Cycle of Algorithm
Is Algorithm really helping your company's marketing or apps are causing you algorithm anxiety?
Hey everyone👋, welcome to the 38th newsletter.
TL;DR: It would be wrong to say that the algorithm hasn’t changed how people use the apps and how apps are pushing their users towards creating more engaging content to beat the competitive threat.
We spend most of our time on the internet & social media. Brands use it to connect with the audience and the audience finds their entertainment. Both jingle together to keep the app more fun to use.
But over the time period, it has completely changed. Before you only see content from people you follow, now you consume content based on interest alignment created by the algorithm.
Let’s take our prominent brands into the spotlight: Instagram (Reels) & TikTok. They are addictive to be on. Why? Because TikTok shifted the entire concept of engagement from relevancy to attention span. It shows content on your feed based on your reaction.
The more engagement a content brings, the higher it ranks and you start seeing similar content and the mechanism keeps running. It’s a cycle.
But the problem is: We don’t need it everywhere
When the algorithm fundamental was introduced there was less competition (both for brands and users), people can enjoy content from friends and brands, and the place was less noisy. Most people weren’t quite sure how the algorithm works and how it makes a difference.
To be on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or Google search as a founder or creator feels more like working for them rather than for ourselves. They are trying to swift the gears to keep up with anything that drives engagement (& keep the dominancy) and have created unachiaveable standards for its users. That means just to build audience you create content for algorithm so that it helps you get on top rather than creating anything helpful for the users.
…and to be on the top what is causing people “Algorithmic Anxiety”.
Here’s the core problem with Instagram: it started to feel more frustrating as Instagram is excessively prioritizing content from people you don’t know and showing more Reels. As a result, people see less engagement.
For marketers and creators, it has become an endless game. Apps keep bringing new updates to keep up with the trends and making it less fun for people and brands to use them. As Instagram saw (from TikTok) how short videos were driving more engagement it tend to implicate the same thing through Reels and push its users to create more such content constantly and faster than ever before.
This lost to content created for the actual audience.
Now the obvious question is why companies are making frequent algorithm update and cloning other apps.
The one reason, I think of, can be the audience for these apps has changed. Due to such change, there can be a massive decline in growth, engagement and retention. And to cover up the gap apps try to copy other popular features.
This shift mostly happens because of FOMO. When Clubhouse was introduced, every other app tried to copy it, in fact, many went into production. But once the hype dried everything changed. Remember when Twitter had Fleets?
And it’s not only with social media apps but, in fact, the Google search engine has also no doubt become an absurd place. Whether it’s a long keyword or short keyword, the results SERP shows are all in some way similar, created to follow up with the algorithm. (At least for now, I haven’t seen the change yet)
No one’s to blame, the place has become so huge and has years of content that possibility isn’t easy to manage & then you have to keep up with the trends. To show what’s the most relevant answer, the algorithm helps to stand out. But the problem is people are trying to boost the ranking by creating something similar to the first few results - for the algorithm. Which do help with ranking but the people find it boring and eventually leave the site.
Here’s an anticipation of what is Google’s new “Helpful content update”:
Moving over the fancy Algorithm?
If the original users leave or spend less time on the app, it’s bad for brands as social media is a top tool for marketing. It will become harder to find and reach the audience.
No doubt for many these new changes and engagement-driven algorithm shifts got massive success and audience reach (I’m not talking about clingy stuff). This definitely is a business…
Internet is changing in a way that has deep implications for human psychology and it’s also changing the way people use it. This shifts the way we communicate, learn things and respond.
But the one thing that’s not going to change is who buys from you.
Remember social media apps or many other internet apps are driven by trends, hype and FOMO. And such things don’t last for long. Instagram can’t keep the crown forever. Accept it or not, TikTok is taking the lead here (for now at least).
In the end, if you keep creating content for the algorithm and not for your audience, you are giving the apps more power to control the way you build your online presence and connect with the audience.
Sometimes even after a long break from Twitter and this newsletter, I still get the best response and engagement. It’s actually based on human-to-human connection. (So, nothing can actually beat it)
(Seriously, just forget about the algorithm, post your content & be consistent 😂.)
👋 PS: I’m Ritika founder, product marketer and advisor for early-stage startups, find more here or connect with her here. If you’re a first-time founder looking for curated resources, download here. If you enjoyed this post, read the past issues here. You can also promote your product in this newsletter.
A big thanks for reading & sharing!