• Dawn Kubicek

How The Instagram Algorithm Works And 5 Tips To Outsmart It


With over one billion active users, Instagram continues to grow as one of the most popular social media platforms. The competition is getting tougher and brands put a lot of effort online to make sure their Instagram account gets maximum reach and engagement.


Now, are you wondering how Instagram decides what content shows up first in your Feed and Stories? You are not alone! The past social algorithm updates have greatly affected brands’ organic reach and engagement, making it harder for marketers to figure out the changes on the platform. Recently, Instagram published a blog post to give us a better understanding of the Instagram algorithm.


In this blog, Leaders In Digital breaks down the basics of how the algorithm really works, and some Instagram content strategies to ensure you are maximizing your brand’s organic reach.


How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work?


In 2016, Instagram ended its reverse-chronological feed to prioritize timely, fresh posts relevant to user's interests. Instagram is made up of “a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes” tailored to shape what users see first on the app. For Stories and Feed, Instagram uses key signals to decide what content to show people. Here are the signals that Instagram use, in order of importance:

  • Information about the post. These are signals both about how popular a post is – think how many people have liked it – and more mundane information about the content itself, like when it was posted, how long it is if it’s a video, and what location, if any, was attached to it.

  • Information about the person who posted. This helps us get a sense of how interesting the person might be to you, and includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.

  • Your activity. This helps us understand what you might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts you’ve liked.

  • Your history of interacting with someone. This gives us a sense of how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person. An example is whether or not you comment on each other’s posts.

Instagram continues to work on updating and refining their algorithm. It’s important to understand how the algorithm works and create future-proof content strategy for your brand. Backed by data, here are 5 tactics to help you boost your Instagram presence.


5 Tips To Outsmart The Instagram Algorithm


1. Start With Consistent Publishing

You can’t “feed” the algorithm unless you’ve put enough content on your account. Consistency requires planning, don’t sacrifice the quality of your posts for quantity.


Don’t forget to know when is the best time to post your content on Instagram. Publishing during peak times will help you sync up when your target audience is using the app. Social Sprout recommends posting in the mornings and early afternoons during the week.


2. Make Use Of Carousels And Multi-Photo Posts

Keep in mind that posts with more engagement are rewarded with more reach. Carousel posts can make up to 3x the engagement and 1.4x the reach compared to other types of organic, in-feed content.


Brands can make use of carousels to show off their products from different angles, or by sharing tips and tutorials.


3. Put Out Stories On A Regular Basis

While Stories don’t have much influence on the algorithm, it gives brands a great push to be at the front and center of their followers’ feeds. Putting Stories on a regular basis will keep your profile popping up on the feed, making it more likely for your followers to check out your content.


Instagram Stories are also a good way to engage your followers with its features such as Q&A Stickers, Polls, and Live. These features will encourage your followers to always view your content and build familiarity with your brand for the long-term.


4. Use Better Hashtags

Using the right hashtags on your posts can help people discover your brand, even if they don’t follow you. Include hashtags as part of your content strategy to ensure that your posts are searchable. Dig around what’s the best hashtags to use for your niche and make sure they’re highly relevant to your posts.


5. Explore Creating Video Content

Video content has been booming on social media over the past years now. Videos are autoplays in your followers’ feeds, so it's a surefire way to catch their attention. Following the algorithm, we want our followers to spend longer time engaging with our profile. It doesn’t need to be a full-blown production video, what’s more important is you’re producing some form of video.


There is no instant way to get higher reach and engagement in social media. Start building your brand's online presence today. Contact us and let’s beat the Instagram algorithm together!


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