How do Instagram algorithms work? As you already know, Instagram algorithms learn your interests and compare them with the content they show you to maximize the chances that you’ll enjoy the content you see and engage with it. I will explain how it looks like for each Instagram user, but don’t worry – this knowledge will also help you rank higher the content you post as a content creator or as a business owner, because you’ll know which factors are the key and how you can make the algorithms appreciate your content and show it to more users. Let’s go!
So how exactly do the Instagram algorithms learn what users may like? There are a few key factors we need to discuss!
How Instagram Algorithms Work? Interest – That’s a Key Factor When it Comes to The Way Instagram Algorithms Analyze Your Content
Instagram algorithms analyze all your past behavior and engagement on the platform to determine your interests. They analyze the posts you have liked, commented on, shared or saved in the past, as well as all profiles you frequently interact with. That way, posts that align with your interests and your passions are more likely to appear higher in your personalized feed.
How Instagram Algorithms Analyze Instagram Engagement?
We need to keep in mind that Instagram heavily relies on interactions, on user interactions. The algorithms keep track of how popular a post is by considering the number of likes, comments, shares, and saves it gets. As you can easily guess, highly engaging posts are much more likely to appear higher in users’ feeds. That’s why it’s so crucial to create posts that our audience likes to engage with – and to remind them know as often as we can that their opinions and their comments matter, because the more comments a post gets, the higher it appears in other users’ feeds as the algorithm knows it’s engaging and it sparks people’s emotions.
Instagram Algorithms Analyze Usage of the App
Instagram also tracks how you use the app. If you spend more time consuming certain types of content, algorithms will try to show you similar content in your feed to make you spend more and more time inside the app.
Relevance – How Instagram Algorithms Track That Factor
Yes, this is also important. The algorithms consider the relevance of the post to you. It analyzes the captions, keywords, and image or video content to determine if it matches your interests and your preferences.
Watch time: Why watch time matters to Instagram algorithms?
Instagram wants people to stay on Instagram the same way Youtube wants people to stay on Youtube, which is why Instagram values things like session duration and Reels retention so much. Instagram has unofficially stated that the metrics they value most are watch time, average Reel view duration, audience retention, and seconds watched. Those metrics measure different ways the audience views your content and your Reels, yet they all ultimately fall under watch time.
From my perspective, watch time is just as important as your reach and your Reel view count. Higher watch time boosts your content’s place in Instagram’s ranking algorithm.
How Instagram Algorithms Affect Your Account and Your Content
Now you know how Instagram algorithms work and which factors are the key one. You know what they track. In this chapter we’ll focus on discussing how these factors affect your content and your account. How these factors like your watch time, your engagement rate affect the way your content ranks. It will be a quick summary, as it’s a topic I will discuss more in-depth in the upcoming series dedicated only to Instagram algorithms, because the topic is so broad that if I wanted to include everything in one post, I’d need to write without any breaks for 10 hours. So I thought it will also be easier for you to consume this knowledge if I create two separate series!
Of course, let me know in the comment section if that’s something you’d love to learn more about, and if that’s a topic you’d love to dive much deeper in. It’s extremely helpful feedback for me, so please, give me your feedback, so I know more about your needs and how to help you even more.
Okay, back to the business!
How Instagram algorithms affect your account and your content?
Your Content Visibility on Your Followers’ Feeds
The algorithms decide which posts are displayed on your followers’ feeds and in what order. Content that is recognized by algorithms as more relevant and more engaging to a particular user will be ranked higher and shown more often.
Reach and engagement: The algorithm determines how many people can see your content and how many people have a chance to engage with it. So if the algorithm analyzes gathered data and sees that your content is relevant and engaging, it will be shown to more people, and it will impact and increase your reach and engagement.
Explore page: Explore page is still a very important part of Instagram platform, as it’s where users discover new content and totally new creators. And that’s pretty obvious – our goal is appearing there, so they can discover YOU. It’s important to remember that each user has a different Explore Page, as this section is extremely personalized.
As you already know, Instagram’s algorithms curate content for the Explore page based on users’ interests and past behavior. So, if your content aligns with a user’s preferences and performs well in terms of engagement, it may appear on their Explore page.
Hashtags’ sections: The way algorithms see your content and consider it to be engaging and relevant or not, impacts the way your posts appear in the hashtags’ section. For example if I click on the hashtag #beigeinteriors Instagram will show me the posts that its algorithms find most relevant and most engaging. Yes, Instagram’s algorithms are getting better and better at this – in the past, when browsing the top posts for the hashtag #beigeinteriors I saw many random, irrelevant posts. Now relevancy is extremely important for the platform and Instagram’s algorithms focus on that factor so much.
Stories and Reels: Instagram’s algorithms also affect how your Stories and Reels are shown to users – both your current followers and your potential new followers. Stories and Reels with higher engagement and higher relevance are much more likely to be recommended to other users and have a visibility boost.
Ad targeting: That may surprise you but Instagram also uses its algorithms to serve targeted ads to people based on their interests and all their online preferences, tendencies and their online behavior. When people run ads on Instagram, the algorithms will help ensure they are shown to the most relevant audience and it works both ways – you also see ads that are personalized for you, so you see the ads which the algorithms consider to be the most relevant to you. Dds are personalized so it will recommend what you enjoy and search, and if you search for for example women sweaters, logically ads will show you stores with sweaters. That’s just a quick and a bit cliche example, but that’s the way it works. Ads are personalized so they deliver the most relevant ad content to the right people.
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