What’s the point of knowing how the Instagram algorithm works?
It has to be the first thing you need to know if you want to start an Instagram profile and start increasing your followers and avoid being temporarily blocked by Instagram.
All the news you read online about how to create an Instagram profile that rocks , earn a thousand thousand followers a day and work and collaborate with brands to sponsor their products, derives precisely from the knowledge of the functioning of the Instagram algorithm .
In this article I want to take you to the roots of it all.
After you’ve read a lot of material, you may feel the need to understand why all these tips and strategies are.
I’ll explain what are the main factors that influence the order and type of posts / stories that appear in your feed and in that of your followers and some tips to beat the algorithm of Instagram that you will need to reach more people for free.
Well, we can get started right now!
What is the goal of the Instagram algorithm
I don’t want to scare you, I realized that there are still a lot of people out there who don’t know this.
The Instagram algorithm is secret.
Yes, you got it right.
Nobody really knows how it actually works because the company has had the foresight to hide it, to avoid, as it should be, that brands, companies and all those who are trying to grow a profile, they find easy and safe tricks to overcome it.
Not only that.
There are people who say that probably not even in the company there is a person who knows how it works as a whole. Each department deals with a piece of code and a specific function, and they don’t know in detail what the others are up to.
The Instagram algorithm is not universal and changes constantly.
This article is up to date as of August 2019 , and I don’t exclude that while I’m writing these lines the developers are making and planning the next updates.
The biggest and most important that everyone remembers as a great tragedy was that of July 2017 .
What happened on that occasion?
Instagram has fundamentally changed the way posts are shown in users’ feed.
No longer chronologically but based on… that’s the beauty of it. The precise criteria are secret but there are some that have been unearthed thanks to repeated tests and people, like me, who are on social media from morning to night. 😀
Treasure all this knowledge! 😀
What is the goal of the Instagram algorithm?
All the updates, the strategies that are invented to decide the order in which posts and stories are displayed, respond to two main purposes that the Facebook Inc. company has in mind.
What do you think they are?
I firmly believe that there are two main goals:
1. Make the Instagram algorithm show the content that users are most interested in
Keeping ourselves glued to the platform is really what matters most. And how to do it if not by showing us content that can be as much a drug for us?
Eliminating the chronological order of the posts allows the social network to offer us the contents that are most related to our interests and maximize our time on the platform.
What if you start seeing all the posts you don’t care about on your feed?
You would probably close the app, which is exactly what they don’t want to happen.
2. Maximize Ad Revenue
Let’s not joke, this is really their main focus.
I know that it annoys you to find a thousand ads on your feed, or worse, that Instagram is progressively reducing the visibility of your posts.
The truth is that they are not a charity . We must always keep in mind that they are a company, one of the largest in the world and they need to increase their advertising revenue more and more.
This is the only way to continue using the platform for free.
I’ve already said this several times, but I want to point it out again.
What is Instagram selling to advertisers?
Your time , first of all, and consequently your attention . The more time and attention you spend on your feed, the more valuable the advertising they can sell.
I don’t want to discredit anyone or say what’s right or wrong, I just want you to understand how it works to help you understand the motivation behind all these strange dynamics underneath.
How the Instagram algorithm works
Let’s get to the point.
Thanks to many tests and many people who have joined forces to understand what the Instagram algorithm could be, here are the main factors that influence the position of your post in your followers’ feed … and more!
The algorithm also regulates which posts and to which accounts will be shown on the Explore page and on the popular hashtag page. A real gold mine for those who want to increase their followers without spending a single euro!
Let’s find out now!
The Instagram algorithm tries to identify what your interests are and show you content as much in line with them (for the reasons we mentioned earlier, remember? ).
How do you know what you like best?
Analyze the posts you like and those you spend the most time on, compare their characteristics, also considering the hashtags entered, and select those most similar to the latter.
Sure, but this is the future.
2. Recent activities
Usually favors recent posts over older ones.
Yes, but what does recent posts mean?
This too has changed a lot since the introduction of the 2017 algorithm update (the one that eliminated the chronological feed).
Let’s say that generally the algorithm tends to show the maximum posts published in the last week , the older ones are obscured.
The algorithm is able to understand what is the bond or degree of kinship that unites you to your followers: based on the likes and comments you exchange or the private messages you send, or also information that comes from Facebook.
Do you remember that the two social networks now have the same owner?
Posts and stories from your friends and family will appear first! This is because we generally care about people who are close to us and want to see their content before anyone else.
4. Interactions with previous posts
If you interact multiple times with posts from the same account, Instagram understands that you have a certain preference for its content and will tend to show you more.
5. Regularity of posts
The Instagram algorithm loves people who actively participate on the social network. It is true that passive people who watch advertisements are important, but if no one publishes content, the social network is empty!
Those who publish content consistently are favored, also because if you release a greater number of posts it is more likely that someone will see them, interact and be shown them again on the feed.
So quantity more than quality!
6. Post type
The types of posts that are favored are definitely videos .
They are harder to make, rarer and involve the user more. Instagram tends to push them higher in feeds and show them to more people.
Same goes for the previews of IGTV on the feed , this new feature that was recently introduced.
In recent months they are enjoying great success and publish a preview video on the feed from IGTV has become a great way to reach more people.
Those who often make stories and direct are not favored by the algorithm . At least in a direct way. However, I will shortly explain how the latter can positively influence the quality of your account.
7. Interactions immediately after publication
It is a determining factor on the basis of which the Instagram algorithm decides whether or not to promote your post on the Explore page and in popular hashtag posts.
The first 3 minutes after publication are the most important. The likes and comments you get in this time period are worth a lot more than all the ones you get later. Equally important are the first 15 to 30 minutes after publication .
How many times you log in per day and how long you stay on the platform is another determining factor.
Instagram favors accounts that connect multiple times a day and spend as much time as possible.
9. Number of people followed
The posts shown to you on the feed also depend on how many people you follow.
If your following are many, the algorithm will have to filter more images and you will necessarily see fewer posts than if you had a lower number of people followed.
An indicative number is 1500 people followed . Accounts following fewer than 1500 people are usually rated as quality, precisely because it takes less effort to appear in the first posts on their feed.
10. Business Account
If you switch to a business account, Instagram identifies you as a business. This means you can spend money!
What does it do then?
You reduces your visibility to entice you to buy in sponsorships to promote your business.
Although I have read several articles and press releases in which Instagram denies this, I firmly believe that the algorithm gives less visibility to the posts of a business account than a personal one. Tested on two of my accounts! 😀
If you often use sponsored content or do advertising campaigns on social media, you could probably be favored by the algorithm. I haven’t tested this point myself, but I will soon.
It is definitely in Instagram’s interest to entice accounts that are willing to spend to stay on the platform!
Would you like to share this article? We are halfway through and in the next paragraph I will tell you how you can create posts that are favored by the algorithm.
If you think it might be useful to someone, use the social buttons below!
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Ways to beat the Instagram algorithm
Now that I’ve explained how it works, I want to give you some ideas to improve the visibility of your posts.
You may have heard some things before, but now you know exactly how and why they can help you reach more people.
Let’s find out now!
1. Homogeneous Instagram Feed
The first way to be able to get more interactions with posts and therefore be favored by the algorithm is to have a homogeneous Instagram profile.
Having a uniform grid means having your own distinct style that your followers can recognize among the thousands of photos they see on their wall.
This is really important because defines the very essence of your brand, the character of your account .
This is why I have dedicated an entire guide to the topic, designed to create your own unique and very personal style on Instagram. Enter your email below to download the free extract!
2. Interact immediately before the post is published
The interactions you receive in the first 30 minutes of posting are those that are worth the most in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm. For this, it is necessary to receive as many of them as possible in this time frame but above all to ensure that they are interactions of value .
How to do it?
Comment and like 20-30 photos before publishing your post. Some of them will be willing to reciprocate and leave you a genuine comment under your newly published post.
3. Receive lots of likes 30 minutes after publication
In addition to comments, likes are also very important, even if you have to get a lot of them.
How to do it?
I have already explained to you in another article what Instagram PODs are and how you can get Instagram likes for free. The secret is to use these groups right after the post is published, to get a lot more likes than your post would naturally take.
The photo will be recognized as valuable by Instagram and shown to a wider audience.
4. IGTV Video / Preview
Another way to get more views and reach more people is to post videos to your feed or IGTV . Instagram favors videos because they are a more elaborate type of content, so we need to focus on this new type of communication.
I know you are thinking that it is difficult to make videos, but at least twice a week you can try recording a video talking about a topic that interests your followers.
If you put your creativity to work there are a thousand ways to create beautiful video content even on your mobile and take advantage of this greater visibility that Instagram gives to these types of content.
Another type of post that is very strong is the carousel.
What I noticed in this period is that Instagram tends to re-show a post to the same user if he hasn’t viewed all the photos in a carousel .
What does all this mean?
You have greater visibility and more likely that the user will interact with your post.
So post more than one photo at once when you get the chance and you’ll see that you can reach a lot more people!
6. Curate the first line of the description
The first line of the post caption is very important to immediately attract the attention of followers and make them interact with your post .
The aim is to intrigue and make them linger on the newly published content.
They have to keep reading, taken and captured by your words and you have to lead them by the hand to what is the final question, the one that invites them to interact, comment and express their opinion.
Instagram takes into account how much a person dwells on your post and if they also leave a valuable comment you will have really earned a lot not only on the single content but also for the subsequent ones that will be shown higher up in that person’s feed. !
7. Publish the new post in the stories
Another way to attract more people to your newly published post is to preview stories to alert your followers.
Even Instagram was worrying about this thing that stories are becoming more and more important than feeds. And this is also given by their position. We find them at the top as soon as we open the app and this immediately pushes us to click and look at all the new content published.
If your followers also find your new post there with a caption inviting them to find out more, you will increase the likelihood of receiving interactions before they even scroll through the feed.
8. Use stories and direct
I know, I told you before that the Instagram algorithm does not directly favor those who use stories and live (direct) but they can serve us indirectly .
Being always present with stories there in the first line of the app is very useful for making our followers remember us and tell them what all our news is.
Also, doing live helps a lot for visibility. The live broadcasts, in fact, are shown first in the stories.
For this reason, if you make one, it will give you 24-hour visibility within user stories.
9. Have a publishing plan
Understanding how your followers behave and posting at their most active times is a big help in getting as many interactions as possible right after you post.
For this, it might be useful to have a publication plan that you can write in your notes, on an excel sheet and organize the grid thanks to the Preview app.
I recommend that you reserve the publication of the best posts on the days and hours when your followers are most active , in order to maximize the effect!
What are the ways you used to beat the Instagram algorithm?
I hope this article has been useful for you to understand something more about the Instagram algorithm but above all to find a strategy that will allow you to gain greater visibility.
If you have noticed other important things that affect the display of posts or are adopting particular techniques that have worked, write them in the comments below!
A little personal thought.
After all, what really works on Instagram and getting people to like your content or find it particularly useful to them.
At that point they will come looking for you , if they don’t see you among the first posts they will press the magnifying glass and write your name. There is nothing that can beat a close-knit community that revolves around a highly inspirational figure.
Instagram may drop but real fans will always be there, ready to follow you on any other platform you decide to move.
If you agree with this thought of mine and think that this article might be useful to someone else, you can share it with the social pusantini below.
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Talk to you soon!
P.S. To know how to best use all these tools within a strategy that allows you to grow your followers, I am preparing an Instagram guide that explains, step by step, all the strategies to use to start and lead to success. an Instagram account.
All members of my community will be updated on its development and on the day of its release via email.
In addition, I always reserve for all of them a short free extract of my preview guides and special discounts for the first members who decide to be the first to use my creations.
If you want to be part of my community and be among the first to read the guide, you can enter the email below.