How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work?

Instagram is one of the powerhouse social media platforms around the world, with billions of active monthly users. However, gaining visibility and engagement on the platform can be challenging, especially because of Instagram’s complex algorithm. If you can understand the algorithm, it can greatly help you optimize your account, increase your reach, and improve your engagement. In this blog post, we will explore how the Instagram algorithm works and what this insight means for your business.

A Short History of Instagram’s Algorithm

Before diving deep into how the Instagram algorithm works today, it might be helpful to first understand how it has evolved since it began. Back in 2016, Instagram used to show all posts in chronological order, with the newest at the top. But as the platform grew, users started missing out on valuable content because they weren’t scrolling enough or were scrolling too fast to see all the posts. As a result, Instagram changed its algorithm in 2018 to prioritize posts from accounts users interact with the most, not just the most recent post. Then in 2020, Instagram introduced Reels due to the rise in the popularity of video content. Today, Reels are an essential factor in the algorithm, with some arguing that the platform favors Reels over static posts.

The Instagram Algorithm’s Main Ranking Factors

That brings us to today. As mentioned, Instagram’s algorithm wants to show users content that it thinks they would be interested in. How does it determine what users want to see? While some of this is kept secret, there are a few things that we do know. We know that three important factors for its algorithm are recency, relationship, and relevance. 

Recency considers the time that posts go up. Generally, Instagram wants to push newly posted and fresh content to the top of a user’s feed. Relationship refers to the amount of interaction between the user and the content creator. The Instagram algorithm aims to promote content from creators that the user has engaged with in the past. It even goes further by weighing each engagement differently. For example, a save will weigh more than a like. And a share will be more important than a comment to the platform. Finally, relevance considers the user’s interests and preferences. It figures this out based on the types of content a user has engaged with in the past and the industries of the accounts they follow.

Other Important Factors

There are several other things that Instagram considers for its algorithm. Some of these include the time spent on viewing a post, the location of the post, and of course, the number of likes, comments, shares, and saves it has. How often a user opens the app is also a factor. So if they don’t go on Instagram very often, they will only see the absolute most relevant posts. For businesses, this means you could get drowned out by posts from a user’s family and friends. Another factor is how many accounts a user follows. Logically, this makes sense – the more accounts someone follows, the more competition there is a for a spot in their feed. By understanding these factors, you can create your Instagram strategy to align it with the algorithm.

How to Get the Instagram Algorithm to Work in Your Favor

With all this knowledge of how Instagram’s algorithm works, how can you use it to benefit your account? If you want to grow your account or increase your engagement, make sure you do these things.

One of the best ways to ensure that your content reaches your audience is to simply stay active. With Instagram’s constant updates, it’s essential to use the latest features and engagement strategies. When new features roll out, don’t wait to try them out. Instagram rewards accounts that hop on to its newest features early.

It’s also crucial to focus on quality content. Poor-quality posts with blurry images or grammar mistakes in the caption could result in poor engagement. Then, because it sees that people don’t like to engage with your posts, it will stop showing them to as many people. Make sure your content addresses topics that your followers care about and when appropriate, don’t forget to include a call-to-action within your captions. 

Finally, it’s essential to have patience when working with Instagram’s algorithm. Significant changes in your growth or engagement probably won’t happen overnight. But through consistently producing quality content, regularly engaging with your audience, and staying updated on additional changes, you can improve your chances of reaching your goals.

Get Help With Instagram From 98 Buck Social

In today’s ever-evolving social media landscape, it’s crucial to understand each platform’s algorithm if you want to optimize your account. And with over 2 billion active monthly users, Instagram is one of the most important social media platforms out there. If you want to get ahead, focus on recency, relationship, and relevance, staying active, and quality content. With a strategic approach and a bit of patience, businesses can amplify their brand awareness as well as increase engagement and reach – and ultimately achieve their goals on Instagram. If you struggle with what to post on Instagram or getting into a regular schedule of posts, 98 Buck Social would love to help you. Our services ensure that you have a social media presence that puts your company in front of the right people.

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Have any questions?

We have answers.

Can you help me grow Instagram followers?

We partner with Socialboost to help build Instagram followers. Click the link below to enroll. Plans start at $59/mo.

What photos or videos do you use?

By default, we can use the photos you have on your website as well as utilizing the plethora of photos available to us within our royalty free library.

If you have photos or videos for us to use, depending on your subscription, we welcome you to upload them into a Google Drive folder and share that link with us!

Looking for custom videos?  Some of our plans include videos or you can add them to any plan starting at $98/mo!

How do you mimic my branding colors and style?

As mentioned above, depending on your plan, we can use whatever you’d like to provide us! If not, we’ll resort to using your website or our royalty free library.

That being said, we can come up with custom graphics that suit your branding style as an add-on to your posting subscription.

$98/month for 3 custom graphics each week
$148/month for 5 custom graphics each week

Note: The cost of custom graphics is on top of your monthly subscription cost

What is content review & approval?

Content review and approval is where your social media content creator sends you a weeks worth of posts, prior to their designated publication time the following week.

This way, you will have the chance to give us feedback on each post in case you’d like us to make a minor edit.

Note: One round of editing per post permitted, depending on your plan.

What are the results I can expect from your posting services?

The idea behind consistent posting onto your social media pages is to keep them active with content that promotes your business solutions, educates your audience to showcase your expertise and to also keep things lighthearted, it’s social media after all!

There’s nothing worse for a business than to earn someone looking into what you do, only for them to see a barren social media page. To them, it may appear that you are out of business or potentially a scam.

We are often asked about growing followers and generating sales or leads. These are great goals to have but please understand that those goals are better obtained through paid advertising campaigns.

For more information on paid advertising, please visit our paid advertising services.

Do you use a posting scheduler and how do you get access to my business pages?

We are fortunate to be partnered with to utilize their excellent scheduling platform.

By signing up for our content services, we will set you up with your own Cloud Campaign workspace depending on your plan.

During onboarding we request admin access to your social accounts using a secure platform. This allows us to manage the occasional disconnect when the platforms push out updates.

Furthermore, with your own workspace you are welcome to view and edit content at your leisure!

Why do my posts say “Posted by Cloud Campaign”

We use Cloud Campaign, which is a 3rd party app, to scale social media management and posting. When a post says “Posted by Cloud Campaign”, it is only the admins of your company page that can see this and not your followers.