The Instagram algorithm has been continually evolving to enhance user experience and engagement. In 2023, Instagram released another explanation of how the latest algorithm works (Instagram, 2023a).
This is huge for marketers because it will change how content is developed for Instagram while also removing some of the guesswork that was being done from 2021 onwards, with changes in the algorithm going unaddressed.
In this post, we’ll review how to work with the new Instagram algorithm and what you need to know about it.
The Instagram Algorithm: A History
The Instagram algorithm has undergone many changes and alterations.
The first notable change was when they altered the Instagram feed and stopped showing posts chronologically, instead showing what would be most valuable for the user. Instagram determined that this was a necessary change in 2016, claiming that most people were missing 70% of all the posts in their feeds, including almost half of posts from their close connections.
In 2021, Instagram decided to shed more light on the algorithm through a blog post (Instagram, 2021). It outlined that it uses multiple algorithms tailored for different app sections to personalize user experiences. The ranking of content is based on various signals and user interactions. It also said it was working to clarify content removal reasons, improve user notifications, and allow users to influence what they see.
Fast forward to 2023, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has shed more light on the platform’s ranking system, introducing new features and offering greater transparency.
Updated Insights on Instagram’s Algorithm
How the “Algorithm” Works 📝
– “The Algorithm” (or actually algorithms)
– Ranking Stories
– Ranking Feed
– Ranking Reels
– Ranking Explore
– How to Grow Your Audience
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) May 31, 2023
Instagram employs a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each tailored to different parts of the app, such as Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels, and Search. The aim is to optimize user experience by personalizing content based on individual preferences and interactions.
The Feed is a mix of content from followed accounts, recommended content, and ads. It considers user activity, information about the post and the poster, and user history with the poster to rank content. Instagram has introduced features like Favorites and Following to allow users to customize their Feeds further.
Stories aim to bring users closer to their interests. The ranking of Stories considers viewing history, engagement history, and closeness to the author. Users can influence what Stories they see through interactions and features like Close Friends.
Explore and Reels Ranking
Explore and Reels are designed for content discovery, primarily from accounts users don’t follow. The ranking in these sections is influenced by user activity, interaction history, information about the post, and the person who posted it. Instagram has implemented Recommendation Guidelines to ensure content quality (Instagram, 2023b).
User Influence and Control
Users have significant control over what they see on Instagram. Features like Sensitive Content Control, “Not Interested” indications, and “Hidden Words” allow users to customize their experience. Additionally, Instagram has introduced Account Status to increase transparency regarding content visibility and eligibility for recommendations.
Instagram has acknowledged concerns about “shadowbanning” and emphasized its commitment to transparency and creator growth. Features like Account Status and new notifications have been introduced to inform creators about content visibility and reach.
5 Updated Instagram Management Tips
1. Deliver High-Value Content and Post regularly
Remember that Instagram wants you to stay on its platform, so if you post regularly, Instagram may show your page to more people. Another tip is to keep track of your posts that receive the most saves and interactions and upload more content like that. Saves are a great way to see which of your content is providing value to your audience.
2. Connect With Other Accounts Within Your Niche
Look for accounts with more followers than you have or are performing well in your niche. If you’re stuck for ideas, you can reference their actions or start interacting with their content. By doing so, you may end up attracting their audience to your page.
3. Engage Authentically
Continue to deliver high-value content and engage authentically with your audience. Authenticity remains key in building a loyal follower base.
4. Understand and Monitor Account Status
Regularly check your Account Status to understand content eligibility for recommendations. Appeal any discrepancies and stay informed about new transparency features.
5. Stay Updated and Informed
Follow official Instagram accounts like @creators and @mosseri for the latest updates, tools, and tips. Utilize resources like the Creator Lab and Instagram’s interactive site to understand ranking and best practices.
Instagram engagement is sometimes hard to come by, even when you have a large follower count. But by understanding and working with the algorithm, you can find your way back to the top of the Explore page. Social media is about being social — and Instagram, more than ever, rewards people for doing just that.