top of page
  • Lexie

How the Instagram Algorithm Works

Everyone shudders at the words "Instagram Algorithm", that's because us users can never seem to figure it out! Luckily for us, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri released a new video and blog post all about how they create the algorithm and how to take advantage of it.



Many people think that there is one over-arching algorithm that every account is programmed to, but Mosseri explained that its much different than that. Instagram actually creates a specific algorithm for each account that is based on the interactions and engagement of every creator.


Ranking


Instagram uses a ranking system to make sure that the content that you see is what you are most interested in. Each part of the app (Stories, Reels, Feed & Explore) has a different ranked algorithm in place so they can be specifically tailored to you. People tend to look for their close friends in Stories and new creators in Reels, so the ranking shouldn't be the same in those categories.


Feed Ranking

Your Feed is the home base of the Instagram app. This is where you want to see what your friends, family and favorite creators are up to. Instagram Feed used to show you posts from your following in chronological order, but now they cater it to each account to show you the things you will be most interested in first, no matter the time they were posted.


There are specific "Signals" that Instagram looks into to niche down your Feed and show you posts first.

Here is a list of the Feed Signals in order of importance:

  1. Your activity: posts you've liked, shared, saved or commented on

  2. Information about the post: how popular a post is, when it was posted & location

  3. Information about the person who posted: how interesting that person is to you, if they have high interactions

  4. Your history interacting with someone: how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person

From these Signals, Instagram makes predictions on what posts you are more likely to interact with and they put those towards the top of your Feed.


So, if you like a specific creator or brand, it is so important to be active with their posts to keep seeing them!


Stories Ranking

Your Stories are where you want to see everyday, behind the scenes-esque moments from the people you care about.


There are specific "Signals" that Instagram looks into to niche down your Stories.

Here is a list of the Stories Signals in order of importance:

  1. Viewing History: how often you view an account's Stories

  2. Engagement History: how often you engage with that account's stories, like sending a like or a DM

  3. Closeness: looks at your relationship with the creator, how likely you are to be connected

From these Signals, Instagram makes predictions on what Stories you'll find more relevant and valuable, including how likely you are to tap into a story, reply to a story or move on to the next story.


So, if you enjoy seeing someone's Stories often, make sure to view and engage with them to keep seeing them first!



Reels Ranking

Reels are designed to help you discover new things and creators. Majority of the Reels you see aren't from people you follow. Instagram uses Ranking to source Reels that they believe you might enjoy.


There are specific "Signals" that Instagram looks into when finding Reels to show you.

Here is a list of the Reels Signals in order of importance:

  1. Your activity: Reels you've liked, shared, saved or commented on

  2. Your history interacting with the person who posted: if you have interacted with someone before, it gives them an idea of what you are interested in

  3. Information about the Reel: what the Reel is about, the audio they used, visuals and if it is popular

  4. Information about the person who posted: number of followers and level of engagement

From these Signals, Instagram makes predictions on what Reels you would be interested in.


Instagram actually aims to make certain reels less visible for certain reasons, such as low-resolution or watermarked, Reels that are muted or contain borders, ones that are majority text, Reels that focus on political issues, or Reels that have already been posted on Instagram. So if you create a lot of Reels, make sure that you are within the guidelines of what Instagram looks for!


How you can make your Instagram functional to you

Now that you've learned what Instagram uses to determine what you see on the app, you need to start interacting in ways that will help them create the perfect Algorithm for you.


Personalizing your Feed:

  • Add accounts to your Favorites list to make sure you always see their content first

  • If you don't like Recommended Posts on your Feed you can silence them for 30 days

  • Pick your Close Friends on Stories so you can share only with the people you want to see

  • Mute accounts you aren't interested in. If you don't want to unfollow someone but aren't liking what they post, you can Mute them so you won't have to see their content.

  • Unfollow accounts you aren't interested in. People won't be notified when you unfollow them.

  • Respond to the surveys that pop up on your Instagram. When you respond to these, Instagram gets a better idea of what types of posts you do and don't like to see.


We hope that this post has helped you understand the Instagram Algorithm a little bit more. As time goes on, Instagram is always improving and testing things out to see how they work for users. Maybe someday Instagram will just go back to chronological order for good, but for now it's good to know how you can tailor your experience on the app!


Let us know what you think about the Instagram Algorithm below!



11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page