How Instagram Algorithm Works

Instagram leaped in 2021. It experienced a lot of changes and growth last year. According to a social media agency Hong Kong, when Adam Mosseri announced that it no longer is a photo-sharing app, the Instagram Chief obviously pointed a big climb from its humble roots.

A digital marketing speaker Hong Kong highlights that Instagram is the 7th most visited site globally. Since its birth in October 2010, it has matured a lot as it turns 12 this year. What’s exciting for a video marketing agency Hong Kong is that Instagram switched into a photo-and-video-sharing app. Instead of focusing on square images. It has grown to focus on rich media.

In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram. From 27 million monthly active users (MAU), it now stands with 2 billion MAUs. It is also the 4th most used social media platform, with 1 out of 2 users discovering a brand. For brands and businesses looking to reach a better handle of Instagram marketing this 2022, here’s an overview of how the Instagram algorithm works.

What Is Instagram Algorithm?

The Instagram algorithm uses classifiers and processes that function uniquely. It started with single photo streams arranged chronologically. In 2016, the big boom in Instagram membership caused many users to miss 50% of their Instagram feeds. So, the platform started ranking posts on what the users cared most about.

The Instagram algorithm is now tailored to an Instagrammer’s activity within the app. It means that each part of the app – Explore, feeds, Reels, Stories – used its own algorithm based on how people use it. For example, Instagrammers look for their closest friends on IG feeds and Stories. But they want to discover something new on Explore and Reels. So, Instagram ranks things differently on different parts of the app.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Rank Explore?

Instagram Explore is designed to help Instagrammers discover new things. To personalize recommendations, here’s how the Instagram algorithm ranks posts on Explore.

First, content that reaches the most engagement matters most on Instagram like Receiving a huge number of comments, DMs, likes, save, shares, tags, etc. In general, the algorithm looks at how popular the post is. Second, Instagram took into consideration relationships. The author of an Explore content must be shared by a follower or friend of an IG account. The post ranks well if the account holder interacts with the sharer in the last 7 days. The Instagram algorithm lastly considers what post an account holder recently interacted with.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Rank Feeds and Stories?

Instagram feeds and Stories are places where Instagrammers want to see content from their family, friends, or people closest to them. As such, Instagram uses a relatively simple ranking for these elements. The platform ranks all the recent posts shared by people that an Instagram account followed.

Instagram also considers the people who made a post, what was posted, and users’ preferences. The platform called them “signals.” With thousands of them, here’s how the Instagram algorithm ranks feeds and Stories according to importance.

Instagrammers engage on a feed or story through comments, DMs, likes, save, shares, tags, etc. First and foremost, the Instagram algorithm ranks the content that receives the most engagement on top of feeds and stories. But it also considers mundane information about the content itself. These include the following:

  • The date it was posted as Instagram ranks in chronological order
  • The location nearest to the account holder
  • The length of a clip (if it is a video)

The Instagram algorithm also considers the author of the post and his/her relationship to the account holder. This is by determining how many times the account holder has interacted with the author within the last 7 days.

Last, the Instagram algorithm also considered the recent activities of the account holder. It helps the platform understand that seeing posts from a particular account and engaging in the posts generally signals interests and preferences.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Rank Reels?

Reels are Instagram’s TikTok clone. They are short music clips that last for 30 seconds. Just like in Explore, a majority of Reels on the Reels tab are from accounts that an Instagrammer does not follow. To personalize recommendations, here’s how the Instagram algorithm ranks posts on Reels.

Instagram ranks Reels that an account recently interacted with for the last 7 days such as comments, DMs, likes, save, shares, tags, etc. The algorithm also considers if an Instagrammer has close interactions with the author of the Reel in the last 7 days even if the account holder does not follow the Reels’ creator’s account. Instagram also considers the popularity and quality of these short music clips.

Reference: https://about.instagram.com/blog/announcements/shedding-more-light-on-how-instagram-works