SES 70: Breaking Down the Instagram Algorithm

Want to grow your Personal or Business account on Instagram? Want to get more followers on your Instagram as soon as possible? For those who are new to Instagram and are still getting familiar with every option and the settings, Instagram is a social media app, which lets you store and upload pictures, short video clips on the internet from your smart phone. You can like a picture or a post by giving it a heart, comment and follow others on the platform.

If you have been on the platform for quite some time now, and want to grow your profile, want to get more followers, then it is highly important for you to understand how Instagram works. Understanding the algorithm of this social media star and how it works, will allow you to grow with it quicker than you think.

So, today I’m going to break down the Algorithm with clarity to understand Instagram better.

  • Post to a Small Part of Audience: Did you know that every time you post a picture on Instagram at whatever time, the app algorithm actually displays your post to a very small part or portion of your followers. It initially shows it to only a few people. Why so? This happens just to test whether or not your followers like your post. Let’s say you have about 2000 followers on your Instagram, the algorithm will display it to only 70-100 of your followers to check if they like your post. And how does the algorithm check if your followers are interested in your picture/post? Well, it looks for the engagement the post gets – the number of likes and screen time. The algorithm determines the amount of time people spend to look at your post and calls it the screen time for that post. So, the algorithm will keep showing your post to more number of your followers if it gets good engagement and screen time. Also, the engagement of a post on Instagram is proportional to the size of its audience/followers.
  • Post goes to More People: Once the Instagram algorithm shows your picture/post of the initial smaller portion of your followers, it shows it to more and more people on the platform depending upon the amount of engagement it receives. So, the algorithm basically calculates how many more people to show it to, based on the engagement of the number of people in your audience with your post. It then shows it to 20%-25% of more of your followers checking if they would be interested in your picture/post. Algorithm repeats the process by showing your post to a larger portion of your audience until the engagement gets close to null, when the algorithm stops showing your post to people, when it finds no percentage of engagement with your post.
  • The Hero – #hashtag: People use so many crazy #hashtags these days to reach more and more people. But, not many people know that the Instagram algorithm uses the #hashtags as the search terms on Instagram. The #hashtags work in the similar fashion as the keywords in SEO on the internet. So, whenever you use any kind of #hashtag in your post, it serves the search terms of the algorithm grid. Whenever you search a particular #hashtag on the platform, the algorithm shows you all the posts with that #hashtag, with the relevant post that you’re looking for or you’d like at the top of the search result list. Now, to answer your query, in order to get more engagement of your post with the audience, make sure to use those kind of #hashtags to end up in the top search results, as it’s likely for people to find the top posts in the search #hashtag grid, click on your profile and follow your account. This way, the number of followers increases. Moreover, Instagram algorithm calculates the placement of numerous posts on Instagram using the #hashtags based on two features of the post – 1) How recent is the post? According to algorithm, the most recent posts tend to get higher ranks in the top searched #hashtags. 2) The kind of Engagement of the post, which is calculated as per the account size (followers count).
  • Accounts Suggestion: This is a tricky one to understand. The Instagram algorithm suggests accounts to huge number of users or people, which is why these accounts get high number of followers and engagement. So, how does it work? How does the algorithm show Instagram accounts in the suggested section? When a user follows someone’s Instagram account, let’s say ‘X’ and then follows your Instagram account, then the algorithm suggests your Instagram account to other users on the platform who like or follow the ‘X‘ Instagram account. Easy but little tricky, isn’t it? So, this is how the Instagram algorithm shows up different Instagram accounts or profiles in the suggested section to the users on the platform. Also, the algorithm works excellent for collabs! Suppose you’re collaborating with someone for work, then automatically you’re driving that person’s Instagram audience, which boosts your followers count too and vice versa.

I hope you’ll find this blog helpful if you’re interested in the Instagram Algorithm to get the maximum out of the platform for your business. If you haven’t already subscribed to the blog yet, I’d request you to do so, as we publish great content on SAP, Online Marketing and Business every single day (6 days a week!). So, make sure you never miss an update from us.

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