How the Instagram algorithm actually works

Since 2016 the Instagram algorithm was introduced and it changed the whole Social Media game. The idea of the algorithm is that you are supposed to “see the posts that really matter to you”. Back in the day you would see all posts in chronological order and now it is based on ranking. You will now see posts that are either from a few hours ago or from days ago.

This new algorithm changed the way Social Influencers could interact with their followers and changed the interactions they were receiving on their post.

Why did it change?

According to Instagram the algorithm was introduced as we were missing about 70% of the content on our own feeds, in particular the ones that meant most to us from family and friends. The change allowed for us to see about 90% from our friends and family  and feeds are not dominated by accounts that post regularly.

How does it work?

Using machine learning, patterns can be identified and Instagram will serve up posts it thinks you’re going to like an interact with. This is dependent on your historical usage – what type of posts you have liked and interacted with in the past, and who the post is from.

In the case of Instagram, the algorithm learns from the data of your usage of the app, identifies patterns in things you like, and show content and posts to you based on that information. The more you use it, the better it works.

Friends and family are seen as the people you interact most with, whether that’s direct messages, watching stories or likes and comments on a post.

Instagram also uses its parent company Facebook for data on who you are friends with on Facebook and you’ll be more likely to see posts from them as they think you like one another.

How to work around it?

There is a way to crack the code and that is: spend more time on Instagram. If you use Instagram as your Social Influencer Marketing strategy, make sure you interact with as many people as possible. It is more likely that they will interact back and you’ll be more likely found on their feeds.

What else does this “machine” look at?

The algorithm looks at how much engagement you get and how quickly you get your likes. One way to get more engagement is the use of #hashtags in your description (not the comments) to get more viewers.

It also looks at how long people spend viewing your post. Crafting great Instagram Captions might be the key!

Have you ever noticed that when you start searching for certain genres, all of a sudden more of that pops up in your feed? Machine work at its best.

Optimising your post for Influence

The Instagram Marketer of today has to be extremely diligent – create a strong call-to-action, use the right combination of hashtags, post at the best possible time and creating an attractive Instagram page.
It is a lot of work, but according to a recent study 78% of consumers make purchasing decisions that are influenced by a brand’s social media (and you can influence them to buy it and get paid for it!)

Try Social Pilot if you want to make it easier to get your posts scheduled on time so you don’t have to think about that while creating great content!

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