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Carolina Michelin

Content Analyst @ Hypzz


5 min read

How to Use Instagram's Algorithms to Your Advantage

Much has been said about the Instagram algorithm since its change back in 2016, when the social network decided not to display the latest updates at the top of the feed. As a result, users stopped viewing posts in chronological order and started viewing the most relevant posts first, according to the criteria determined by the algorithm.

What is the Instagram Algorithm?

Instagram's algorithm is a set of criteria and calculations that are performed automatically to determine which posts each user sees and in which order. The purpose of the social media platform is to make users spend most of their time on the platform by showing a personalized feed curated based on their activity.

How Instagram's Feed and Stories Algorithm works?

Using artificial intelligence, Instagram has identified that users prefer to see content from friends, family and acquaintances in their Feed and Stories. The platform prioritizes content for these two channels based on recent posts shared by people the user follows.

After showing the posts of the closest people, the algorithm analyzes a series of behaviors to identify the content that will be presented next.

1 - Post Engagement

Instagram considers the popularity of the post (likes, comments, saves, etc.) and other information about the content, such as when it was posted, its duration (in the case of videos) and its location.

2 - Poster Importance Ranking

Instagram will rank the content creator based on their importance to the user. To identify how interesting a profile is to the user, the social network evaluates the amount of interaction with the profile in the last few weeks.

3 - Interaction History

To understand how interested the user is in a given profile, the algorithm analyzes whether or not the two parties comment on each other’s posts.

How to Use the Instagram Algorithm to Your Advantage

Since the Instagram algorithm uses criteria to prioritize some content and deprioritize others, we can use our knowledge of the social network to beat those criteria. We've put together a list for you to follow:

1. Use Instagram's New Features

Make a note of this: Instagram likes to promote the new features of their platform and tends to reward profiles that create content using these features. They do this by giving your profile more priority and expanding your profile's reach. You win and the platform wins, bingo!

Reels is one of the best examples of this. Instagram created a different algorithm just for Reels that can give you more reach as a way of promoting the new feature. Instagram also changed the center button in the bottom navigation menu to the Reels icon to make it more accessible to users.

2. Encourage Followers to Comment

“Tag a friend who…” these captions seem harmless, right? Since the algorithm observes our interactions, from the moment someone comments on your post, Instagram will consider that your profile is relevant to that user and will deliver your content with priority to their feed. So, always encourage followers to engage with your content. Whether that means answering a question, tagging a friend, or even quickly reacting with an emoji.

3. Make Stories Often

It's no wonder that Stories greatly influence how your content will rank for users: the tool also has its own algorithm. Therefore, you must work to always get the first places between the balls that are up there.

4. Reply to Comments ASAP

Quickly respond to comments on your posts as much as you can. As mentioned above, the more comments on your post in a short period of time, the more Instagram will consider promoting it. This also encourages other people to comment on your content, as they know they will receive a reply. Furthermore, brands that interact with their followers and are reactive gain more respect from their fan base.

5. Invest in Reels

The post date doesn't matter as much the number of views. If a Reel goes viral, it will continue to be delivered even if it has been posted for some time and, consequently, may achieve a greater reach than posts in other formats. Another detail is that Instagram delivers Reels to each user based on what they think a user would find relevant (i.e.: videos skipped, posts forwarded to friends, liked, saved, or commented on).

In conclusion, don't be discouraged by Instagram's algorithm. Once you know how it works, using it to your advantage becomes much easier and more natural.

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