Sam Morrison | Editor at Social Pros
The Instagram algorithm is like a Rubik’s cube. There are a nearly infinite number of possible combinations, and if you don’t have specific instructions you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to solve it.
Now, no one completely understands how it works other than Instagram, but from what Instagram and other experts in the field have told us, we put together a guide you can use to unlock the Instagram algorithm for the most possible followers and post engagement.
If you’re interested in knowing how the different parts of the Instagram algorithm actually work, read the first section below.
If you don’t care how the Instagram algorithm works and just want to know 18 practical things you can do right now to get more followers and post engagement, then click here.
First, here’s a no-nonsense breakdown of how the Instagram algorithm works in 2019:
There are essentially two layers to the Instagram algorithm behind your feed.
The first layer, according to Instagram, is more important than the second layer and consists of three factors:
Instagram prioritizes showing you content that is similar to what you have viewed in the past. They use your past interactions with posts and potentially image recognition software to accomplish this.
Example: if you look at posts of dogs more than anything else, Instagram will prioritize showing you posts of dogs.
Instagram looks at how recently a post was uploaded.
Example: a post that was uploaded yesterday will be closer to the top of your feed than a post uploaded a week ago.
Instagram prioritizes showing you posts from people you are close to. It determines your relationships with people based on your interactions with them.
Example: if you consistently Like and comment on a specific person’s posts, that person’s posts will be closer to the top of your feed.
The second layer of the Instagram algorithm, although not as influential as the first layer, is still significant.
It also consists of three factors:
Instagram prioritizes showing you what it considers to be the best posts since your last visit to Instagram.
Example: a post that was uploaded between you closing the app and reopening it will show higher up in your feed.
The more people you follow, the more Instagram will show you posts from different people.
Example: if you follow 1,000 people, you will see fewer posts from any specific person that someone following 10 people.
The longer you spend on Instagram, the less relevant posts you will see.
Example: if you spend five minutes on Instagram and your friend spends two hours, you will see posts that better fit what you want to see more than your friend will.
Hashtag Search Results
When you search a hashtag on Instagram, you will see two results: Top Posts and Recent Posts.
Top Posts for hashtags are generated based on two factors:
- Amount of engagement
- Quickness of engagmeent
Instagram priotizes showing posts that have more engagement than other posts using the same hashtag.
Example: a post with 10,000 Likes and 200 comments is more likely to show up as a top post that a post with 500 Likes and 100 comments.
In addition to amount of engagement, Instagram also looks at how quickly a post receives its engagement.