How Does Instagram’s Algorithm Work?

Instagram’s algorithm arranges the way that your feed looks.

Your ‘feed’ is the home screen of Instagram which allows you to scroll down and see the latest photo and video posts from people that you follow.

In this section, you will only see the posts from people which you choose to follow.

It goes without saying that you are in total control of WHAT is displayed on your Instagram feed.

However, the Instagram algorithm is in charge of deciding HOW it is displayed on every individual Instagram users feed.

This article analyses how the Instagram algorithm orders your feed.

How The Algorithm Arranges The Instagram Feed

Instagram’s guidelines section has recently updated to show that five factors are now the most important with regards to how your Instagram feed is ordered.

These five factors are:

  • The user’s relationship with the individual who posted
  • When the post was published
  • Number of similar interests
  • Number of accounts a user follows on Instagram
  • How often a user checks Instagram

We will now analyse in greater detail how each of these factors has changed the Instagram algorithm throughout 2019.

User’s relationship with the individual who posted

Instagram analyses the number of mutual friends which you have with the person who has posted an Instagram.

Instagram’s algorithm will determine whether or not you are close friends through how often you like their posts, leave comments on their posts, message them and how often you visit their profile.

All of these factors come together to indicate to Instagram how much you value their content and how high up it should be shown on your news feed.

When the post was published

The more recently that an Instagram post was published the closer to the top that it will appear on your feed.

This is the most influential factor on the Instagram feed.

The most recent posts will appear at the top before being followed by the older posts.

Number of similar interests

Instagram is constantly collecting data on what you are searching for on explore, the content you most often interact with, the hashtags you follow and what each user tends to spend most time looking at.

This gives the Instagram algorithm hints about what you are particularly interested.

The next time that you are searching for something on Instagram, bear in mind Instagram will be taking notes!

Number of accounts a user follows on Instagram

The higher the amount of accounts followed by a user the less likely it is for the top of their feed to be dominated by certain accounts.

This is simply a result of the competition for the top places on your Instagram feed being considerably more intense due to the increased number of accounts fighting for top spot.

Instagram’s algorithm is specifically designed to try and ensure users see what they want to see as soon as possible.

For example, if a user follows over 1000 accounts it can be challenging for the Instagram algorithm to identify exactly what posts the user will want to see first.

How often user checks Instagram

How often a user checks their Instagram is another important factor with regards to how their Instagram feed appears.

If an Instagram user logs into Instagram every two hours, then the algorithm is likely to decide to show them the most recent feed as it is likely they caught up with all the old ones a couple of hours ago.

However, for users who only log into their account once a day it is likely that the algorithm will utilise all of the information it has collected as previously mentioned in order to provide the most relevant content first.

Has Instagram’s New Algorithm Changed The Platform For The Better?

These five factors which have been analysed above have undoubtedly made Instagram much more effective than previously.

Before this new algorithm was introduced Instagram posts would only been seen by thirty percent of users.

As they were published in order in accordance with the time they were posted many people would miss posts they would want to have seen because they did not scroll far enough back to see these older posts.

With this new updated algorithm, ninety percent of the feed gets exposure to their audience.

This is particularly useful to businesses and brands who will be able to ensure that their posts are seen by their target market.

Although this algorithm took some time for users to get used to, being able to see your friends’ latest posts quickly despite not being on the platform for a couple of days can only be a good thing.