How Instagram’s Algorithm Works
While Instagram’s algorithm may seem random and inscrutable at first glance, there’s a method to the madness. Here, we break down some of the inner workings of the platform in order to help you improve your approach to marketing on Instagram.
Guest post by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog
Instagram‘s algorithm may seem like an elusive mistress, but as unpredictable as it seems, there is in fact some rhyme and reason to it. Once you understand it, you can better strategize your content to work with it instead of against it. Here’s everything you need to know about how the Instagram algorithm really works…
How The Instagram Algorithm Works
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand how Instagram chooses what its users see on the app in the first place.Instagram uses machine learning to analyze your past behavior to give you your own unique feed. What you see completely depends on how you interact with the accounts you follow, not just who you follow. Click To Tweet
There are 6 main factors that go into determining your feed:
- Interest // When Instagram determines how much you might care about a post by your past behavior.
- Recency // How recent was it posted? Instagram pushes up newer content over old posts.
- Relationship // This considers how close you are to certain people depending on how much you interact with them. (For example, are you tagged in posts together? Do you comment on each other’s posts?)
- Frequency // Updates based on how often you open the app.
- Following // The more people you follow, the broader your feed will be. That means no singular focus on certain people.
- Usage // The more time you spend on the app, the deeper it will search its content for more unique things to show you.
What About IGTV Videos, and Reels?
When it comes to IGTV video and Reels, Instagram uses the same machine learning model to prioritize accounts and posts you interact with the most. It searches through its content to find only the most relevant posts throughout the Explore page.
Since the explore page takes into account keywords, hashtags, AND how it looks visually, it’s super important that you take all these into account on your own page. — That means you need to provide engaging captions, several relevant hashtags, AND choose a visually appealing cover photo for IGTV video and reels.
Sharpen your IG skills with these helpful resources…
- How to Create Instagram Reels with Your Music
- How to Make Your Own Instagram AR Filters
- How to Use TikTok’s Video Editor for Instagram Stories
Let’s talk about what DOESN’T work…
In this post by TechCrunch, Instagram’s Team personally busted some of the most common myths about the algorithm. Here’s what they said:
- Instagram’s feed doesn’t favor users who use Stories, Live, or other special features of the app.
- Instagram doesn’t downrank users for posting too frequently or for other specific behaviors, but it might swap in other content in between someone’s if they rapid-fire separate posts.
- Instagram doesn’t give extra feed presence to personal accounts or business accounts, so switching won’t help your reach.
- Shadowbanning is not a real thing, and Instagram says it doesn’t hide people’s content for posting too many hashtags or taking other actions.
Don’t waste your time worrying about cheating the system. To really see major engagement on Instagram, just follow best practices and be consistent. Things like proper hashtagging, posting quality content, and strategizing the timing of your posts all make a world of difference in your content’s performance.
Feed your brain…
Tips & Tricks
There are a lot of extra things you can do to ensure you’re doing the most for your content.
- See what’s working and what isn’t with Instagram Analytics.
- Increase engagement on each post by sharing it on feed, stories, IGTV and Reels. // Our post, “How to Repurpose Video Content Across Social Media Platforms” has some killer tricks for you to try out…
- Use interactive stickers on stories to drive engagement.
Instagram’s algorithm continues to improve every year, constantly evolving to ensure its users have the best experience possible. Nowadays, Instagram loves discovery. They’re doing their best to help its users become exposed to more than ever before, giving you a better chance of getting your content out to potential fans all over the world.
Now that you understand how it works, it’s time to get to work!