In 2016, Instagram stunned users by introducing a new algorithm to replace its reverse chronological feed. Prior to this switch, 70% of all posts and 50% of friends’ posts were being missed. Despite the massive backlash the Instagram algorithm received at the time, the algorithm led its 800 million users seeing 90% of their friends’ posts and spending more time on the app. Although the Instagram algorithm was meant to help surface the best, most relevant content to users everytime they opened the app, Instagram never explained how it actually worked… until now.

How the Instagram Algorithm Works

At the surface, Instagram’s algorithm leverages a user’s past behavior to create a unique feed every time they log on. This means that even if you follow the same accounts as someone else, you’ll still get a personalized feed based on how you specifically interacted with those accounts. Instagram also unveiled the main 3 factors that determine where content is ranked in the feed:

  • Interest- Instagram can actually predict how much you’ll care about a post. Content that is relevant to your interests, will rank higher on your feed. Instagram will look at specific genres you interact with (i.e. music, sports, fashion, etc) and will populate similar themed photos/videos.
  • Timeliness- In addition to relevant posts, Instagram wants to show you the most recently published content. Posts within 24 hours will rank higher than those from a few days or weeks ago (even if the older posts had higher engagement).
  • Relationship- Regardless of how many accounts you follow, Instagram doesn’t want you to miss important posts from your friends and family. Instagram will study your past interactions to determine who your “best friends” are based on accounts you like consistently, accounts you direct message, accounts you search for, and how many photos you’re tagged in.

Instagram also disclosed additional factors it takes into consideration:

  • Frequency- The algorithm takes into account how frequently you use the app and will try to show the best posts since your last visit.
  • Following- If you follow a large number of accounts, Instagram has a wider net of content to pull from, so you may see less from each individual account.
  • Usage- How long you spend on Instagram also affects the algorithm. For example, if you use the app in short spurts, the algorithm will ensure you will see the most relevant content first. If you prefer longer visits, it may provide a deeper catalog of content to browse.

Tips To Beat The Instagram Algorithm

Now that you understand how the Instagram algorithm works, you can incorporate these strategies to help take your video content to the top of the feed:

  • Find your niche- Don’t try to create content for everyone. One of the main factors your content will be ranked with is ‘Interest’ so tailor your posts to cater to your specific audience. Remember, it’s more valuable to get repeat views from loyal fans rather than one-offs from people who never return.
  • Post frequently- Don’t let too much time pass between your posts. Instagram ranks content based on timeliness, so you want to make sure you are posting on a daily basis. Create a content calendar to stay on schedule so your audience can predict when your next post will be.
  • Don’t be afraid to engage- Establishing a relationship with your followers will help increase where your content appears on the feed. Engage your viewers by sparking a discussion in the caption or with a call-to-action that inspires a like, tag, or share. Don’t forget, engagement is a two-way street so make sure you are commenting and liking your follower’s content as well.

Got more tips about how to tackle the Instagram algorithm? Let us know and tweet your helpful hacks to @vydiaoffical. Don’t forget to check back next week for some more industry news.