How does the Instagram algorithm actually work? This question is asked often by creators, businesses, and others just trying to grow their Instagram accounts.
Recently Instagram has moved away from a “chronological feed”, and is putting more valuable content in front of you that you’re more likely to engage with and like. This recent shift has users wondering if videos perform better than photos, or how they can get their posts to be seen by more of their followers. Also, the ongoing hashtag dilemma is a constant battle of figuring out which hashtags to use for further visibility.
Basically, there are 6 key factors that influences what instagram shows on your feed. Interest, Relationship, Timeliness, Frequency, Following, and Usage. But keep in mind that even if you think you’ve narrowed down each of these perfectly – the Instagram algorithm is always changing. Your Instagram feed isn’t just based on who you follow, it’s also based on who and what you like. If the Instagram algorithm thinks you will “like” a post, the there’s a higher probability that it will appear on your feed. So the biggest change is that your Instagram feed is a combination of your behaviors on Instagram which include; the friends you interact with, the stories you watch, people who tag you, and of course any posts and content that you like and engage with often.
So you might ask which engagement are most important? Instagram has prioritized any content that receives the most engagement which includes Saves, Shares, Comments, and Likes – in that order. If you are looking at video content, then any content that is shareable and savable will yield more views according to the Instagram algorithm. Since the social platform is moving towards more “community” driven and valuable content, rather than just photos, it’s also important to know that establishing a community and following is essential for growth. Instagram will push your content to a small percentage of your followers, and if they engage with your post then Instagram will broaden your reach to more followers and so on, which ultimately allows your content to then be visible through hashtags and the explore page – and that is where you will see real growth and a much larger reach.
Although engagement is key for success with the new algorithm, there are other factors to consider that can also boost your profile’s growth. Timeliness of posting, Frequency, and App Usage can be secondary ways to continue getting those likes and comments on your posts. Instagram pays attention to how long ago you posted a photo to keep your feed updated and interesting. A great way to boost your profile in the algorithm’s favor is to find the best time to post for your followers. If you post at the times your followers are online then you have a much better chance of racking up more likes and comments because they will actually see your post. Another factor to consider is how often you open the Instagram app – yes Instagram keeps track of this. If you’re a frequent scroller, then your feed will look more “chronological” since Instagram tries to show you anything new since your last visit. On the flip side, if you aren’t as active then your feed will be more prioritized to show you the more important posts you may have missed.
Overall the Instagram algorithm is always changing, and the key to growth is adapting and changing right along with it. While you’re trying to understand Instagram’s algorithm, keep in mind their main themes: Interest, Relationship, Timeliness, Frequency, Following, and Usage. Once you’ve mastered behind the scenes, then you’re ready to start posting!