In years past, conversations around the Instagram algorithm consisted of a lot of hearsay and not much data. Although recently, Instagram has provided more and more insight into how the algorithm itself actually works. This allows personal, business, and creator accounts to have a better understanding of what the algorithm is and how to work with it. Here are the facts - from Instagram themselves.

There isn’t just one algorithm on Instagram.

We often refer to the Instagram algorithm as a singular concept, although there are actually multiple algorithms working throughout the Instagram app. From the Instagram feed to the Explore Page to the Instagram Reels, each feature has its own algorithm working to its unique functionality. With each of them working slightly differently, each of them is working to achieve the same goal: to deliver content that users are most interested in.

Four key factors that decide your feed ranking.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, recently shared a Live letting the entire community of Instagram know exactly how the Instagram feed algorithm works. 

  1. Information about the post itself. What is the post about? Does it have a lot of engagement already?
  2. Information about who is posting it. What connections do you have with them?
  3. Your activity on the platform. What type of content do you typically engage with?
  4. Your interaction history on the platform. Who’s content do you normally engage with?

From there, Instagram calculates your “score of interest.” Based on the four key factors listed above, Instagram will determine how likely you are to engage with a post and then rank it on your feed accordingly. 

Five “important” interactions for the Instagram feed algorithm.

During Mosseri’s Live he also explained the most “important” interactions for the Instagram feed algorithm. 

  1. How much time will you spend on the post?
  2. How likely are you to like the post?
  3. How likely are you to comment on the post?
  4. How likely are you to save the post?
  5. How likely are you to visit the poster’s profile after seeing the post?

If the user is unlikely to interact with the post in any way, the algorithm will deprioritize the post in their feed. The opposite is also true. If the user is more likely to interact with the post, the higher it will be in their feed.

Timeliness is important, but not the only consideration.

At one point in time, Instagram’s feed was strictly in chronological order, but not anymore. In Mosseri’s Live, he explained, “the feed is roughly, but not strictly, chronological.” This being said, your post may be shown ahead of a recent one, if you have a higher “score of interest” for that user. Although, as more time passes, recency (or the lack of it) will outweigh the score of interest because the algorithm will favor newer posts.

Whether you have a personal, a business, or a creator account, it’s important to know how the Instagram algorithms work, so you can work with it to create a thriving Instagram community!