About Instagram's Algorithm Changes


When Instagram ditched their reverse chronological feed system, users were missing 70% of the posts in their feed. Ouch. Why would anyone continue to use the platform if they can’t see the content they came for? Still, Instagram pushed on despite the confusion and backlash. Now, the platform says that their relevance sorting algorithm is key letting users see what they want to see. As a result, people are spending more time on the app. 

Recently, Instagram decided to pull back the curtain. They're showing users how their mysterious algorithm works. Keep reading to find your crash course on the algorithm and how it impacts what your followers see. 

The top three things that the algorithm uses to determine what users see are:

Interest - Instagram predicts how much users will care about a post. This is based on their interactions with similar content.

Recency - Recent posts will be given priority over older ones. (I thought that was obvious - but nonetheless - confirmed). 

Relationship - How much users interact with other accounts determines what will show up in their feed. The more a user engages with an account, the more likely it is that they’ll see posts from them.

Other factors include:

Frequency - How often users open the app will impact their feed. The first post they see will be the “best” post since their last visit.

Following - If a user is following a lot of people, the algorithm tries to diversify their feed. That way, it won’t be cluttered with posts from the same account.

Usage - Users only see what Instagram determines are the best posts if they use it in short sessions. Longer sessions = seeing posts that may have been buried.

What about having a business account instead of a personal account? 

According to Instagram, your account type doesn’t matter. It's nice to finally know this isn’t worth the energy spent when evaluating the risks of switching from personal to business. Remember: if you switch and don't like it, you can easily switch back. Don’t stress about it.

Lastly, here’s a myth-buster moment for you. 

For the first time, Instagram has acknowledged a widely believed theory: shadow-banning. The verdict? It’s not a real thing. So, no need to #fear.

What does this mean for creators and brands on Instagram? 

According to the folks at Instagram, the only way to get as many eyes on your posts as possible is to produce great content ON your feed. Now, posting to Stories and Live won't directly help your feed content, but I believe it still helps. A story or live broadcast illuminates a ring around your profile photo. When this is paired with good content, they all work together.

Now you’re all caught up on everything you need to know about the Instagram algorithm. In an age where users are fighting to see the content they want, and not be bombarded with spam, this is good news. Now that you know exactly how the algorithm works, you can leverage it to your advantage. Have a plan, post good content, and stay true to your brand. It will all fall into place and the eyes will follow.

Phil PallenInstagram