In the wake of Instagram’s recent announcement that it will be changing it’s timeline format from chronological posts to testing out a new algorithmic timeline, undoubtedly has millions of users up in arms. It’s no secret if you scroll through your own timeline there are already friends, family members, businesses and brands prompting you to turn on your notifications in order to keep up with what they post. And while it may seem like this adjustment is only a minor change in architecture it’s a major change for consumers. After scrolling through my own timeline it occurred to me, businesses and brands are forgetting what a notification looks like and more importantly what it feels like for a consumer to receive. The harsh reality is, solicited notifications are annoying to receive and will consequently take away from the experience of using Instagram all together.
By asking consumers to turn on their notifications, businesses and brands alike are becoming more concerned with possibly losing the engagement with their following or the attention they may receive that they are overlooking the sentiment and feelings related to consumers using the actual product. Facebook pioneered the idea of changing user’s feed to suggest what they may enjoy best, but after witnessing the result, I can understand the skepticism following Instagram’s announcement.
The truth is, there are not many business brands that we want to see notifications for. Now that smartphones are a staple in everyday life, there are already so many notifications that we must navigate through between, emails, text messages, reminder, alarm clocks. Unfortunately business brands are at the bottom of the totem pole so to speak when it comes to what consumers care about. The questions consumers are asking themselves is “Do I really care enough about this business to get notified when they post to their social media?” If you don’t already know, the answer is no.
As businesses and brands we need to stop ourselves and think how is the consumer affected rather than focusing on the attention we may be losing. Even if a consumer likes the brand or business that is independent of whether they will willingly turn on their notification. While change is inevitable, I personally don’t suggest asking your following to turn on their notifications. Unless you want to trade temporary attention for a permanent unfollowing.