Instagram Algorithm 101

Over time, Instagram and several other apps have been changing their look and features on their platform. Some users might say these changes are for the best, but others don’t believe they are getting the full experience anymore. Platforms, such as Instagram, have utilized stories, timelines, highlights, direct messages and liking comments for an all-around interactive experience on their app, but some features are missing for some individuals.

Recently, Instagram updated their app to have a new display in the user’s feed. One of the significant updates has been disabling the timely order of posts. Dismissing the chronological order of posts has made an impact on the number of views individuals post on their stories. I have discovered some hacks to Instagram’s algorithm to guarantee you are getting all those likes on your posts and features included in the app. 

Consistency is key

Instagram rewards users for being interactive with their followers. Making sure that you’re liking and commenting on posts as well as posting on your feed makes your reach wider.

The algorithm determines your relationship with your set of followers or followings

If you are commenting frequently on a person’s posts or tagged in an individual's pictures frequently, Instagram will automatically create a relationship between your account and that other person’s. So make sure you’re replying to comments on your posts, interacting on other posts, answering DMs and tagging your friends. 

Instagram will lower your reach if you change your caption

Crazy, I know! They always say to proofread your work in class, so triple-check those Instagram captions and make them final to keep the algorithm in your favor.

Users are rewarded for engaging on the platform

Use all of the features, especially on Instagram stories, to engage with your followers. Utilize the polls, music, gifs, questions and even IGTV to boost overall engagement with your following. The more opportunities for engagement you allow on your account, the more engagement you will get.

Timeliness is a colossal factor taken into consideration toward the algorithm

If you’re posting at a time that most of your followers will be on the app, you’ve automatically given yourself an advantage in the algorithm. Using the Instagram Insights, this feature provides analytics which monitors which times your followers are most active online. Utilizing the Instagram Insights page assists in understanding what your followers are wanting to see. In this feature you can see the total interactions on a post, the different sectors of engagement on each post and you are also able to look at data as to how your post was discovered. This could be through hashtags, locations, the explore page or organically following an individual’s feed.


The type of comment matters

Commenting on someone’s post with just emojis does not contribute to the algorithm. Commenting or replying with four words or more counts towards the algorithm. Yes, you can still use emojis, but they won’t boost engagement.

The more you’re on the app, the more sorted your posts will be

If you’re a “frequent scroller,” your feed will resemble close to chronological order, like Instagram was before the significant updates. As a college student, I catch myself in a routine with my daily scroll. Most days it is during the morning when I’m still laying in bed, my walk in-between classes, when I’m sitting down to eat and right before I’m about to go to bed.


Edited by Geena Anderson