Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has been using a simple reverse chronological order to organize the feed of its users until in 2016, when it was suddenly decided to introduce an algorithm.
This Algorithm, according to the app developers, has allowed people to engage actively with the community with an increased diversity in its content.
The personalization of each user’s feed is ensured by this algorithm. Even if you follow the same accounts as another person, your interaction with the content will be a key factor in curating your feed.
The purpose of the article is to help you understand how to ensure that your posts appear on top of your follower’s feed.
While we are at it, let us also debunk some myths that are generally accepted about the algorithm.
- Posting Stories and using Instagram Live does not affect your outreach in any way.
- Posting frequently does not cause downranking of your account by the Algorithm. However, posting several posts may cause them to be separated on your follower’s feed so utilize the consolidated tool or opt for Stories if you want a thread of your posts.
- A business account does not have any more or any less reach than a personal account. The Algorithm treats both of them alike.
- The Algorithm also treats photos and videos equally without discrimination but an individual might see more of one than the other based on their preference.
- Your posts are never hidden. Shadow Ban does not exist on Instagram. If your followers continue to scroll then they will eventually see your post.
Now that we have discussed what does not affect your post’s reach, let us move on to what does affect it.
The Algorithm personalizes each user’s feed according to their preference. It shows them first what they want to see. Understanding the workings of Instagram’s Algorithm can help you reach more individuals, increase visibility for your followers and help you improve your content for a loyal following.
The algorithm uses the following three main signals to rank the posts in your feed and make predictions about the content you would want to see:
Interest means using past behaviors to predict what kind of content you would want to engage with. If a user spends a lot of time looking at cat pictures then the algorithm is going to curate their feed in such a manner that cat pictures are prioritized on top of their feed and the discover tab. So, the posts on top of your feed are organized according to how you have interacted with similar content in the past.
For business accounts, this means that the more the user engages with your content, the more the algorithm will take it as a signal of what they want to see and will prioritize your content while curating the top posts on their feed. You can draw in users by sharing thought provoking captions paired with engaging visuals to encourage them to keep following your content.
Instagram favors recent content over older one, just like Youtube does. Even though reverse chronological order does not exist any more on the platform but the timeliness of the posts is still taken into consideration. Instagram wants to keep your feed fresh by ensuring the appearance of newer posts on top of your feed.
Business accounts may look into their Instagram Analytics to know the prime time during which your followers are more active, so they can post accordingly and make it to the ‘recent’ posts.
Relationship means how engaged a user is with your account. Have they engaged with your content in the past? Have you engaged with them?
This factor goes beyond just following someone. It actually analyzes one’s relationship with that particular account of a person or a brand. Liking, commenting and tagging someone in posts will make you see more of that person’s content on your feed.
Business accounts may also have to pursue consistent engagement to know what their followers want to see and giving them more of it. Instagram Insights can be used to see which posts were more liked and modelling your content to achieve a loyal and active following.