On the 8th June, Instagram issued an announcement about how it’s algorithms work.

Well, it’s still not a definitive answer, but it’s an answer DIRECT from Instagram themselves.

“It’s hard to trust what you don’t understand. We want to do a better job of explaining how Instagram works. There are a lot of misconceptions out there, and we recognize that we can do more to help people understand what we do. Today, we’re sharing the first in a series of posts that will shed more light on how Instagram’s technology works and how it impacts the experiences that people have across the app.”

Adam Mosseri

It said algorithms as there are actually multiple ones working behind the scenes and for Feed, Explore and Reels.

We use a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose. We want to make the most of your time, and we believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that.

How Instagram Ranks Your Feed

For Feed – it is as most people have worked out.

It comes down to POPULARITY, INFORMATION ABOUT THE POST, WHO POSTED and if that person is relevant to you because you’ve had an INTERACTION with them.

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The signals that determine what appears in your feed is based on multiple factors to do with popularity:

  • How many people like the content

  • Information about the post:

    • The content type
    • How old (or how recent the content was published

    • How long the video is (subtle hint that Instagram loves video)
    • LOCATION (That’s why location tags are important)

Then Instagram is looking at who posted and whether that person is of interest to you. It determined this by:

  • Whether you have interacted with that person in the last few weeks.

Next it looks at activity

  • Would you be interested in this post?

  • Have you liked other similar posts?

Then interaction

  • Do you comment on each other’s posts?

“From there we make a set of predictions. These are educated guesses at how likely you are to interact with a post in different ways. There are roughly a dozen of these.

In Feed, the five interactions we look at most closely are how likely you are to spend a few seconds on a post, comment on it, like it, save it, and tap on the profile photo. The more likely you are to take an action, and the more heavily we weigh that action, the higher up you’ll see the post. We add and remove signals and predictions over time, working to get better at surfacing what you’re interested in.”


Here’s another indicator that ENGAGEMENT on posts is also vital.

If people tend to like, save, check out the profile, comment or LINGER – then these are good indications to the algorithms that your content is valuable,

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What about Stories?

There are a few cases where we try to take other considerations into account. One example of this is where we try to avoid showing too many posts from the same person in a row. Another example is Stories that were “reshared” from Feed: until recently, we valued these Stories less, because we’ve heard consistently that people are more interested in seeing original Stories. But we see a swell of reshared posts in big moments – everything from the World Cup to social unrest – and in these moments people were expecting their Stories to reach more people than they did, so we stopped.

This suggests that there is still value in re-sharing your posts to your Stories, but I’d always recommend adding some additional value so you’re not showing the same exact content to followers.

What does this mean for businesses on Instagram?

For businesses utilising Instagram, this is clear evidence about how VITALLY important it is to communicate and engage with your current and potential customers in order to make social media work and impact your bottom line.

Having content that is valuable, shareable and makes people save, comment, like and linger (think Carousels) – is all-important for reach.

Simply broadcasting statements, offers and news, without considering how to engage your customer base could keep you in obscurity (without masses of ad spend that is).

There is no shortcut to engagement and creating engaging content I’m afraid.

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