Instagram Lets Us Follow Hashtags Opening Doors For Ads

This past Tuesday, Instagram officially added a new feature to their app: aside from others’ profiles, people can now follow hashtags as well.

The new option allows users who are interested in a certain topic to get in their News Feed everything other people post using that specific #hashtag – even if they don’t follow those people. However, this feature has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Just because you’re following #love, it doesn’t mean you’ll get thousands of posts in your news feed from random people every single day.

Apparently, Instagram is using specially designed algorithms to select only a couple of posts from a hashtag feed and deliver them to your news feed. Some of the main conditions for a post to be chosen are quality, popularity and recency.

Unfortunately, as the Instagram spokesperson declared, users won’t be able to know whether their post was featured on another person’s news feed or not. However, we do believe that if your post will be featured, it will show up in the number of likes and/or comments you’ll get.

Another interesting aspect of the new feature is that people will be able to see what hashtags other people are following right next to the other profiles they’ve already been following. Just as it works with people’s accounts, if a person’s Instagram profile is private, you won’t be able to see which hashtags they’re interested in.

Now, there are two reasons why this news is so interesting for marketers. First of all, it should ring a bell to those that haven’t been paying much attention to their use of hashtags – or their Instagram accounts at all. The hashtag following option basically helps you gain popularity and reach more people than ever without doing anything special, which is great!

The second reason is regarding what every online marketer is after at some point: ads.

As the Instagram spokesperson explained, the company is not opening up the new hashtag-following feature to advertisers. But that doesn’t mean it won’t eventually do so.

The company, currently owned by Facebook, can easily start selling brands a golden spot in a hashtag’s feed or InstaStory. Also, it may use the feature to target the already-existing Sponsored Ads much better than before depending on which hashtags people are interested in.

Either way, as the app is gaining more and more ground among social media users, it’s clear that we should get involved more than ever in improving our #strategies for 2018.

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