To be successful on Instagram, it’s important to understand how the platform works so you can plan an effective content strategy. Instagram’s technology decides which posts show up for users first, which posts appear in the explore section and why some posts may get more views than others.
Ever since Instagram moved away from the chronological feed there’s been a lot of confusion surrounding their new algorithm. One of the main misconceptions is that Instagram has just one algorithm that determines what people do and don’t see.
Instagram actually uses a variety of processes and algorithms each with a different purpose to personalise their users’ experience.
In this blog post we’ll be exploring how Instagram’s algorithms work for feed posts, stories and the explore page.
Feed Post Algorithm
There are four main factors that influence the appearance of posts in your feed. These are:
- Post information – when it was posted, how many likes it has and the format of the post.
- Poster information – how often you engage with their content, if they’re your friend and how interesting their page is to you.
- Your activity – what type of content you usually engage with.
- Your interaction history – whether you usually interact with the poster’s content, so how often you like or comment on their posts.
Using this information, the feed post algorithm calculates how likely someone is to interact with the post and assigns a score of interest. Using this score Instagram orders posts in your feed accordingly.
But it doesn’t stop there, Instagram also takes into account what kind of interaction you have with the posts you see. There are five main types of post engagement which are:
- Time spent looking at the post.
- Liking the post.
- Leaving a comment.
- Saving the post.
- Viewing the poster’s profile.
Each type of interaction in the list holds more weight than the previous, the weight of the engagement you’re most likely to have determines how high in your feed you’ll see the post.
The Instagram algorithm for Instagram Stories is very similar to the feed algorithm.
Instagram Stories that appear first on your feed are from accounts with the highest level of engagement with you. So, for the most part this will be friends on Instagram, but as stories roll over potential customers are still likely to see your content after they’ve watched their friend’s stories.
To make sure your stories achieve high rates of engagement you should consistently post to Instagram Stories. By posting to Instagram Stories more often, you have a better chance of reaching viewers as they browse their daily stories, and the more interaction your stories get the higher up the list they’ll be in the story feed.
You can schedule Instagram Stories to make sure your posting is consistent and far reaching.
The Explore Page Algorithm
The explore page algorithm is again similar to the feed post algorithm – they both deliver content based on your predicted score of interest on a post, calculated from your previous activity on the platform.
The main difference is that your feed is from accounts you already follow and the majority of your explore page will be content from new accounts.
The four main factors that determine if posts appear on the explore page are:
- Information about the post – how much interaction does it get and how quickly?
- Your interaction history with the poster – Have you interacted with this person or their content in the past (even if you don’t follow them)?
- Your activity – how do you usually interact with posts on the explore page and what type of content do you engage with?
- Information about Poster – how much engagement have they received on the platform recently?
To Sum Up…
Instagram is one of the most important social media platforms for your marketing strategy. Whether you’re a big corporation, a small business, or you’re looking to promote your own personal brand, understanding Instagram and its algorithms is key for your success.
For advice from our team of experts and a tailor-made social strategy specifically for your business, contact us at Floodmaker here.