Back before 2016, everybody on Instagram had the reverse-chronological feed but now every individual’s feed on Instagram has been changed and structured in a way that complies with the algorithm’s rules. The official creators of Instagram have been questioned on why they won’t go back to reverse-chronological order and they answered saying “Since switching to a ranked feed, the average post is now seen by 50% more followers than it did with the chronological model.” So it ultimately creates a better experience for everyone.
So, what is the best way to work with the algorithm? The Instagram algorithm is based on three primary ranking signals, timelessness, relationship and interest.
The more recent a post, the more likely they are going to be pushed to the top of people’s feed. This means that posting at a time when your audience is online is vital.
- Frequency of use – The algorithm shows the most popular and the best posts since the last time the Instagram user opened the app. If a user doesn’t check Instagram that often, they will only see your post if it is earning the most engagement.
- Following count – An Instagram user who follows thousands of accounts might not see every post from their followers. But if an Instagram user only follows a couple of hundred people, they are more likely to stay caught up with all posts that her followers put up.
- Session length – Users that spend over 40 minutes scrolling through their Instagram feed may see more posts, (even the ones that are underperforming) than somebody who spends only 5 minutes scrolling through their feed.
Instagram wants users to spend their time on the app for the reason that they genuinely enjoy it, not because they don’t want to stop scrolling. Because of this, the algorithm pushes up posts from Instagram accounts that a user usually interacts with most of the time. For creators and brands, this means that concentrating on engagement with the community is vital.
Tagging in posts, exchanging DMs, and leaving comments frequently are all steps that show Instagram that there is a close connection between these accounts (as well as reshares, views and likes).
If an Instagram user has enjoyed the specific type of posts before, it is more likely that the algorithm will present them that type of post on their Instagram feed in the future. An example would be if a user engages with business accounts or verified accounts often, they may be more likely to see posts from an Instagram account of that type. Another would be a user that mainly watch videos on Instagram, then they are going to see more video Instagram posts in the future.
Users who interact with Instagram posts like yours are expected to see your posts, so the algorithm gives Instagram users exactly what want, even if they don’t know it.
How to work with the Instagram algorithm
- Post consistently – To increase your chances with the algorithm on Instagram you should build an Instagram content calendar to keep you on track. Post content that you are happy with on a predictable schedule to get recognised by the algorithm.
- Use hashtags properly – Be sure to use hashtags that are relevant to your industry, audience and brand because it may annoy people and your business might get flagged for using misleading hashtags.
- Monitor analytics – Monitoring your analytics is one of the best ways to understand how the algorithm sees your Instagram page and posts as a brand and how your audience feels. Analytics will tell you what you are doing right and how to continue with it.
- Build relationships – Build relationships and increase engagement with your followers by asking questions on your story, talk to your followers through DMs, like and comment on your follower’s posts and respond quickly to comments on your posts.
- Post strategically – Be sure to post when your audience is online. You can take a look at your audience’s user habits and use a scheduler to post your Instagram posts when they are online and paying attention
- How the Instagram Algorithm Works - 4th January 2021
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- How important is SEO and online marketing during COVID-19 pandemic? - 9th September 2020
Although I am fresh to the marketing industry, I feel like I have slotted into the team at Seriously Helpful like a little puzzle piece! I like to think I am reliable and a good friend to those who need me – I don’t beat around the bush! I spend a lot of my time looking at screens, usually scrolling through social media, working or watching films and series – I pretend I like the outdoors, but I only really go outside when I start looking pale and need to top-up my tan.