If you care about how your posts perform in the Instagram news feed, you must familiarise yourself with the platform’s algorithm.
To maximise your content’s exposure on Instagram, it’s important to have a firm grasp on the platform’s algorithm and the various factors that go into its calculation.
Since its inception in 2010, Instagram’s news feed has displayed publications in reverse chronological order, with the most recent publications appearing at the top of the feed, followed by those shared at earlier times.
Even if the social network for sharing photographs and videos has grown rapidly in recent years, the sheer volume of new users and content has likely reduced the prominence of older stories in the news feed.
So, before Instagram finally abandoned the anti-chronological order in 2016, when they implemented an algorithm, users missed on average 70% of all publications and 50% of their friends’ publications.
When the service first went live, it had limited communication capabilities. The algorithm prioritised showing members content it determined would most likely interest them.
We also knew that factors such as our familiarity with the author and the publication’s timeliness were considered when deciding the display order.
Instagram provided additional information about its news feed earlier this year.
In this piece, I’ll explain the Instagram algorithm and answer some frequently asked questions. Then, I provide actionable suggestions for increasing your content’s exposure.
Can you explain the Instagram algorithm and the factors it uses?
Instagram’s algorithm considers numerous factors before deciding how to rank posts in users’ feeds.
There are primarily three causes:
- Shocking newness
- Because of the connection
- And there are also these three tertiary considerations:
- Said another way, how many people have signed up
Let’s break down each factor and examine it individually.
Instagram shows you posts that its algorithm determines are most relevant to your interests.
To do this, the algorithm will likely look at the types of content with which you are currently interacting and/or have interacted in the past.
If you have an interest in photography and like to read and comment on articles about the subject, the accounts you follow will likely provide you with more such articles in your news feed.
The precise method by which Instagram assigns a publication to a category remains unclear. However, it is safe to assume that research involving social media platforms like:
Accompanying the image may be a caption or a series of hashtags.
Because of advanced image recognition software, pictures can now be interpreted.
Freshness prioritises recently published content over older pieces that may have been sitting on servers for days or even weeks.
Photos of your best friend’s wedding from yesterday might be more interesting to you than the launch of a product from your favourite brand that has been prominently featured in your news feed due to positive engagement for several days.
So, Instagram considers how long ago an article was published, giving preference to more recent posts. However, depending on how recently you connected, the outcomes may change.
Because of the connection
When you spend more time with one account than with any other, you develop a stronger bond with it.
The following signals are analysed in order to determine the strength of the bond between the two accounts:
- Engagement with the account’s material (ex: like, comment, send via direct, save)
- Confidential Notes
- Locate the desired account by using the search bar.
- Existence of a real-world connection
Therefore, Instagram considers the relationship to distribute in your news feed more content from accounts with which you have a closer connection.
Similarly to what we’ve seen before, Instagram will prioritize content that’s relevant to you based on when you last visited.
However, the publication list is rearranged based on how quickly you browse. The news feed, in fact, rearranges its contents in a different way depending on how often the app is opened: every four hours or once a day.
If you connect frequently, you should know that your news feed may veer more toward anti-chronological mode over time.