Is Instagram Introducing the Infamous 'Boosted Post'?

Is Instagram Introducing the Infamous 'Boosted Post'?

It's no secret that most businesses despise Facebook's current model, which has destroyed organic reach in favor of the "boosted" post. Instagram, on the other hand, has never employed such a process. That may be about to change, though.

Elliott Murray, Head of Innovation at The Social Chain, recently decompiled the Instagram app and found some very interesting code inside. Take a look:

Image courtesy of Elliott Murray.

The four relevant lines to notice are "[can_boost_post]," "[can_see_organic_insights]," "[can_convert_to_business]," and "[show_insights_terms]," all currently marked "false" (turned off). "[show_insights_terms]" is likely related to Instagram's forthcoming analytics. The three other variables are more worrisome, however, as they are indicative of a potentially major shift in how Instagram treats business-oriented users. Many will remember that before Facebook's boosted posts, the social media giant was a very viable platform for marketing, but two things then happened: they forced regular profiles dedicated to businesses to become pages, and they killed organic reach for pages by introducing boosted posts, which required those pages to pay for decent exposure. In other words, while the features are currently turned off, it appears that there is code in place both to convert business Instagram profiles into pages that are differentiated from personal profiles and to then requires them to pay to reach their followers.

Remembering that Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012, such a shift is certainly plausible and would represent a major change in how businesses use the platform. Many have lamented the introduction of the algorithmic timeline, which they claim kills the organic nature of the app in which all posts are equal, whether from an account with 10 followers or 10 million. A shift toward boosted posts could represent another huge step away from that organic nature.

Screenshot used with permission of Elliott Murray.

[via Medium and PetaPixel]

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Was bound to happen eventually. Question is whether or not people will stay or move to another app.

Moving to an algorithm-based feed and adding a paid boost post feature go hand in hand. Seems like Facebook is finally ready to poke the beehive to get to the h(m)oney.

As soon as something better come along, I'll be gone. IG's Algorithm feed does not work for IG. Plain and simple.

I use IG a lot, I run 4 different accounts (thank god for the easy user switching), and it's my main social media advertising arm; I almost never use fb in any real professional sense and I've never paid for a post. If IG stops being fun I'll move on, I've just started playing with snapchat and it looks like it could have scope...

I am still not getting snapchat. I think it was cool idea for photo/video texting... but it takes to much energy to utilize it as social media marketing tool.

This is my issue as well. it just takes way too much time to make posts and you get no feedback at all from it.

Facebook, Apple, Microsoft are destroying end user experience. All they do is squeezing last possible cent out of their OSes and apps. Ii feels like everything that we use today is a store forcing us to convert to whatever they want us to use, leaving us two choices. Agree or don't use it. I hope that Ubuntu or other alternative OS will start to rise soon. Maybe some alternative social media as well.
There is a way to make money on apps without crippling end user's experience.

Spot on.Cant Agree more. :)

What version of Lightroom do you have installed on your Maverick?

Time to find the next popular all with organic reach. Instagrams changes are going to make it impossible for anyone who doesn't already have a large following to get interactions unless they're willing to pay.

This is frustrating I already wish there was an alternative as the amount of spam mentions and comments is out of control. But nothing right now has the reach that Instagram has so until that changes they will just squeeze it dry and we won't really have any choice but to go along.

My business model is different, as I use social media to get exposure for the companies I work with, not for my own business. But, I have bailed on Facebook already. It doesn't matter how many followers or likes I have there - they're not converting to clicks, so they have no real value to myself or my partners. If IG takes the same route, then for me, it will come back to SEO skills. I won't pay to play.

I hope someone makes a replacement for Instagram. I'd join.

I hope someone out there is listening...the bane of Instagram is the Facebook effect. If someone creates an Instagram like app, the original Instagram, non-FB Instagram...they will see a massive jumping ship from Instagram. Snapchat isn't it...snapchat is just weird and not at all user friendly.

Was it a surprise after Facebook bought Instagram? I have always felt Facebook was a horribly run site and was so irritated the moment they went public. I knew that would ultimate destroy facebook and anything under it.

There's always the telephone...

What do you guys think of 500px as a replacement for Instagram? A friend of mine was telling me about them the other day.