Have you ever wondered about Instagram’s algorithm? How and why you’re served the content, you see? Let’s takes a closer look.
While Instagram’s algorithm is more complex than what you just see on your feed, that’s what we’ll be focusing on today. Of course, there is still more to learn about when it comes to other Instagram features like stories, the explore page, reels, and IGTV, but we’ll focus on your feed for today.
Why Have an Algorithm?
In June of 2021, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, published an article, “Shedding More Light on How Instagram Works,” to clarify further how the app ranks each of Instagram features. In the article, Mosseri states that the purpose of these algorithms is to “make the most of your time” and that they “believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that.”
As opposed to the way Instagram used to be, a long stream of pictures that appeared chronologically, the whole point of the algorithms is to make sure you see the content you want to see, rather than the content with which you’re not as likely to enjoy or interact. So, what does that mean for social media marketers and influencers? It means they’ll have to study up on the algorithm and learn how to best it. Let’s look at how a person’s Instagram feed is ranked, according to Adam Mosseri.
How Your Feed Is Ranked
The thought behind how Instagram shows you content on your feed is to show you the content of the people with who you’re closest. Like your best friends, family members, and even influencers and brands that you follow closely. So the first thing that the software considers is who you interact with the most and whose content you genuinely care about, and their most recent posts.
At this point, Instagram’s algorithm gets to work by collecting tons of information about everything that’s posted to make Instagram’s set of predictions. Predictions are essentially an educated guess at how likely you’ll interact with a post based on the collected information. If the probability is low, that post may hide quite a ways down your feed, or you might not even see it at all. If the likelihood that you’ll interact with the post is high, it’s likely going to be within the first few scrolls.
So, what kind of information are they collecting from each post? You might wonder. Well, there are literally thousands of “signals” they’re looking for, but here are the top four notes the algorithm takes:
- Information about the post – Things like when did the post go live? Does the post contain a video, picture, or multiple pictures? How many people have liked it, commented, or interacted with it in some way?
- Information about the poster – Who is this person, and what do they generally post?
- Your activity – What kind of accounts do you follow? What content are you posting, and what content are you consuming?
- Your history with someone you follow – Do you typically like that person’s posts? Or better yet, do you comment on their posts? Do you click on their profile when they come across your feed?
With few exceptions, this is typically how and why someone sees their content. Exceptions might include avoiding showing too much content from the same person or showing their posts repeatedly in a row.
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