Instagram’s Algorithm Cracked Wide Open

Instagram has been under scrutiny since the announcement of removing likes from posts, so it’s no surprise the platform has tried to be more a bit more transparent with the algorithm. Instagram has recently answered questions users have about the platform and the algorithm – especially concerns about the authenticity of interaction on the platform.


How often does the algorithm change?

Instagram has explained that due to the algorithm being powered by machine learning, feed ranking is constantly adapting and improving based on new data. Whilst this doesn’t give us a time period, it does give insight into how feed ranking is powered. Google, as an example changes the search engine algorithm 500 – 600 times a year.


Does the type of account you have impact ranking?

The short answer is no. The more engagement that a profile has, the more likely it is to appear in a person’s feed. This is similar to how it’s sister’s platform Facebook generates it’s user’s feeds. The more a user interacts (commenting, sharing, liking, etc.) with a page they have “liked’, the more it will appear in their feed. It does work the other way as well. The less a user interacts with a page/profile on Facebook/Instagram, the lower down on their feed it will appear.


Does feed ranking favour videos over photos?

Universally, Instagram does not favour videos. However, if the majority of content a user consumes is video, it will appear more in their feed. Keeping this in mind, people are consuming more video orientated media more during their time in social than in previous years. So whilst Instagram does not currently favour video, there is nothing to say with the ever evolving algorithm that this won’t change in the future.


Can pods (groups of people that like and comment on each other’s posts) increase their feed rank?

Yes and no. Authenticity and transparency are key to building sustainable engagement on the platform. So, it might have a very brief boost, but in the long term it won’t have that large of an effect. Instagram says because the algorithm is constantly learning by adapting new patterns in data, it can recognise inauthentic activity and make adjustments.


Why isn’t the feed chronological? Will it go back?

Instagram has explained that by switching to a ranked feed, the average post is now seen by 50% more followers than it did with the previous model. For businesses, this is important as experts predict in 2020 Instagram users will spend an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform and 200million of them will visit one business profile daily. If your content is being shown more in user’s feeds, it means that they’re more likely to click onto your profile.


Does the algorithm rank posts higher that get a lot of likes/comments in the first thirty minutes?

No, but Instagram reiterated the engagements that are important to feed ranking: comments, reshares, likes and views. This also relates to the pod question asked earlier. The authenticity of engagement has become increasingly more important across all social media platforms. As people look to build deeper and more meaningful relationships with the brands they use in 2020, platforms are adapting to customer needs.


How does someone get verified?

Accounts with the verified badges are well-known public figures, celebrities and global brands on Instagram. These accounts have been given badges because they are likely to be impersonated. Instagram verifies accounts to ensure that people in the Instagram community can easily find the authentic people and brands they want to follow.


Does your business use Instagram? What do you think of how Instagram manages it’s feeds? Let us know by getting in touch with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.

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