Why Instagram Saves are The New Gold
When Instagram first began, the feed was organized chronologically. When users opened the app, they would see all the content that was shared while they were logged off in the order that it was posted. Many people still remember seeing the "You're all caught up!" checkmark that would appear once you had seen everything you had missed.
In 2016, Instagram switched from this model to the elusive algorithm. This algorithm prioritizes the posts of people you follow in a way that has been difficult for marketers and users to fully understand. I remember interviewing an Instagram influencer, who also had a full-time job at Facebook (who owns Instagram), and she didn't even know how exactly the algorithm worked.
However, we do know that Instagram's algorithm is focused on three main factors:
Interest - how much Instagram thinks followers will care about the post, based on their past behavior with similar content
Timeliness - how recently posts are shared
Relationship - how close the relationship is between the user and their followers based on how followers interact with the post
The app's secondary factors are more hyper-focused on the specific user's behavior to determine how Instagram will organize their individual feed:
Frequency - how often the user checks Instagram
Following - how many people the user followers
Usage - how long the user spends on Instagram
When considering your Instagram marketing strategy, you need to ensure you're hitting those three main factors by making content that is interesting, posting consistently, and creating interaction between you and your followers. In order to do this, many social media managers would include calls to action (CTAs) for the follower to "like" and/or "comment" on their posts.
However, there's been recent buzz that the Save is actually the most important engagement metric to track and encourage.
Instagram has been recently testing hiding like counts on posts. Facebook said, "We are testing this because we want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. This includes helping people to focus on the photos and videos they share, not how many likes they get." With the potential removal of likes, social media marketers are beginning to pay attention to Instagram's Save feature.
"Save" allows users to save content for later. They can organize this content into different "Collections." These Saves and Collections are private to the individual user, allowing users to curate content they want to reference frequently or look at later.
When you think about it, the Save is a much more personal Instagram experience. Whereas a Like or Comment can be more passive – a quick button push or an emoji – the Save requires followers to build a personal connection with that post. They have to want to see it again.
So, how can you encourage your followers to Save?
Create compelling, informative content that followers will want to view again. We have seen the rise of infographics and longer captions on Instagram, which both serve this purpose.
Use beautiful graphics and photos, or create graphic quotes, that users would want to save. Think about how a user could be utilizing their Saves Collections like a Pinterest board – gorgeous photos of places to travel, recipes to cook, inspiring quotes to use as their phone backgrounds, for example.
Provide a CTA for the follower to save. This can be as simple as, “Save this post to remember our best social media tips!” or “Want to go to Egypt? Save this post as a reminder!”