Here's How the Instagram Algorithm Works Today - and How to Make It Work for YOU!

Here is How the Instagram Algorithm Works Today and How to Make It Work for YOU!

It is difficult to find a person who doesn’t have an account on Instagram as it is one of the most popular social networking platforms today. Such popularity makes many companies, shops, and organizations move to this space. However, one should be aware of algorithms that influence account success. These algorithms change often, so the tactic that worked yesterday may be inefficient today. For example, regular posting and adding hashtags doesn’t work the same as it might have before. Using inefficient technique based on past knowledge of the Instagram algorithm will hardly help you reach your target audience.

That’s why you need to discover and understand recent Instagram Story algorithms, peculiarities of posting, etc. Knowing them, you will be able to keep up with the recent tendencies of the Instagram algorithm, and hence update your Instagram marketing strategy quickly and enjoy the best results.

One important point should be made here: As Instagram has said, there is no one algorithm but a variety of algorithms and other things that Instagram uses to display content. Although we refer to a singular Instagram algorithm in this post, understand that there is more complexity to it and it will be different for every user.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work for Posting?

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work for Posting?

The posts that the user sees while scrolling through the feed are impacted by the latest Instagram algorithm. Due to specific signals, the algorithm puts the most relevant posts to the top, making them more visible for the user. The rest of the content is placed down. Even though the Instagram algorithm can change at every minute, there are a few factors that will always be important for a successful Instagram strategy.

  • Relationship with the user. After an interaction of a particular person with at least one of your posts, he/she will be more likely to see the rest of your content. This way, you can ensure constant engagement on your posts and build a loyal audience.
  • The post is relevant. When the post is published on Instagram, the algorithm assigns a relevancy score to it. This influences which it shows in the entire feed.
  • Users’ interest. In this case, the signal depends on whether the person interacts with analogous accounts and posts while exploring Instagram. Other people who interact with similar content may see your posts as well.

Besides, a few general considerations should be taken into consideration as well:

  • Commercial accounts have the same organic reach as personal accounts have, and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise at this point in time.
  • If the person follows many accounts, it will be more difficult for you to stand out in the crowd and spot in the feed.
  • In case the user doesn’t spend much time on Instagram, the chances for your content to reach more people are decreasing.

How Does the Instagram Story Algorithm Work?

Users see the stories of accounts that they interact with most of all. Likes, comments, and other engagement signals are taken into consideration as well. Now people use location hashtags in Stories to mention the location that is getting more and more popular. In other words, the more a person is engaged with your account via Stories, the more likely he/she will see the updates each time that you add new content. It doesn’t matter whether they are looking for a professional service to “write my paper” or a new dress; Instagram users today seem to prefer watching Instagram Stories as much as or even more than scrolling down their feed.

Further Reading: 8 Ways How to Use Instagram Stories for Online Store Promotion in 2024

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work for IGTV and Reels

The algorithm for Instagram Reels and IGTV works the same as for the feed. A person who interacts with your account is more likely to see your updates in Reels and IGTV. You can easily boost the visibility of Reels by adding them to the feed and adding hashtags. As for the visibility of IGTV, you need to share a preview to your feed.

Now you may be wondering how all mentioned information may impact your marketing strategy. Let’s discover how you can use these details about the Instagram algorithm to reach more customers.

9 Tips to Intelligently Make the Instagram Algorithms Work for YOU!

If you aim to boost the popularity of your account, engage more users and achieve particular business or private goals, then you’ll want to follow these tips. They will help you best adapt to the Instagram algorithm and squeeze as much ROI from your Instagram efforts.

1. Focus your effort into building relationships

Focus your effort into building relationships

Nowadays, you should always keep the interest of the users to your account to occupy the leading position. Here are a few reliable options for creating relationships with your followers that will help you do that:

  1. Share user-generated content on Stories. This content includes videos and pictures that other people post while mentioning your brand. This way, you will inspire other individuals to order products/services in case they are still hesitant. Also, they will be eager to share your tag as well. Such expansion of your Instagram footprint will positively influence your marketing strategy. And if not one is talking about your brand, that is where you should engage Instagram influencers and consider gifting product to them to generate word-of-mouth.
  2. Create content for IGTV. Here you need to produce immersive videos that usually occupy the entire screen. You never know which of your followers actually prefer long-form video on Instagram.
  3. Share Reels. These are short, funny clips that you can post on Instagram. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate your creativity, so feel free to add effects, audio, and other tools to attract more Instagram followers. Reels are at the moment being aggressively shown on the feeds of Instagram users, so take advantage of the current state of the Instagram algorithm!

The Instagram algorithm seems to prioritize content from its newest features such as Reels. If you want to be one step ahead of your competitors, you should widen your horizons, experiment with new features, present unique content and do your best to attract more people, find potential customers and, in general, take advantage of social networks in every possible way.

2. Comment on the posts of other people and brands

Building relationships with potential clients is a great idea for getting engaged with users. For this, you need to leave interesting comments on the posts from relevant influencers, potential customers, businesses, etc. As a result, you are increasing the visibility of your account, as people may get interested in the author of particular comments and go to his or her page. Mind your target audience and think well what type of accounts they may be interested in. Follow them, comment, and get involved in conversations.

It is very important to add some value instead of taking it as a chance to appear on the stage. For instance, you want to leave a comment that would prompt a person to check your profile, get acquainted with your product, and leave a comment. It means that you should perform these same steps and write a meaningful comment in a similar way.

Instagram allows you to switch on the notifications about new posts from specific accounts, so you can comment on them immediately after they publish and increase the probability of your comment being seen. Also, remember to follow particular hashtags to engage in the related posts that are using these tags. This way, you can optimize your account for better engagement rates.

3. Publish content when your followers are active

Publish content when your followers are active

You can increase the chances that people will see your posts in case you choose the peak posting time. It may take you some effort to discover a suitable time, but after all, it will be well worth your efforts. 

Start with the Instagram Analytics report that is included in all Business profiles. Tap on the Audience tab (Insights) and scroll down. Finally, you will see a small section with information on when your followers are online. The data is available for hours on definite days or by days within the entire week. Afterward, you need to try posting at this time to understand whether it is really effective or not.

Try experimenting with slightly different times on different days to find your sweet spot and proceed forward from there.

Further Reading: When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram for the Maximum Engagement?

4. Use hashtags for reaching active followers

Think well about the hashtags that your followers may potentially use to look for the information that you are providing and leverage them to reach a new audience. 

The most active hashtags are community hashtags. Even though these hashtags do not have so many posts, they have already been searched and circulated by groups that want to get in touch with others who want to pick up relevant content. Of course, these hashtags differ by industry, but you can spot the most popular ones for your niche and use them under your posts. However, do not use only these hashtags. Look through the posts that are mentioning them as well. Simple likes or reposts may increase the chances for your profile to be seen by more people.

Further Reading: 8 Powerful Ways How to Use Instagram Hashtags for More Exposure

5. Reply to comments at once

Reply to comments at once

Perhaps you have seen how many messages successful business profiles get per day. They try to respond at once, so you should do the same. This way, you will show that your business is responsible and hence earn more engagement. Also, by answering a simple question, you may start the conversation and provoke people to wait for your next posts.

6. Take direct messages into account

The private messaging platform is gaining more popularity because many individuals choose this option to ask questions. Direct messages usually include longer conversations, so it is a good way to build relationships with the follower one-to-one. This option is also great when you need to get in touch with the customers, influencers, potential partners and clarify some important issues after seeing the post or Stories. Mind that this strategy shouldn’t be applied to everybody, as you need to be selective. In any case, do not mix all conversations and focus on each one separately.

7. Repost old content

Repost old content

If you have no idea what to post but still want to attract followers and even remind yourself about yourself, then consider sharing old content on Stories. This way, you will reach the users once again that is crucially important if your following is boosting. As a result, your previous content is at the top and visible for people who may not have seen it before. There is no need to delete the post and publish it again. Just add it to the Stories and enjoy the users’ engagement. Do it smartly and don’t irritate your audience with the same pictures that they can easily see by scrolling down your gallery.

8. Encourage users’ engagement on Stories

Posts in the feed a different Instagram algorithm than Stories have. Stories are recognized as the best option to communicate with followers and build brand loyalty. As a result, you will get more engagement, thus more reach. Here are a few ways you can use Instagram Stories to combat the algorithm:

  • Share Stories of other users. As you know, Instagram notifies you when somebody mentions you on a Story. The same works for you. Hence, share the Stories of other users to boost engagement with them and also encourage your followers to choose any of your posts and share them on their Stories.
  • Add branded hashtags and hashtag stickers. When people click on such stickers, they are taken to the posts with the same hashtags. Adding a location tag would also be a great idea to help your content be shown up in local searches.
  • Use interactive stickers to inspire engagement. The question sticker, for example, let you ask a certain question and then post the answers later. As a result, you get more content that is interesting for the followers to interact with.

9. Collaborate with influencers

Collaborate with influencers

Most successful businesses and those companies that only began their path on Instagram are cooperating with influencers. Influencer marketing, as well as Instagram advertising, can help you boost organic reach and enjoy nice results. Of course, these two options require investments, but after all, it is your chance to increase the overall income in the long run.

Summing Up the Instagram Algorithm

The Instagram algorithm is constantly changing, and it will keep changing for sure. The only stable thing you can build in Instagram as well as social media in general is relationships. For building good relationships, you need to publish content regularly, not only in the feed but on Stories as well. Consider the above tips to boost your followers’ engagement. You should think out of the box and include engaging, useful, and catchy content. The Instagram algorithm will certainly reward you for doing so!

Further Reading: A 17-Step Plan to Launch (or Revise) Your Instagram Marketing Strategy

Author Bio

Jean S. Hartley is a professional writer for a paper writing service. For 6 years now she has been helping students learn to write correctly and also assists them in preparing for exams.

Hero photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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