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How The Instagram Algorithm Works As Explained By Instagram

Understanding the Instagram algorithm better is something that many users have always strived to do. You can now get a first-hand peek at the Instagram algorithm as provided by the site itself thanks to a recent media tour.

The elements of the Instagram algorithm

Instagram demonstrated how its algorithm works during a media tour of its new San Francisco office on June 2. In the demo, the site’s officials explained the three main factors used to determine what posts should show up in your feeds.

  1. Interest: Instagram determines if you are interested in a specific kind of post by looking back at how much you have engaged with similar posts before. It also revealed that it uses machine vision to further analyze and classify posts.
  2. Recency: Instagram weighs in on how recently a given image or video has been posted. It has recently unveiled several new tools to help you discover the latest posts.  
  3. Relationship: The site determines the degree of your relationships with a poster based on how often you engage with them. It takes into consideration both common interactions (getting more likes, comments, and tags) and direct messages.

These core factors are similar to the ones employed by Facebook, Instagram’s parent company. The latter is also frequently used by Facebook as a testing ground for its own visual recognition functions that are incorporated into its algorithm.

Additional signals

Aside from the core factors, the Instagram algorithm also takes the following signals into account when ranking posts on your feed:

  • Frequency: The site will try to show you the best posts that have appeared since the last time you logged in.
  • Following: Instagram will show posts that come from all the people that you are following, not just from a single person who is overwhelming popular or prolific.
  • Usage: Instagram decides whether to show the best posts during a given session or provide more content from a catalog based on the length of your usage.

These signals affect the ranking of posts that appear on your feeds in different ways.

Instagram noted that the introduction of an algorithm-based feed helped increase user engagement to 24 minutes a day. If you are a content creator, this provides a strong incentive to understand the algorithm better to create more effective and engaging Instagram content.

Clarifying Instagram algorithm myths

Instagram officials also took time to clarify some of the common misconceptions about its algorithm. They explained that, contrary to popular belief, the algorithm does not favor image or video posts. Instead, the ranking is based solely on the above criteria. The same can be said with regards to personal and business accounts, they added.

Another myth that the site’s team debunked is the supposed penalty for posting too often. They noted that this misconception might be due to the site’s priority of showing content from different accounts that a person follows instead of just one account. The video below provides more insights on other myths about the algorithm.

Officials also dismissed a long-standing rumor that it will be returning the older reverse-chronology timeline as an option. They clarified that they are not considering it at the moment as it will only add complexity to feed settings. The team has assured users that they are constantly listening to what they have to say about the platform though.

All of the clarifications made by the Instagram team will definitely be welcomed by content creators like you. With a clearer understanding of the Instagram algorithm, you can better plan out how to better and engage with your followers. Take advantage of the info to attract new Instagram followers to your page as well.

Date: June 4, 2018 / Categories: Engagement, / Author: Rich Drees


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