Instagram Algorithm- Kinda Explained

Instagram Algorithm- Kinda Explained

Earlier this year, Instagram said they would be updating the Instagram algorithm to make it more chronological and “feel more fresh.”

Your Instagram feed isn’t just based on who you follow, it’s also based on who and what you like.

Instagram’s main goal is to help you see content from your “friends and family,” and with the algorithm, they say that people now see 90% of posts from their friends and family, instead of 50% when it was the chronological feed.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work?

The Instagram algorithm tries to predict what photos and videos are the most important to you, and uses three main factors to determine this: interest, timeliness, and relationship.

The 3 Most Important Factors for the Instagram Algorithm:

#1 Interest: this is Instagram predicting how much you’ll care about a post.

The more they think you’ll “like” that post, the higher it appears in your feed. This is based on “past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.”

#2 Timeliness: how long ago was this photo posted? The new Instagram algorithm will prioritize recent posts, so you’ll hopefully see fewer posts from over a week ago.

Find out when you should schedule your Instagram posts for maximum engagement!

#3 Relationship: how do you know this person? If you comment on a lot of someone’s photos or are tagged in photos with them, this signals to Instagram that they probably fall into your “friends and family” category.

Feel like you never see a certain someone’s photos in your feed? Start commenting on their photos!

Tip: You might want to try encouraging your followers to tag you in posts, if the hopes that you would then show up more frequently in their feeds. We’re not sure if this will actually work, but it sounds like it might!

Other factors that influence the new Instagram Algorithm:

While those are the top 3, Instagram does have other factors that affect what posts up highest in the algorithm.

#4 Frequency: how often do you open the Instagram app? If you’re a frequent scroller, your feed will look more “chronological” since Instagram tries to “show you the best posts since your last visit.”

If you check the Instagram app less often, then your feed will be sorted more to what Instagram thinks you’ll like, instead of chronologically.

#5 Following: how many people do you follow on Instagram? If you follow a lot of people, then Instagram has more options to choose from, so you probably won’t see all of the posts from every account.  

#6 Usage: if you spend a lot of time on Instagram, you’re going to see more posts as Instagram “digs deeper into its catalog.”

If you only spend a few minutes in the app each day, then you’re going to just get the highlights from the algorithm.

In addition to clearing up how the Instagram algorithm works, Instagram also addressed some common questions and rumors. Here’s what they said:

That being said, they did say that “Instagram does not hide posts in the feed, and you’ll see everything posted by everyone you follow if you keep scrolling.”

If I switch to an Instagram business profile, will my posts get less reach in the new algorithm?

Nope. “Instagram doesn’t give extra feed presence to personal accounts or business accounts, so switching won’t help your reach.”

If I post a video, will it perform better in the Instagram algorithm?

Not anymore. While this may have been true in the past when videos were a new thing on Instagram, “feed ranking does not favor the photo or video format universally.”

That being said, because people’s feeds are based on what they interact with, if you don’t watch videos on Instagram, you might see less of them.

Does posting a lot hurt your performance in the Instagram algorithm?

It won’t hurt your account, but if you post 3 times in a row, there will probably be other people’s content in between your posts.

That being said, “Instagram doesn’t downrank users for posting too frequently or for other specific behaviors,” so you can try finding your optimal post frequency without risking your account.

What about the Instagram shadowban? Can using Instagram hashtags make my posts not show up?

Time to listen up: “shadowbanning is not a real thing.”

A year ago, many Instagram accounts were affected by a mysterious “bug” in the Instagram app, that was effectively shadowbanning posts if they used the same hashtags over and over, which Instagram classified as “spammy” behavior.

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