The Instagram Algorithm UncoveredInside Instagram Algorithm

It’s been over two years since Instagram changed their software to an algorithm which saw posts appear on feeds based on what Instagram believes you want to see. Previously the newest post appeared first, but since their update in 2016 users have a completely personalised order for their feed, with what Instagram thinks you care most to see featured at the very top.

As an Instagram user it did take a lot of getting used to, but from a business perspective the new algorithm caused concern that engagement and conversion rates would drop, since users may completely miss posts all together.

Earlier this year, in March, Instagram announced improvements to their feed.

What’s New (ish) With Instagram?

It’s Now More Chronological Than Before

Whilst feeds are still algorithm based rather than chronological, Instagram made changes to ensure that newer posts are more likely to appear first in your feed. It’s less likely you’ll miss any posts and your feed will feel fresher, but it is still based on what Instagram thinks you want to see first.

Instagram commented, “Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing more about improvements we’re making to feed. Our goal is to be the best place to share and connect with the people and interests that matter most to you.”

Every business knows, or at least they should, that Instagram is algorithm based and shows the most relevant posts at the top of a user’s feed. But how the algorithm works has always been a bit of a mystery, until Instagram invited a group of journalists to its San Francisco office to spill the beans.

Instagram Ranking Criteria

You may follow the same accounts as someone else, but your posts may appear in a completely different order because the algorithm is based on individual past behaviour. There are three main ranking factors:Inside Instagram Algorithm

1. Interest: what Instagram thinks you will most likely like to see, posts which are predicted to matter to you (which is decided by your behaviour on similar content) are given the highest ranking.

2. Recency: the age of a post is considered; more recent posts are likely to be given a higher ranking than ones that are a few days old.

3. Relationship: your affiliation with the post also influences the rank, those you have interacted with a lot, for example by liking, commenting and sharing their posts or tagging one another in them, will suggest a strong relationship so a higher ranking is achieved.

There are other factors considered too:

Frequency: how often you use Instagram may be a factor, Instagram will try to show you the best posts since you were last active.

Inside Instagram AlgorithmFollowing: if you follow a lot of accounts, the algorithm needs to work harder to order your content and decide what to show you each time you open the app. The larger number of accounts you follow the less you may see from each individual account. If you follow a smaller number of accounts, you are more likely to see more from your favourite accounts.

Usage: if you browse your feed for a few moments or you spend a considerable amount of time on your feed it will affect what you are shown. Short visitors will typically see the most relevant posts whereas regular users who browse for a while will likely see fresh content.

Why Are We Telling You This?

The Instagram algorithm benefits both businesses and people, “Instagram doesn’t give extra feed presence to personal accounts or business accounts, so switching won’t help your reach.”

Its important businesses know how Instagram’s Algorithm works so they can create and share their own posts which maximise engagement.

There may be a transition from Facebook marketing to Instagram marketing over the few next years, especially since Facebook are having a tough 2018.

Learn more about Instagram:

Why not check out our Digital Marketing Terms Glossary?

About the author: 

Marie Harwood is a Digital Marketing Assistant at Different Gravy Digital, Hale, Cheshire.

Different Gravy Digital are a full service Digital Marketing Agency operating in the Hospitality & Leisure, Financial Services, Legal & Property sectors.  Products and services range from; 3D & 360° Tours, Website Design & Build, Social Media, Video Production, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Content Creation, Email Marketing, Online Feedback / Review Systems and Paid Advertising (Google, Bing and Social Media).

Contact Details:

0161 706 000

120a Ashley Road, Hale, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2UN