Staying up to date with every Instagram algorithm change is one of the toughest parts of succeeding on social media. With over 1.3 billion users and counting, Instagram continues to be one of the most valuable environments for finding and interacting with potential customers. Unfortunately, to capture the attention of your target audience, you first need to know how Instagram works.
The Instagram algorithm ever-evolving collections of rules and guidelines, designed to dictate which customers discover certain pieces of content. Failing to master the algorithm means you might fall behind your competition in the quest for new social media fans.
As we head into 2022, now is the perfect time to update your knowledge of the Instagram algorithm and prepare for a successful year of sharing.
How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work?
The Instagram algorithm isn’t just a single set of rules; it’s actually a series of classifiers, processes, and guidelines working together to send the right content to the correct followers.
To continue being one of the most popular social media tools on the market, Instagram needs to ensure it’s providing its users with the best possible selection of content. This means using specific factors to carefully curate and supply the right share of pictures and videos to each user.
Some of the ranking factors which dictate how you appear on Instagram include:
· Post information: Is the content a video, photo, or an Instagram story? When was it posted, and how much engagement has it earned so far?
· Creator information: How interesting is the post creator to the person who might see the content? Is the user already “friends” with the creator? Have they liked similar content in the past, or have similar people interacted with the poster before?
· Activity: Does the user tend to watch a lot of videos? What kind of content do they usually engage with?
· Interaction history: Has the user interacted with the creator’s post in the past? Do they tend to like or comment on the creator’s posts?
Based on all of these elements of information, Instagram calculates the likelihood of someone interacting with a post. This calculation creates a “score of interest” which determines how posts are going to be displayed on a user’s feed.
Instagram Algorithm Changes For 2022
While at a glance, Instagram’s algorithm strategy may seem simple enough, it becomes more complicated when you consider the rules are always changing.
Instagram has admitted to adding and removing signals and predictions over time as they attempt to get a better understanding of what their users are interested in.
As we head into 2022, Instagram’s goal will stay the same: to deliver the best content to the right people. However, the recommendations you’ll follow to appeal to the algorithm from year to year.
Instagram Feed & Videos
The Instagram algorithm follows different processes and guidelines depending on what part of the social media app you’re using. The Instagram “feed” and Instagram videos are perhaps the most popular aspects of Instagram for businesses and users alike.
The Instagram Feed is the primary environment where users will explore the latest content shared by the people they already follow. Instagram’s “Explore” feed shows content from people you don’t follow yet, but may be interested in.
The primary factors considered for ranking in the Instagram “feed” are the four mentioned above:
· Post information
· Creator information
· Interaction history
Notably, as Instagram continues to place further emphasis on providing accurate information, it ranks posts marked as “false” by third-party authenticators much lower on the feed.
Instagram also takes into consideration the likelihood of various important interactions. These key interactions help the algorithm make more decisions about feed ranking. For instance, interaction considerations may include how likely someone might be to:
· Taps on a profile
· Save content
· Comment on a post
· Like a post
· Spend time on a post
The higher the likelihood of action, the higher the post will rank.
Outside of feed posts and videos, Stories are perhaps the most popular feature of Instagram. There are over 500 million daily active users on Stories, and 70% of Instagram users watch Stories on a daily basis. So far, there hasn’t been much of a major Instagram algorithm change for Stories in 2022.
Stories follow similar algorithm rules to the feed. The content which appears at the start of your feed will be from the accounts you connect with most. However, frequency and timing seem to play a particularly important role when it comes to making your Stories stand out.
Posting Instagram Stories more often (on a daily basis) for instance, will help you reach viewers as they check out the Stories they’ve missed each day.
As one of the more recent additions to Instagram, Reels are one of the tools more likely to be influenced by an upcoming Instagram algorithm change. Reels are designed for fun, and entertainment at-speed, similar to Stories.
The algorithm for Reels works a lot like the algorithm for the Explore tab, as the majority of suggested Reels you see will come from accounts you don’t already follow.
Instagram asks for feedback on Reels, which can help with ranking. The Reels that rank highly as being entertaining or funny are more likely to appear for other users.
Instagram’s algorithm for Reels also attempts to predict how likely you are to watch the entire Reel and engage with it at the end. As usual, Instagram will be looking for insights into your preferences based on information like:
· Your history of viewing other Reels
· Your background of interactions with the account
· Data about the reel (what music it uses, its popularity, etc)
· Data about the poster (how popular they are)
Notably, there are also specific guidelines for what’s likely to be promoted in Reels. Political posts, watermarked videos, and low-resolution Reels probably won’t get priority treatment.
Instagram Explore Algorithm
Unlike on your feed and Stories, where IG displays posts from Instagram followers you already know, the Explore page is designed to give you an insight into the other kinds of content you can discover on the platform. This page is full of content you might be interested in seeing.
With the Instagram Explore page, factors like your previous history with a content creator won’t apply. Instead, Instagram looks at what kind of posts you’ve interacted with in the past. This involves examining all the account names, locations, hashtags, keywords, and other distinct elements used in posts you frequently engage with.
After seeing what kind of content you usually enjoy, the algorithm can suggest posts similar to things you already like. For businesses looking to stand out on Instagram, this means adapting to the Instagram Algorithm change means producing content with similar information, hashtags, and other elements to whatever your audience already likes engaging with.
To improve your chances of reaching people on the Instagram Explore page, it’s worth checking out the competitor posts your customers are already engaging with.
It’s also worth noting that Instagram will automatically avoid promoting potentially problematic content in the Explore tab. Making sure you’re up-to-date with the kind of content you should be able to safely share on Instagram is crucial.
Mastering Every Instagram Algorithm Change
Staying ahead of the curve with the Instagram algorithm can be difficult. With different algorithms for various parts of the application to keep track of, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, if you can commit the time and effort required to learning how Instagram understands and ranks content, the results can be phenomenal.
Adjusting your content to suit the demands of the Instagram algorithm means you don’t have to work as hard to capture the attention of your target audience. You might even see an increase in engagement and conversions as a result.
The next time you’re producing a post for Instagram, whether for the Explore page, IGTV, Reels, or Stories, use the information above to improve your chances of ranking on top.