Ever posted something on Instagram and it suddenly gained so many engagements even though your other posts got less than 2 likes? We understand that struggle. The Instagram algorithm can be a bit confusing considering there are multiple factors that affect it. Let us help you unearth that mystery for a minute.
In reality, no one except the ones involved in the development of Instagram knows how the real algorithm works. Despite the research on it from different agencies and Instagram themselves shedding more light on it, a lot of content creators and users still struggle to understand it. You can decide to guess or base your content planning on data, which we highly recommend — but the other option is to continue reading to understand the technology a bit more. Before we proceed to the nitty gritty and learn how to beat the Instagram algorithm, we first must recognize their primary goal to keep users in the app for as long as they can by presenting users with content they’re most likely to relate to and interact with.
There’s more than one algorithm
There isn’t. Instagram uses a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes with their own purposes. They have set different algorithms when determining which content to boost in terms of Feed, Explore, and Reels.
Feed is where people would usually see content from their friends, family, and those they usually interact with. Although this part of Instagram is usually for following, some things are still put into consideration like information about the post, relationship with the creator, current activity, and information about the person who posted. The Explore page considers the same things as mentioned but is different in the sense that it’s more specifically designed to help you discover new things that are still in relation to things you might be interested in. Lastly, Reels is a slight combination of the two pages – Feed and Explore. The signals are slightly different since it considers your activity first among everything else. The audio and quality of your Reel are also put into consideration when it comes to Instagram boosting content on the Reel page.
These algorithm and ranking rules can be a bit confusing but it all essentially boils down to the top 3 ranking factors: relationship, interest, and relevancy.
- Relationship – between you and your audience. This means you’ll have to engage with your audience and build an active community to improve your brand’s visibility.
- Interest – How likely they are to interact with your content depending on its context. Instagram recognizes when users enjoy a certain type of content and they serve them more of the same type. This is where you’ll be using your analytics and insights to pinpoint which type of content will work best for your target audience.
- Relevancy – Timeliness of the content you’re producing regardless of its content pillar.
Regardless of where you usually put your hashtags whether it be in the captions or in the comment section, adding it increases the chances of the Instagram algorithm picking it up. If you’re not doing it yet, adding relevant hashtags and keywords to your posts is a sure way to expand your audience and get more reach. Doing this enables Instagram to categorize your post under these tags and users searching for any topic in relation, will be able to see your post. There are online tools that you can use to see which hashtags are best for your target to efficiently increase your Instagram discoverability.
Learning about the Instagram algorithm whilst not being able to create content that is engaging for your audience can be a bit counterintuitive. While understanding the algorithm is important in planning your social media strategy, it’s also important that you’re able to produce content that your audience will surely interact with.
You can have content pillars for your social media strategy to balance out and plan the content you’ll be producing but the goal is to allow your audience space and opportunity to interact with you. Adding to this, putting a simple call to action at the end of your captions can also help. Posts with higher engagement have a higher chance of discoverability.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to Instagram is that as long as it keeps users in the app for longer, it works. That is as simple as it gets despite the very confusing nitty gritty of the Instagram algorithm. As the technology keeps on evolving to improve the user’s experience, it’s undoubtedly daunting to try and beat the algorithm but it’s not impossible. The above is some knowledge you can use to your advantage in addition to your account’s insights and analytics, to be able to create content that encourages interactions with your community to boost your discoverability.
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