So the 2019 Instagram algorithm hasn’t changed after all

There’s been a lot of speculation recently around the alleged ‘2019 Instagram algorithm change’ that’s come into affect. Perhaps you’ve noticed influencers you follow begging and pleading with Instagram to restore order, saying things like ‘Why is my engagement so low?’, ‘Only 7% of my followers are seeing my posts!’ and ‘Where are my missing stories?’

Our account has 21K+ followers and we can’t say we’ve noticed anything different, but then again we don’t live every moment on Instagram (unlike influencers). When we looked into the supposed 2019 Instagram algorithm change, we waded into a sea of contradictory info.

Some articles insist there has definitely been a change that’s having a dramatic effect on engagement. Others swear that the famous 2019 Instagram algorithm change is nothing more than a rumour. Clearly we’re not Instagram, but our understanding is that there hasn’t been a change – and that’s come from the horse’s mouth!

Instagram algorithm change or mass delusion?

In an uncharacteristic display of candour, the company addressed swirling rumours about the 2019 Instagram algorithm on Twitter.

The upshot was that what shows up first in your feed is based primarily on your own activity.

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Our verdict? It’s business as usual with the 2019 Instagram algorithm. Nothing’s changed – except that people’s experiences with Instagram are evolving based on how they use the app. That said, we do admit it’s very strange that so many influential accounts suspected that something was up. Hmm.

Anyway, given the ‘no change’ verdict, we thought it might be a good time to recap on how the old change (remember in 2016 when everyone freaked out about things not being chronological any more?) works. This still applies to your current account. 

The 2016 change, similar to Facebook’s 2018 ‘family and friends’ change, adjusted your feed to prioritise “the moments you care about”. Translation: the accounts you interact with most.

Posts have been shown ‘out of order’ ever since. Unless you’re actively engaging with posts, Instagram won’t recognise this as an account you want to see more from. Here’s an example: you might follower an influencer, love seeing their posts but never like or leave a comment. On the other hand, Instagram will prioritise that long-lost cousin whose posts you comment on all the time.

So essentially, the more Instagram thinks you’ll like a post, the more prominently that account will appear in your feed. Algorithms are clever things and there’s much more to it than that. Factors such as timeliness (IG prioritises recent posts over old ones) interact with the relationship you have with the poster (if you engage with someone’s posts a lot, Instagram will assume they’re family or friends).

The more you use Instagram, the more personalised it becomes. This isn’t even a ploy from Instagram to get you to use the app more – it’s just how this form of intelligence works. 

As with any marketing or advertising initiative, we’re not fans of trying to ‘trick’ platforms or ‘get around’ algorithms here at Sketch Corp. There are no sustainable shortcuts. What we do encourage is building legitimate, authentic engagement over time off the back of great content. Slow and steady it may be, but if you do it right it will happen. It’s a long-term game. Enjoy the process.

Ready to start building your community on social media? Contact our experts.

Marketing for Valentine’s Day | Shower your customers with love

There’s nothing like a special occasion to get your company’s creative juices flowing, and there’s still time to amp up your marketing for Valentine’s Day. With no shortage of love innuendos and double entendres to play around with, February 14 is a prime opportunity to tap into the spirit of romance and prosper.

If consumer spend in 2017 and 2018 is anything to go by, marketing for Valentine’s Day is a savvy investment – particularly if you’re in the retail and hospitality space. A 2017 study by found that recently married Aussies were prepared to spend $253 million on Valentine’s Day. That’s around $315 per person on gifts, romantic meals and loved-up getaways.

Given that love (and a healthy appetite for spending) is in the air, we take a look at three of our favourite Valentine’s Day campaigns from last year and point out why they won our hearts <drum beats>:

1. eharmony

eharmony Australia took a unique approach to its User Generated Content (UGC) Valentine’s Day marketing strategy. Watch this adorable video and you’ll see what we mean.

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Why we love it:

  • It brings Valentine’s Day back to basics
  • It lends a human element to a dating platform (just what the doctor ordered for an industry that can be seen as predatory and ‘just for hook-ups’)
  • It is pure, innocent and hilarious, rather than cheesy and sleazy
  • It is not overtly ‘salesy’ and doesn’t push viewers to sign up or create a profile. The clever CTA is simply to ‘tell someone you like them’.
2. Youfoodz

Youfoodz offered its customers a free double choc heart brownie and a rose! Romance at its finest.

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Why we love it:

  • It’s super-inclusive and makes everyone feel special on V-Day, not just those in a couple. The ‘We love ya, Fam’ is brilliant. Too many brands focus exclusively on hetero couples, which can be alienating for anyone who doesn’t fit the mould.
  • The special bonus treat is an added incentive for people who otherwise wouldn’t normally purchase Youfoodz to go ahead and place an order.
  • It’s a social activation, where the company cleverly used its social media channels to get the marketing message across.
3. Doritos Collide

Last year, Doritos launched limited edition ‘couples jumpers’ as part of its marketing for Valentine’s Day to promote its Doritos Collide range. Influencers were engaged to promote the merch and the general public could buy the jumpers at an online pop-up store.

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Why we love it:

  • It’s tongue in cheek and fun, playing into the inherent cheesiness of V-day in the best possible way.
  • Only 150 jumpers were available, which in itself created a sense of urgency to ‘buy now’ before it was too late. You can just imagine young couples looking for gift ideas at the last minute snapping up these jumpers.
  • The brand chose well-known couples with high-profile love stories to front the campaign, including Georgia Love and Lee Elliott, who famously met on The Bachelorette.
  • The jumpers brought to life the Doritos flavour combination of hot wings and ranch, raising product and brand awareness.
  • Like a ‘slanket’, the couple jumper blends cosy with novelty – two desirable traits in the millennial homebody economy. The perfect item to Netflix and Uber Eats in.
Need inspiration for your promotional campaigns? Our strategists and creatives can help.

What you need to know when you engage graphic design services

As a business owner or decision-maker, chances are you’ve needed graphic design services at some stage in your professional endeavours. Maybe you’ve recruited a graphic designer to join your in-house marketing team or partnered with a marketing agency to handle your graphic design.

Alternatively, you may have used a freelancer recommended by an associate or dipped your toe in the pool of online marketplaces for freelance graphic design services (99 designs, Freelancer and Fiverr, for example).

No matter how you’ve gone about it, your experience has probably been mixed. Hopefully you’ve found a gun in-house graphic designer who exceeds expectations every time, or struck gold with a gem of a designer based overseas who always overcomes the language barrier to produce graphic design exactly to brief (AND is happy to work for a quarter of Aussie rates).

Naturally, our hope is that you’ve invested in a relationship with a local marketing agency that knows your business nearly as well as you do and smashes every job out of the park.

If any of these scenarios apply to you, you’re one of the lucky ones. We’ve heard some horror stories from our clients over the past 5 years. The question is, what can you do to achieve graphic design consistency and get an all-round better result for your business?

As a starting point it’s important to understand that not all graphic designers are created equal – and that graphic design is a SUBJECTIVE discipline. You can work with two designers who are the same age with the same design education and experience and the work you receive will be completely different.

This is design we’re talking about here – it’s open to creative interpretation. One thing we find is not discussed often is individual style. Everyone’s got one. Some will appeal to your aesthetic and suit your brand. Others just don’t do it for you.

According to the design community, some people have ‘it’ and other people don’t. ‘It’ is ‘The Eye’ – an innate talent and flair that can’t be taught and can’t even really be explained (yet can be improved upon with experience and mentoring).

When selecting a graphic designer, we recommend you look very closely at candidates’ portfolios and ask them to explain their role in each project.

Graphic design services in the context of your business

With the prevalence of digital, a raft of graphic design specialities have emerged. As with all industry experts, you can’t be a specialist in everything.

  • Some designers have chosen to focus on packaging
  • Others are pure print people
  • Others mainly do website design
  • Others design apps exclusively
  • Others have found a niche in social media

… And so on (yes, there’s more!)


Each specialty requires a different set of skills. To get the most out of a graphic designer, it’s essential that you understand your organisation’s graphic design needs. Does your business centre on an e-commerce site, linked EDMs and social campaigns? If so, you need a digital designer. We’d advise against hiring just a garden-variety designer if all your sales are funnelling through a website – impressions are important.

The professional services industry is different. If your business produces a lot of tenders, proposals and case studies and you’re sick of them looking sub-par, you’re looking for a very different graphic design skillset. While we’re on the subject, passionate graphic designers who are heavily into their craft don’t typically enjoy working in Microsoft Word. The program may be beloved for its word-processing capabilities, but its visual limitations are hard for our designer friends to handle. Our experience indicates you’ll be hard-pressed finding a graphic designer at the top of their game for this type of work. They prefer to work in the Adobe suite with InDesign, Illustrator and PhotoShop.

Briefing for best results

If you’re involved in a company with a firmly established brand that’s been around for years, there must be a style guide floating around somewhere. Your graphic designer needs this to reference colour palettes, Pantone swatch values and Do’s and Don’ts regarding fonts and logo use. This ensures visual consistency across applications, which over time transfers to brand equity.   

We’ve talked before about the importance of investing in your brief. Generally speaking, the better the brief, the better the outcome. Having a clear brief is especially important if you’re working with a new graphic designer who is not yet familiar with your business.

Once you’ve been working with a designer or marketing agency for a while, you’ll naturally develop your own professional shorthand and ‘in-references’ (like ‘in jokes) that you can use instead of spelling things out.

How much does your business value graphic design services?

Determining what graphic design is worth to your business (and how much you’re willing to pay for it) is important. To frame your expectations, here are some average rates you can expect to pay for graphic design services in Australia.

Junior designer

Freelance: $40-$60 p/h

Marketing agency: $60-$80 p/h

Senior designer

Freelance: $60-$90 p/h

Marketing agency: $80-$130 p/h

Art director

Freelance: $90-$200 p/h

Marketing agency: $150-$250 p/h

As you can see, experienced graphic design services are not cheap. A lot of study and training is involved in becoming an accomplished graphic designer, and understandably this is reflected in their salary expectations. Of course, if you venture overseas via an offshoring website, the pay rates will vary depend on where your designer is based.

Some say you can’t put a price on design for your business that’s professional, credible and aspirational; others believe you can take shortcuts and still get an OK result. Naturally, our stance is that good-quality graphic design is a wise business investment.

Talk to Sketch Corp. about how good graphic design can make business better for you.