How Does the Instagram Algorithm 2023 Work? | FORTAYmedia
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Instagram Algorithm

How Does the Instagram Algorithm 2023 Work?

Understanding the Instagram algorithm and knowing how to work with it is essential to ensure your marketing success on the Instagram platform. In order to keep up with competition, Meta are ever changing their platforms – and, regardless of follower size, all accounts are usually affected. Understanding the platform’s algorithm and learning how to manipulate it can be a powerful skill for ensuring your marketing success. If you want to discover how to optimise your Instagram account, keep reading…


WHAT IS THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM?

The Instagram algorithm is an equaliser of sorts; a set of processes that determines how content is ranked across the platform. The algorithm was first introduced in 2016 with the purpose of working out the most relevant content to display to each user every time they use the app. It considers all accounts across the network and sifts through massive amounts of information to create the best user experience possible.

The Instagram algorithm analyses all content that is posted taking into consideration elements like hashtags, engagement metrics and metadata. Based on the information it collects, the algorithm then customises and distributes appropriate content into users’ feeds to ensure that they have access to the posts that are best suited to their interests.

The algorithm decides:

  • Which posts will appear at the top of newsfeeds and the order in which they appear
  • Which posts will feature on the Explore tab
  • The order in which Stories, Live Videos and Reels appear

HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM DECIDE WHAT TO SHOW USERS?

Shaking Hands

  1. RELATIONSHIP

This is one of the most important Instagram algorithm ranking factors. If a user has consistently interacted with a certain account in the past, they are more likely to see any new content that the account posts.

The algorithm will study which accounts you engage with the most to determine whose content is more interesting for you to see on your feed.

From a business perspective, this is why engaging with your followers is crucial to achieve success on Instagram. Responding to DMs and actively engaging with your followers in the comments section can help to increase your

brand’s visibility on the platform which will assist business growth.

 

  1. RELEVANCY & TIMELINESS

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Another important ranking factor for the Instagram algorithm is how relevant a piece of content is. For example, a post that acknowledges trending topics will be deemed more relevant and is more likely to appear in a user’s feed.

The timeliness of posts is also considered by the Instagram algorithm. Again, this is associated with determining how ‘relevant’ a piece of content is. The more recent the post, the more appropriate the Instagram algorithm considers it to be therefore, the more likely it is to display on feeds.

Frequent posting can help to ensure that your posts are always deemed ‘relevant’ enough to show on feeds as they are recent. However, also try to avoid posting too much (confusing, I know) as Instagram tends to avoid showing too many posts in a row from the same user so your favourite post may not get shown.

 

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3. INTEREST

When Instagram announced its algorithmic timeline, it stated thatThe order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.’

The Instagram algorithm will look at the type of content you are interacting with the most, past and present, and then use that information to decide which other content is of similar interest. When the algorithm has recognised which content a user finds most enjoyable, this is the type of content that will appear in their feeds. This is one of the many reasons why Instagram can be a powerful marketing tool if used properly, as the algorithm will automatically target ideal consumers.

 

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  1. FREQUENCY OF USE

This secondary Instagram algorithm ranking factor examines how often a user opens the app. When they do, they will be shown the content that is the most relevant to them that has been posted since they last time used the app.

For example, if a user opens the app once weekly, they will be shown the content that the algorithm feels is most relevant for that week. Whereas someone who uses the app several times a day will be shown the most relevant content that they have not already seen.

 

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  1. FOLLOWING

If you are following a large number of accounts, the Instagram algorithm will have to sort through each account to decide whose content is better to display on your feed.

The more accounts you follow, the less you will see content from individual accounts as there is more competition for feed space.

 

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6. SESSION TIME

For this ranking process, the Instagram algorithm will scan how long users spend on the platform. If a user does not spend much time on the platform, they will only be shown content from the accounts they interact with most such as family and friends, rather than from a variety of accounts.

This can make it difficult for businesses to reach certain accounts as consumers are less likely to be frequently interacting with a business account in comparison to family and friends. However, with a clever marketing strategy, businesses can encourage engagement from consumers to ensure that their content is shown to them each time they open the app.

 


HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM 2023 DECIDE WHICH POSTS ARE SHOWN IN THE FEED?

  • The algorithm will look at information about the post such as how many likes it has, the location of the post and when it was posted. This will help the algorithm to determine how popular and relevant the post is.
  • It will study user interests across the platform
  • It will also examine past interactions with other accounts; if a user has frequently interacted with a specific account, their content will be shown on their feed

HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM 2023 DECIDE WHICH STORIES ARE SHOWN?

  • The algorithm will look at the details of the story such as if it includes engaging content (polls, question boxes etc.), if it has audio and when it was posted
  • Similar to posts, interaction metrics are considered when the algorithm is looking at which stories to show. The more someone has interacted with an account, the more likely they are to be shown the account’s stories

HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM 2023 DECIDE WHICH REELS ARE SHOWN?

4 bullet points about what Fortay Media like about Instagram that influence the Instagram Algorithm

  • Previous likes and interactions on other reels will be taken into account when the algorithm is trying to determine which reels are most appropriate to show a user
  • Based on its caption, audio and pixels, the Instagram algorithm will try to determine what the reel is about and will conclude whether it is relevant to display in a user’s feed
  • Alike posts and stories, previous interactions will be taken into account when deciding whether to exhibit a user’s reel

HOW DOES THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM 2023 DECIDE WHAT IS SHOWN ON THE EXPLORE PAGE?

Most content that is shown on the Explore page is new and tends to be from accounts that the user does not follow so it is primarily based off:

  • The popularity of the post
  • It’s relevance to the user’s interests
  • The popularity and engagement metrics of the account that posted it

QUICK TIPS TO HELP ACHIEVE SUCCESS WITH THE INSTAGRAM ALGORITHM

  • Share your new posts to your story to increase visibility
  • Tag your posts in a popular geographical location
  • Use hashtags to help the algorithm determine the topic of your post and increase visibility (we recommend putting them in the comments section so that the algorithm does not perceive them as spam)
  • Encourage engagement from your followers by inviting them to comment on and share your content
  • Engage back with your followers such as responding to comments and DMs
  • Figure out when your audience is most active and post at those times for better reach
  • Incorporate reels into your marketing strategy
  • Post every couple of days to ensure that your content is consistently deemed relevant
  • Respect Instagram’s community guidelines
  • Make original content that makes you stand out from the crowd
  • Use trending sounds and stickers
  • Learn how to track and understand your analytics

The Instagram algorithm ensures that the content shown to users is relevant, interesting, engaging and appropriate. This can make it a popular marketing tool as businesses are able to reach their target audience without the need for paid ads (although these are an option on the platform as well). Nevertheless, the more a business knows about how the Instagram algorithm works, the more it can manipulate it to benefit its business objectives.

If you would like further information about how we utilise the Instagram algorithm to elevate the businesses that we work with, please get in touch.

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