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Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms in recent years, with over one billion monthly active users. That number has grown significantly after implementing new changes that de-prioritized posts from users’ followers, favouring content from brands and celebrities. This has placed many photographers at risk of losing their following by introducing an algorithm that sorts posts based on relevance rather than chronological order. While this update aimed at making Instagram less cluttered, it could have the opposite effect for some brands.
Learn the latest upgrades and how the algorithms impact the experiences that users have across the app here.
What is ‘the algorithm’?
As opposed to a misleading concept, Instagram uses several algorithms and simulations designed for a unique purpose. To achieve this, Instagram uses customized technology to ensure its users get the best experience. From feed to reels, Instagram uses distinctive algorithm features with regards to how people use it.
How the Instagram Algorithm Works
The Instagram algorithm designs and decides what content to display. Every time a person logs onto the app, the algorithm instantly scans through available options.
The decisions may involve:
- The posts to top the newsfeed, and in which order
- The posts featured on the explore tab
- The order stories and live videos, reels appear on respective accounts and others.
Basically, the Instagram algorithm is a set of rules that control content’s organic search and reach. Yet, it gets much criticism for this. However, Instagram argues that before the algorithm came to be in 2016, people missed circa 70% of their friends and posts.
Ranking of Instagram Feed and Stories
Over the years, we have gathered that feed and stories are where users want to see uploaded content of their family members and close friends.
Algorithm rankings involve various steps:
- Information about the post
Comprises the signals about the popularity of a post, the likes, and most importantly, a vivid description of the location and time posted.
The algorithm assumes that your past interactions will be interested in your new uploads. It overtly shows your followers a post after a keen evaluation of your relationship. Evaluation is done by checking:
- Do you follow each other?
- Do they save your posts?
- How often do they search you by name?
- Do you tag each other?
- How often are they in your direct messages; do they comment on your posts?
Rest assured, engaging with your followers plays a significant role in increasing your organic reach.
- Your Timeline
The Instagram algorithm assumes that users’ most recent posts hold great importance to them. For brands, it is one of the easiest ways to improve their outreach.
The algorithm’s work is to give users what they want. Through tracking user affinity, given a photo or clip, Instagram’s subtle technology knows how to get football highlights to football fans. For brands, defining your niche to your target audience is critical.
How to control what you see on Instagram
If you are a heavy Instagram user, your track record easily influences what you see. You can help improve your online experience by:
- Carefully picking your close friends.
- Mute users that you are not interested in.
- Ensure to mark the posts you dislike as ‘Not interested.’
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Ultimately, content ranking and moderation technology is only part of the equation. More work is ongoing to ensure users get the best Instagram experience, as that has always been the plan.
Stay tuned for further updates.