Instagram Algorithm: What You Need To Know

What is Instagram Algorithm?

The Instagram Algorithm is what decides which posts people see every time they open their Instagram feed. The algorithm is based on machine learning, so the way it ranks your posts is constantly evolving. It uses specific signs to prioritize the best posts, thereby pushing the most relevant ones toward the top and giving them the most visibility, while others end up further down.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work?

(a) Whenever you upload a post (photograph or video) on your Instagram profile, it appears in a tiny percentage of your followers’ feeds (assessed to be as low as 10%).

(b) The algorithm then tracks how rapidly those followers engage with it — at this stage, all posts are ranked equally so the rate of engagement can be effectively determined. 

(c) When the rate at which followers engage with your content has been determined, the algorithm then begins to evaluate your content’s ‘success’ in light of your predetermined engagement rate.

(d) When the success rate of a particular post is high enough, the algorithm considers it ‘great content’ that individuals need to see, it is then allowed to appear to a higher percentage of your audience, and might even show up on the ‘Explore’ page. 

To an average everyday user who uses Instagram just for the fun of it, this information might not seem useful. But for brands and organizations looking to increase awareness, build a community, and make sales on Instagram, knowing how the Instagram algorithm works can be the difference between thriving and failing on Instagram.

The 3 Key Factors That Influence the Instagram Algorithm

To improve transparency, Instagram has broken down the algorithm it uses to organize content in users’ feeds. According to Instagram, three factors essentially determine the nature of content that appears on your feed: 

1. Interest, 

2. Timeliness, and 

3. Relationship. 

1. Interest: Instagram algorithm determines what content to present according to users’ interests. for e.g., if you often engage with posts that highlight dogs, the algorithm offers an inclination to dog-related pictures and videos while ordering your feed. The work-in-progress technology works comparatively to hashtags, and this can be a burden for promoters as opposed to filling captions with popular expressions to reach a lot of audiences, you can depend on the actual content to target consumers.

2. Timeliness: “The more recent a post is, the higher it ranks.” Does that mean you need to continue posting to be on the top? How regularly would it be a good idea for you to post? Is it the more, the better? Indeed, that depends. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. All you have to do is remember the rule of thumb that works best for you. Some of these rules include:

  • Consistency over the frequency: “The best posting frequency for Instagram is the posting frequency that you can consistently maintain for the rest of your natural life.” — Neil Patel (Social Media Expert)
  • Quality over quantity: Scott Stratten talked about the principle of Brand Pulse. He says that every interaction between a brand and a consumer can either increase that person’s affinity for the brand or reduces it. There is no “neutral” gear in our feelings about companies, only “forward” and “reverse.”
  • Understand your objective: “The more you post to Instagram, the less impact an individual post has. However, the more posts you post, the more you reach overall.” — Hélène Heath

3. Relationships: Instagram acknowledges the significance of relationships. Social media users are there to see what their friends, families, most loved celebrities, and ex-lovers are doing, ultimately. In light of that, the more frequently you interact with other users (i.e., through likes, comments, DMs, or tags), the more often you will see each other’s content.

NB: Instagram uses image recognition innovation to evaluate the content of a given post. Also, since Instagram needs to show you the best stuff posted since your last visit, what gets sorted as the new best content depends on how long you were away. Furthermore, the more accounts you follow, the less content you will see from the followed accounts. So, if you want to see a higher percentage of content from the brands you’re following, you need to consider following only a handful of people. Are you experiencing difficulty in managing your business’ social media account? At Social Sugar, we combine effective and top-notch copywriting with outstanding visual designs to tell our clients’ stories and help them make headway on their social media platforms. We would love to help you do the same. Click here to get started.


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