How does the Instagram Algorithm work?



The image that Instagram and youtube influencers paint us when talking about the “algorithm”, as if it were some tyrannous demi-god has definitely not made us a fan of the idea of it.


But what is this controlling, cold and devious being that crushes brands’ and people’s careers within a blink of an eye, yet is responsible for making most of them a huge sensation overnight as well?


The Algorithm of any Social Media app, for the non-programmers here, is what is responsible for promoting content from public and private accounts.


It is also responsible for the sequence of posts on your feed, and, as in Instagram’s case, how much viewer reach you get that is not acquired by your direct interaction with people. It is basically what makes new individuals discover new content, and pushes more content in their faces tirelessly, continuously and diligently.


Fortunately and unfortunately it changes a little or entirely quite frequently.


As these algorithms change, the previous marketing strategies may turn out to be less powerful and less effective tomorrow. That is the only major reason why your marketing and content distribution strategy needs to evolve alongside the algorithm changes.


Here are a few ways to help you overcome Instagram’s algorithm limitations.


  1. Know about the present algorithms information


Instagram posted a few factors that the algorithm takes into account for pushing forward creator content in June 2018.


It is needless to say that the algorithm will most definitely change, if not soo but eventually. However there are a few points that more or less stay the same, so building most of your marketing strategies around there pointers might help ensure a little stability in your content promotion.


  • Engagement with the viewer is what will ensure that that particular viewer sees more of your content pushed to the top of their feeds. So maximising interaction with as many individuals of your audience as possible is one way to go.


  • The interest of a user is another solid factor in how the algorithm promotes content. A user may not be following your page, or may not even remotely know of your brand, however if they do keep up an interest within content similar to yours, your content will be pushed to the top of their feeds as well.


  • The classic and understandable recency of posted content factor will somewhat more or less always stay the same, so posting frequently at a time of most internet traffic keeps your content freshly relevant and pushed to most people.


Among other snippets of information that Instagram shared with us is that


  • While a user within your demographic audience follows more accounts similar to you, the fight for the top spot in their feed continues as a rivalry between all these similar accounts that the individual follows.


  • If the user does not spend a large amount of time on their Instagram feeds, the probability of them seeing your posts decreases unless you already are positioned at the few top slots of their feed.


  • Quite obviously, business accounts have a better chance for promotion by the algorithm than private and personal accounts. This encourages any personal account holder to immediately switch their account to business when using the same account for public and business reasons.


2) Consistent posting


The key to attaining traction with the Instagram algorithm is by trying to out beat it by posting frequently. However it is to be made clear that over-posting on frequent intervals, and posting frequently are two very different strategies.


The fine line between them is determined when you create a social media content calendar to keep you on track and precise with posts frequency. This saves you from over saturating the feed with your content that will not prove to be effective when it comes to the algorithm for several reasons.


You should know that “consistent” is a highly subjective term on this social platform. The label of consistency is unique to your own brand, you determine and set it yourself. Just be sure to create a set schedule and adhere to it religiously, because from there it only gets better.


For any brand planning on actually taking this tip seriously, the frequency of your posting depends on your resources at hand, internet traffic hours, and so on and so forth.


So make sure to plan, reconsider and replan what you think is the best strategic calendar for your posting frequency.


3. Your Analytics is a huge help


Instagram analytics provide you with an overview of what kind and type of content your audience gravitated towards the most, and within that scale of variation you’ll be able to tell what your audience wants to see from you the most.


Hence, analytics is, quite obviously, the primary way to figure out precisely what kind of content will get the most reach and user views after being put through the algorithm.


4. Reuse and repost your previous content


Specifically, your previous top performing content.


Remix, re-use and repost all of this previous content amidst the new content to take users back to what did well previously, and what would definitely entice them and many more.


The second reason why you should be reposting is that keeping up with a content calendar is hard. Producing several pieces and forms of original content in a day is ever harder.


So instead of piling in a whole load of low performing ideas, it is better to invest some time into better and more original, more meticulously calculated content while still posting top rated posts and while sticking to rule one tip #1 religiously.



5. Use the appropriate hashtags


Hashtags are one of the most important tools in terms of algorithm-related promotion and use.


Hashtags stand largely timeless in relation to new algorithm changes or improvements, and so ensuring that you use the appropriate hashtags within your post, and using the appropriate ones repetitively also makes sure that your content appears at least among the top posts from accounts and content similar to yours.


Whether your content makes it to the very top among this array of content now depends on if you utilise every possible tip to beat the algorithm.