Article

Michael Ash
Michael Ash 15 April 2016

Why Marketers Should Not Play The World's Most Dangerous Game

Despite the barrage of measurement tools and sentiment analyzers out there, marketers are just as vulnerable to shifts in human nature, as much as the consumers they cater to. The other week the internet almost broke due to the infamous Instagram algorithm update.

In a matter of 48 hours not only were people asking their followers for a favour, but so were reputable brands who thrived on organic exposure. Unfortunately, most people including Gary Vaynerchuk played the world's most dangerous game and it's called "follow the follower." There is a reason both Facebook and Instagram moved towards other forms of engagement, i.e. comments as strong social signals. It's because true following comes from the value you provide to your tribe in a walled garden.  

Whether or not "relevancy" was the real intent behind Instagram's update, remains to be seen; however, it only takes five subscriptions for users to realize how annoying it can be to receive multiple notifications per day. And it only takes a few deactivations to affect your social signals. Especially if you are a brand. Which brings me back to the world's most dangerous game. 

As gatekeepers of brands, we should be cautious of leveraging and reacting to trends. Instagram and its parent company are changing something almost every week. Shortly after the algorithm update, we saw the rise of the 60-second videos and the impressive click-through-rates of Instagram overlays for advertisements and rumours of Canvas style ads for Instagram.

The reality is, if Instagram truly wants to make your personal or corporate feed irrelevant, not even a notification can help you win that war. Besides, the real story this past week should not have been about Instagram.  It should have been about something bigger – Snapchat. The messaging software upgraded its arsenal with 2.0 and it's expected to rival Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp all at the same time, and potentially with an IPO. Having said that, WhatsApp just turned on encryption for a billion people and that's a whole other ball game.

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