much traction as videos, I don’t use that agency often. I am still involved in influencer marketing, however it’s now direct with suppliers and brands. I often wonder what the state of Instagram would be if there was more of a focus on photos, and whether I’d be more involved in influencer marketing again.

Anyway, the point has been made there – it’s all about video. I’ve asked several people in several formats, including an open question to my followers, and the answer always provided in the question of ‘would you like to see more photo or video?’ is photo. The thing is, people are voting with their feet and watching video after video, almost binge watching at times, and this is telling Instagram quite clearly that we want video.

In terms of metrics, a good level of engagement on Instagram is 5% or above. This level of engagement is far below what mine used to be in the days of the chronological feeds and before the emergence of video on the platform, but things are changing and if we want tot keep up we need to adapt and make those changes, too. If video is the way forward, we have to get on board with it and create Reels that educate, entertain and inspire.

The three words I chose there were deliberate… There’s evidence to suggest videos that meet these criteria are the ones likely to keep people engaged and on the app, and that’s exactly what Instagram (Meta) wants. The algorithm that drives the app and decides what to show us is ultimately rooted in one thing, and one thing only – revenue. The way Instagram generates revenue is through ads, so the more ads they can show, the more revenue they make. The way they show users more ads is by keeping them engaged, and that engagement can come from your content if you play the game right. Videos are more likely to get engagement now and unfortunately for photographers that’s just a cold, hard truth. Instagram hates photographers because we no longer provide the engagement levels they want.

Think that over….

Much love

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