Beat the Instagram Algorithm: Tips
The Instagram algorithm has changed again. But this time, the masterminds behind it are offering some key insight into how it works. Whether you use Instagram for business or personal (or both!) purposes, here is everything you need to understand about how the new algorithm functions.
The main effort behind the latest Instagram algorithm change is to make peoples’ feeds “more chronological.” Instagram wants to improve the content users see most frequently based on what kind of content they like and engage with.
“Instagram relies on machine learning based on your past behavior to create a unique feed for everyone,” says TechCrunch. “Even if you follow the exact same accounts as someone else, you’ll get a personalized feed based on how you interact with those accounts.”
Basically, the Instagram algorithm wants you to see posts from your friends and family. It also wants you to see posts of content you really enjoy and are going to “like,” and content from accounts you consistently engage with. The new algorithm strives to make these three goals a reality for users.
I just opened up the Instagram app. The three posts at the top of my feed all feature açai bowls. Why? Because Instagram’s algorithm knows and understands that I frequently “like” and engage with pictures of açai bowls. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Instagram reads images of açai bowls that the people I follow post as an image I might want to engage with, based on my past behavior.
Instagram’s chronological feed feature is NOT coming back. However, IG will prioritize most recent posts in an effort to ensure users see more timely content they will likely engage with. (This means, as Later.com points out, no more Christmas content when it’s already January 1.)
So how does the Instagram algorithm work?
The Instagram algorithm works based on three main factors, though there are a couple additional things working behind the scenes. These three factors are interest, timeliness, and relationships. Instagram wants to show you content that you’re interested in, that’s recent, and by people who you are friends with or related to. Want more content like this? Check out the answers to the most-asked Instagram questions here!
Interest: So let’s follow the açai bowl example. If you like a lot of pictures of açai, then Instagram is going to inherently decide that you like content about açai bowls. Therefore showing you more of it. Timeliness: Instagram will now prioritize most recent posts in an effort to give you more timely content (that hasn’t yet expired). Relationship: Instagram wants to know if you’re related or personally connected to the person you’re interacting with. How can it tell? If you’re tagged in photos with the account, it’s a good indicator.
Photo by Twenty20
Is there any truth to the shadowban?
Instagram says no, shadowbanning is not a thing. For those of you not sure what the “shadow ban” refers to, it’s the burying of posts if an account recycled the same hashtags over and over. It was thought that Instagram would then categorize the same hashtag usage as “spam-like behavior,” effectively striking the account’s visibility. Instagram says, not true.
The social media platform maintains that they do not hide anyone’s posts or accounts and there is no behavior that they specifically reward or punish.
Do videos perform better than static photos?
They used to back when videos were a new feature but unfortunately, not so much anymore. “Feed ranking does not favor the photo or video format universally,” Instagram representatives told TechCrunch. If you interact with videos a lot, Instagram will probably read that you enjoy interacting with videos. Therefore, you’ll probably see more. If you seldom interact with videos, Instagram will probably read that you don’t enjoy interacting with videos. Therefore, you’ll probably see less.
What kinds of behavior on IG hurt your performance?
Instagram says no specific type of behavior harms or rewards your performance. Of course, nudity and/or violence will be blocked and suspended. But in the way of whether or not you’re using IG stories, recycling the same hashtags over and over, or how often you’re posting, Instagram says it doesn’t take sides.
That being said, have a strategy. Don’t post 100 photos in a row expecting followers to see your content chronologically with nothing in between. It just won’t happen and while the algorithm might not consider it spammy, your followers likely will. Is your blog or business making these common marketing mistakes on Instagram?
What’s your take on Instagram’s explanation of the new algorithm? Comment below!