Have you ever poured your heart and soul into crafting the perfect Instagram post, only to find it lost in the shadows, never to grace the coveted Explore page? The struggle is real, and you’re not alone. Imagine a world where your captivating content not only thrives but also takes center stage. It’s time to unravel the enigma behind the Instagram Algorithm and turn your frustration into exploration!
In the fast-paced world of social media, understanding the answer to ‘how does the Instagram algorithm work’ is paramount to enhancing your online presence and moving forward with your marketing strategies. Everyone aspires to know how to get Instagram views, and the key to this lies in deciphering the IG algorithm.
The Instagram Algorithm, an intricate mechanism, plays a pivotal role in dictating the visibility and interaction levels of your posts. While its inner workings remain a mystery, we’ve compiled insights from Instagram and industry experts to create a guide that can potentially unlock the Instagram algorithm’s secrets, leading to increased followers and post engagement.
This article sheds light on how the IG algorithm works and helps you know how it contributes to amplifying the reach of your content. So, let’s delve deep into the fundamental elements of the IG algorithm update for Reel, Feed, Explore, and Stories.
You’ll also find useful tips on how to deal with the Instagram algorithm and how to use third-party apps like AiGrow to increase your reach.
What Is the Instagram Algorithm?
In the intricate landscape of social media, the term ‘Instagram Algorithm’ has garnered attention and intrigue. But what exactly is the algorithm for Instagram?
Simply put, the IG Algorithm is a sophisticated mechanism that determines the content you see on your Feed, Explore, or Reels. Influencers, individuals, and everyone who uses Instagram for business can stay on top of this platform if they know how to beat the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram’s algorithm acts as a digital gatekeeper, tailoring your Instagram experience depending on your activities and interactions. Let’s go further into the Instagram Algorithm to learn more about its inner workings.
The Algorithm’s Core Function
At its core, the Instagram Algorithm is designed to enhance user experience by curating content that aligns with individual preferences. Gone are the days of chronological feeds; instead, the new Instagram algorithm prioritizes content based on relevance. This means that the posts you engage with the most, whether through likes, comments, or shares, influence the content you’ll encounter on your feed.
Knowing how the Instagram algorithm works might help you alter your content so that it is seen by the most relevant audience. Keep reading.
How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work? Decoding the Enigma
The inner workings of the Instagram Algorithm have perplexed and fascinated users since its inception. Have you ever wondered how certain posts appear at the top of your feed while others seem to fade into oblivion?
The answer lies within the algorithm’s intricate design, a combination of user behavior, engagement patterns, and content relevance. Because of new Instagram algorithm upgrades, how the Instagram algorithm works in 2021 differs from how it works in 2023. Let’s unravel the mystery and gain a deeper understanding of how the Instagram Algorithm works.
Actually, the most important ranking factors of the Instagram algorithm have two layers. According to Instagram, the first layer is more significant than the second layer. The first layer is made up of three components:
Content Relevance and Interest in the Algorithmic Puzzle
Ever noticed how the posts you interact with are often aligned with your interests? Content relevance is the puzzle piece that fits into this mystery. The Instagram Algorithm analyzes the type of content you engage with, considering factors like hashtags, captions, and image recognition technology.
By understanding your preferences, the algorithm strives to curate a personalized feed that resonates with your tastes. Instagram prioritizes showing you content that is similar to what you have viewed in the past. For example, if you look at posts of art and illustrations more than anything else, Instagram will prioritize showing you art posts.
Recency and Timing: The Algorithm’s Dance
The algorithm is a master of balance, weighing recency against timing. Instagram looks at how recently a post was uploaded. Recency plays a significant role in the algorithm’s decision-making process. Fresh content is favored, as Instagram aims to provide users with up-to-date and relevant posts.
So, a post uploaded yesterday will be closer to the top of your feed than a post uploaded a week ago.
However, the algorithm also takes into account when users are most active. Timing your posts to coincide with your audience’s peak engagement hours can increase the likelihood of your content being seen by a larger number of followers.
Relationship Between IG Users
Instagram prioritizes showing you posts from people you are close to. It determines your relationships with people based on your interactions with them. This means that if you consistently Like and comment on a specific person’s posts, that person’s posts will be closer to the top of your feed. So, if you don’t want to miss someone’s posts, do not hesitate to interact with them on Instagram.
How about the second layer? Although not as influential as the first layer, the second layer of the Instagram algorithm is still significant.
It also consists of three other factors:
Instagram prioritizes showing you what it considers to be the best posts since your last visit to Instagram. For instance, a post uploaded between you closing the app and reopening it will show higher up in your feed.
The more people you follow, the more Instagram will show you posts from different people. So, if you follow 1,000 people, you will see fewer posts from any specific person than someone following 10 people.
Spending Time on the Platform
The longer you spend on Instagram, the fewer relevant posts you will see. It means that if you spend five minutes on Instagram and your friend spends two hours, you will see posts that better fit what you want to see more than your friend will.
This is how the Instagram algorithm works and are factors that affect the algorithm. However, Instagram’s algorithm works differently for the various features on the platform: feed, stories, explore, and reels. Each of these features has its own unique algorithm that determines what content is shown to users. Here’s a brief overview of how the algorithm works for each.
How the Instagram Algorithm Works for Feed Posts
The Instagram algorithm for feed posts is designed to curate a personalized and engaging experience for users by showing them content that they are likely to find interesting. The feed algorithm focuses on showing users the content they are most likely to engage with.
It takes into account different factors. Here’s an explanation of how it generally works:
- User Engagement: The algorithm takes into account a user’s past behavior, such as the posts they’ve liked, commented on, shared, and saved. The more a user interacts with a particular account’s content, the higher the probability that content will appear in their feed.
- Post Timeliness: While Instagram has moved away from a strict chronological feed, the recency of a post still matters. Newer posts are more likely to appear at the top of a user’s feed, ensuring that users see relatively fresh content.
- User Relationship: The algorithm considers the strength of the relationship between the user and the account that posted the content. If a user frequently interacts with an account by liking, commenting, and sharing its content, that account’s posts are more likely to appear higher in the user’s feed.
- Content Type: The algorithm tries to understand the types of content a user prefers, such as photos, videos, or carousel posts. It will show more of the content type that the user engages with the most.
- Diversity of Content: Instagram aims to provide a diverse range of content to users. This means that the algorithm won’t show posts solely from a single account, but instead, it will strive to offer a variety of posts from different accounts.
- Exploration of New Content: The algorithm also introduces users to new content by occasionally showing posts from accounts they don’t follow. This is to encourage users to discover new accounts and content that align with their interests.
- Engagement Metrics: The algorithm considers engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and saves. Posts that receive more engagement are seen as more valuable and relevant, thus increasing their visibility in users’ feeds.
- Direct Shares and Saves: If a user saves or shares a post via direct message, it signals a strong interest in that content. The algorithm may prioritize showing more posts from that account in the future.
- Frequency of Use: How often a user logs into Instagram also plays a role. If a user logs in frequently, the algorithm will work to keep their feed fresh with newer content.
Remember that Instagram’s algorithm is complex and constantly evolving, with adjustments being made to enhance user experience and engagement. While these are some of the general principles behind how the IG algorithm works for feed posts, the exact details might change over time as Instagram updates its algorithms.
How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work for Instagram Reels
The Instagram Reels algorithm is designed to showcase engaging and relevant short-form video content to users. Here’s an explanation of how does the IG algorithm work for Reels:
- User Engagement: Similar to the feed algorithm, the Reels algorithm takes into account a user’s past behavior, such as the Reels they’ve liked, commented on, shared, and saved. The more a user interacts with Reels content from a particular account, the higher the likelihood that more content from that account will be shown to them.
- Video Engagement: The algorithm considers engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and follows on specific Reels. Reels that receive higher engagement are more likely to be promoted to a wider audience.
- Video Completion: The algorithm considers whether users watch a Reel to its completion. If a user consistently watches Reels all the way through, the algorithm may prioritize showing them similar content.
- Content Similarity: The algorithm identifies patterns in the types of Reels a user engages with. It then seeks to show them Reels that are similar in style, content, and theme to what they’ve engaged with before.
- Trending and Popular Content: The algorithm may feature Reels that are currently trending or receiving high engagement. This helps keep users informed about popular content on the platform.
- Hashtags and Captions: The algorithm also considers the hashtags and captions used in Reels. Using relevant and trending hashtags can increase the discoverability of Reels.
- User Interaction: If a user interacts with the creator of a Reel (e.g., by following them, or visiting their profile), the algorithm might show more content from that creator to the user.
- Fresh Content: Instagram aims to keep Reels content fresh and engaging. The algorithm might favor showing newer Reels to keep users interested in the latest trends and creations.
It’s important to note that the Instagram Reels algorithm might change over time. The goal is to provide users with an enjoyable and engaging experience by showcasing Reels that align with their interests and preferences.
How the Instagram Algorithm Works for Instagram Stories
The Instagram algorithm for Instagram Stories is designed to show users the most relevant and engaging stories from the accounts they follow. Here’s an explanation of how the IG algorithm generally works for Stories:
- User Engagement: Similar to other parts of Instagram, the algorithm takes into account a user’s past behavior with Stories, such as the stories they’ve viewed, replied to, and interacted with using stickers (polls, questions, etc.). The more a user interacts with a particular account’s stories, the higher the likelihood that those stories will be prioritized in their Stories feed.
- Story Order: The order in which stories appear in a user’s feed is not strictly chronological. Instead, the algorithm strives to show the most relevant stories first. Stories from accounts that the user interacts with frequently are more likely to be shown at the beginning of their story queue.
- Story Completion: The algorithm considers whether users watch a story all the way through. If a user consistently watches stories to completion from a specific account, the algorithm may prioritize showing them more stories from that account.
- Sticker Interactions: User interactions with stickers in stories, such as answering polls or questions, can influence the algorithm. Engaging with these stickers signals a stronger interest in the content, and the algorithm might show more stories from that account as a result.
- Direct Messages: If a user frequently sends direct messages to an account after viewing its stories, it suggests a higher level of engagement. The algorithm may prioritize showing more stories from that account to the user.
- Profile Interactions: Interacting with an account’s profile by visiting it or clicking on its content can also impact the stories shown to a user. The algorithm might show more stories from accounts they’ve recently engaged with.
- Content Type: The algorithm takes into account the types of content a user prefers in stories, whether it’s photos, videos, boomerangs, or other formats. It then adjusts the Stories feed to showcase the content type the user engages with the most.
- Story Highlights: Accounts that users have added to their Story Highlights are likely to have their stories given more visibility, as it indicates a higher level of interest in that account’s content.
- Relevance: The algorithm assesses the relevance of the content in stories to the user’s interests. It takes into account factors like captions, hashtags, and the user’s engagement history.
- User Diversity: The algorithm aims to provide a diverse range of stories to keep users engaged. It won’t show stories solely from a single account but will strive to offer a mix of stories from various accounts.
Remember that the Instagram story algorithm is also dynamic and subject to change over time. While these are some of the general principles behind how the algorithm works for Instagram Stories, the exact details may evolve as Instagram refines its algorithms to enhance user experience and engagement.
How the Instagram Algorithm Works for the Explore Page
The Explore Page will show you posts similar to posts you have already Liked. So, if you Like many art-related photos, the Explore Page will show you posts related to the art. Actually, the Instagram Explorer page is one of the best features. Today, most of users try hard to appear on the Explore page to get more followers. Here’s how the algorithm generally works for the Explore page:
- User Behavior and Interests: The Explore algorithm takes into account a user’s behavior on the platform, such as the posts they like, the accounts they follow, and the hashtags they engage with. It builds a profile of the user’s interests and preferences.
- Content Similarity: The algorithm identifies patterns in the type of content a user interacts with the most. For example, if a user frequently engages with travel-related content, the algorithm will prioritize showing them more posts related to travel.
- Related Posts and Hashtags: The algorithm considers the content and hashtags that are related to what a user has engaged with. It aims to show them posts that align with their interests but might come from accounts they don’t follow.
- Content Engagement: The algorithm takes into account engagement metrics like likes, comments, shares, and saves. Posts that receive higher engagement are seen as more relevant and are more likely to be featured on the Explore page.
- Diverse Content: The Explore page aims to provide a diverse range of content to keep users engaged and interested. This means showing content from various categories and accounts.
- Discoverability: The algorithm introduces users to new accounts and content they might be interested in. This encourages users to engage with new content creators and expand their interests.
- Content Type: Instagram’s algorithm considers the types of content a user engages with, such as photos, videos, and Reels. It then tailors the Explore page to showcase the content types the user prefers.
- Engagement History: If a user has engaged with a particular type of content multiple times, the algorithm may prioritize showing them similar content on the Explore page.
- Timeframe: The algorithm considers both recent and past interactions to build a comprehensive understanding of a user’s interests.
- Feedback Loop: The algorithm continuously learns from a user’s interactions. If a user engages positively with the content shown on the Explore page, the algorithm will use this feedback to refine future recommendations.
- Personalization: Just like other parts of Instagram, the Explore page is personalized for each user. Two users with different interests might see entirely different content on their Explore pages.
Remember that the specifics of how the Explore algorithm works might change over time as Instagram refines its algorithms to provide users with a better experience and help them discover content that aligns with their interests. For example, in 2022, certain adjustments to the Instagram algorithm that prioritized videos over images were changed. Instagram is now working to achieve a more equal treatment of videos and photographs within the algorithm.
How Does Instagram Algorithm Work for Hashtags
Instagram hashtags serve as the algorithm’s allies, connecting content with relevant audiences. The algorithm takes note of the hashtags you use and engage with. Employing a combination of popular and niche-specific hashtags can broaden your content’s reach. Authenticity remains crucial, as the algorithm values genuine connections over arbitrary trends.
Hashtags act as bridges connecting content with relevant audiences. The Instagram Algorithm pays attention to the hashtags you use and engage with. Using a mix of popular and niche-specific hashtags can broaden your content’s reach. However, it’s essential to ensure that your hashtags are contextually relevant to the post, as the algorithm values authenticity and cohesion.
When you search for a hashtag on Instagram, you will see two results: Top Posts and Recent Posts. Top Posts for hashtags are generated based on some factors:
- Amount of engagement: Instagram prioritizes showing posts that have more engagement than other posts using the same hashtag. Hence, a post with 10,000 Likes and 200 comments is more likely to show up as a top post than a post with 500 Likes and 100 comments.
- Quickness of engagement: In addition to the amount of engagement, Instagram also looks at how quickly a post receives its engagement. So, a post that gets 10,000 likes and 200 comments within an hour of being uploaded is more likely to show up as a Top Post than a post that gets 10,000 likes and 200 comments within a day of being uploaded.
- Hashtag Popularity: The popularity of a hashtag plays a role in its visibility. Highly popular hashtags might have a large volume of content associated with them, making it more competitive for a post to stand out in those search results. Less popular or niche hashtags might offer a better chance for a post to be noticed.
- Shadowbanning and Misuse: Instagram discourages the misuse of hashtags or any attempts to artificially boost visibility. Using irrelevant or banned hashtags, engaging in “hashtag stuffing,” or violating community guidelines can lead to reduced visibility or shadowbanning of posts.
Now let’s see how to beat the IG algorithm to get more views and followers.
Tips for Dealing with Instagram’s Algorithm (and Getting Your Content Seen)
Working with the Instagram algorithm to get your content seen involves understanding how it works and optimizing your content accordingly. So, let’s look at some tips you can do to use the Instagram algorithm to grow your followers organically and increase your engagement rate.
1. Post at Optimal Times
We learned above that Instagram considers how recently a post was uploaded when deciding what posts to show to people. The Instagram algorithm will show you a post that was uploaded yesterday sooner than a post uploaded three days ago. This is why it’s so important to understand when your audience is online.
Experiment with posting at various times to determine when your target audience is most engaged. Instagram’s algorithm takes timeliness into account. Find the best hour to post on Instagram to ensure that your material is seen by as many people as possible.
2. Measure What Posts Ranks More with Instagram Insights
Instagram’s search result algorithm tells us that a lot of engagement quickly on your posts is how you rank as a Top Post for your hashtag. With that in mind, you want to be creating posts that get a lot of views, likes, comments, and shares. It might be hard to know what kinds of posts will get a lot of engagement, especially when you first start on Instagram. But the more posts you upload, the easier it becomes to know what posts result in more engagement.
Regularly check your Instagram Insights to understand what’s working and adjust your strategy accordingly.
3. Hire an Instagram Manager
Hiring experts who understand Instagram algorithms can greatly assist in optimizing your content strategy and increasing your content’s visibility.
AiGrow is an Instagram management service that offers various tools and features to help users optimize their Instagram presence, engage with their audience, and improve their content’s visibility through the Instagram algorithm.
Here’s how AiGrow can assist in working with the Instagram algorithm and enhancing your content strategy:
- Dedicated Account Manager: Using AiGrow you can hire an Instagram account manager and attract your target audience.
- Content Scheduling: AiGrow allows you to schedule your posts in advance, ensuring a consistent posting schedule that aligns with your audience’s active hours. This can help improve your content’s visibility by reaching your followers when they’re most engaged.
- Hashtag Research and Tracking: AiGrow can help you discover relevant and trending hashtags for your posts. By using effective hashtags, you can increase the discoverability of your content and attract a wider audience.
- Targeted Engagement: The platform enables you to engage with your target audience by liking, commenting, and following relevant accounts. This engagement can lead to increased visibility and interactions with your content.
- Manual DMs: You can use Manual DMs of AiGrow besides AiGrow’s automated direct messaging feature to engage with new followers and deliver personalized messages. Building relationships through DMs can encourage users to engage with your content. Furthermore, manual DM marketing helps you avoid getting flagged as spam.
- Hashtag Tracking and Analytics: AiGrow provides insights into how your hashtags are performing. You can track the reach and engagement of specific hashtags to refine your hashtag strategy over time.
- User Monitoring: You can monitor users who engage with your content, allowing you to identify your most active and engaged followers. This information can guide your content strategy and interactions.
- Content Reposting: AiGrow enables you to find and repost user-generated content related to your niche. Sharing user-generated content fosters community engagement and showcases your audience’s involvement.
- Algorithm Insights: AiGrow provides insights and analytics that help you understand the performance of your content. You can analyze engagement data to make informed decisions for your content strategy.
Discover the unbeatable value of AiGrow’s Management Growth Service! For just $1 a day, you get a dedicated account manager who will fully manage your Instagram account.
4. Attract Your Target Audience
Definitely, if you want to win the market, you must attract people who may become your customer. It means that having lots of inactive or ghost followers is not enough. So, you should try your best to gain real active followers.
So, try to know your audience and understand your audience’s preferences and interests. This way you can tailor your content to what they like and engage with the most.
Using AiGrow you can attract target audiences, remove ghost followers, and increase your engagement rate. AiGrow offers tools to engage with accounts that align with your target audience.
Ghost followers are accounts that don’t engage with your content, which can negatively impact your engagement rate and reach. AiGrow can help identify and remove these inactive followers, improving your overall engagement metrics.
5. Use Geotags
Studies have shown that simply tagging your posts with your location can get you 79% more engagement on your posts. Adding location tags to your posts can make your content visible to users who search for or engage with that location.
While it sometimes makes sense to geotag at specifically as possible (if you are a local business, for example), tagging your posts with more general, popular locations can help get more eyes on your posts.
6. Diversify Content Types
The Instagram algorithm decides what posts to show you first based not just on what you’ve looked at in the past. But also how long you looked at it for. With that in mind, the longer you can get someone to view your post, the higher your chances of Instagram prioritizing your posts on that person’s feed. So, use a variety of content formats, including photos, videos, carousels, and more. Keep your content fresh and engaging.
7. Consistent Posting Schedule
According to Instagram, the Instagram algorithm doesn’t necessarily penalize people who post too much.
Combine that with the fact that the algorithm also prioritizes showing you the most recent posts uploaded by people you follow, and you’ve got all the incentive you need to start posting more.
Regular posting can help maintain engagement and keep your audience interested. However, prioritize quality over quantity. And don’t go crazy and start posting 100 times a day. Instagram has also said the algorithm may “switch up” content if you post too much.
8. Engage Authentically
If people take the time to leave a comment on your post, you should respond to them as quickly as possible. This is an Instagram algorithm Reddit solution in 2021.
Respond to comments, engage with your followers’ content, and build genuine relationships. Meaningful interactions signal to the algorithm that your content is valuable.
Not only does responding to comments quickly look good in the eyes of your followers and potential new followers looking at your posts. But it also works with the Instagram algorithm to improve your chances of ranking as a Top Post for your hashtags.
9. Encourage Engagement and Use CTAs in Your Captions
This is another hack from Reddit to solve the Instagram algorithm in 2021. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. It’s a saying that’s way overused and misattributed (everyone knows Michael Scott said it first). But that’s because it’s true.
What is more likely to produce a Like or comment on your post? Asking to leave a Like or comment on your post. Or not asking to leave a Like or comment on your post?
The first one, obviously. At the same time, it isn’t guaranteed to produce any more Likes and comments than you would normally get. But the second option is guaranteed not to produce any additional Likes and/or comments because you’re not even asking in the first place.
And you’re CTA shouldn’t be as plain as “Leave a Like!”. This kind of CTA is completely one-sided and offers no value to the people looking at your posts.
So, encourage your audience to like, comment, and share your content. Ask questions, run polls, and create content that sparks conversations.
10. Optimize Your Profile and Switch to a Business Account
Instagram business accounts don’t rank better in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm. But they do allow you to measure your growth better. And also, provide your posts with more ways to engage with them.
We talked about Instagram Insights and why you should include them in your Instagram strategy. Before you can use them, however, you need to be using a business account.
Additionally, Have a clear and appealing profile. Use a recognizable profile picture and a concise bio that describes what you do.
In the evolving realm of social media, the Instagram Algorithm is a pivotal force that shapes your online experience. Through a nuanced interplay of engagement, content relevance, and timing, it crafts a feed tailored to your preferences. As you navigate the platform, remember that your actions mold your digital journey. In conclusion, understanding how the Instagram algorithm works is essential for anyone aiming to enhance their presence on the platform.
By understanding the algorithm’s nuances, you gain the power to optimize your Instagram experience, immersing yourself in a feed that resonates with your unique interests and passions. As the algorithm continues to evolve, adapting and aligning with its guidelines remains key to thriving in the dynamic landscape of Instagram.
Q1. How to reset Instagram algorithm?
Resetting the Instagram algorithm isn’t a direct action, but you can influence content suggestions by clearing search history, unliking/unfollowing irrelevant accounts, and engaging with new content. Diversify interactions with videos, photos, and stories, and follow new accounts related to current interests. Significant changes may take time, and focusing on genuine interactions and quality content remains crucial for a positive user experience.