When Instagram first launched, it was a simple photo-sharing app for iPhone users. People could take photos and upload them to their profile, where followers could browse them and like them as they pleased. If a user wanted to discover new people to follow, there was a Recommended Users tab filled with pre-approved users the app’s developers thought you might like based on your existing interactions with other users. It was fairly straightforward. If you take a look at Instagram today, things have changed quite a bit. The app now has over one billion monthly active users, with over 800 million monthly active users posting photos daily. In fact, Instagram is now so popular that if you search “selfie” or “foodporn” on Google images, the first result that comes up is almost always an image someone posted to Instagram. Even the company’s blog is updated multiple times per week with posts about new features and how creators can best use them to connect with their audience. Something else that’s changed? The algorithm behind your feed has significantly altered how content appears in your own personal lens of IG. While these changes might seem minor at first glance, they are actually very impactful for marketers and influencers alike.
What is the Instagram Algorithm?
Before diving into the algorithm’s ins and outs, it’s important to define what exactly it is. The Instagram algorithm hacks are an automated system that decides which content should appear first in your feed, which should appear second, and so on. It analyzes each post and then assigns it a number based on how relevant it is to you as a user. The Instagram algorithm considers the number of likes, comments, and shares each post has received, your relationship with the poster, your past engagement with similar posts, etc. These things are calculated to determine which posts show up first, second, third, and so on.
The Importance of Timing for Insta Brands
Instagram has become a goldmine for brands, and as such, it’s one of the most critical channels to nail down. While many brands have found success posting at the “ideal” times (like 9-10 am EST and 1-2 pm EST), other brands have found success posting at less-than-ideal times. The point is that each account is different, and your ideal posting times may not be the same as your competitor’s. For example, if your competitor’s followers are all early risers that start their day between 9-10 am EST, but yours are night owls that aren’t even awake until 10-11 pm EST, you’ll want to make sure you find the best times for your followers that work best with your content. The Instagram algorithm is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends to ensure your content appears first in your followers’ feeds.
Instagram’s New Focus: Good Experience for Users and Brand Partnerships
As a social media site, it’s in Instagram’s best interest to create an experience that best serves users. With over one billion monthly active users, Instagram is now a huge social network that brings in tons of ad dollars. As such, it’s important for the app to provide an enjoyable experience for both users and brand partners. For users, that means the feed is filled with content they find relevant, interesting, and timely. For brands, that means the algorithm places their content in front of the most engaged followers possible. Instagram’s blog highlights that “an important part of the feed is showing relationships between people and brands.”
How to Beat the IG Algo and Gain More Insta-Knowledge
To put it simply, stay informed. The more you know about how the algorithm works and what content performs best, the better equipped you’ll be to create content that appears in your followers’ feeds first, second, third, etc. That being said, there are a few key things you should know to help you navigate the social media seas. – Stay up to date with new Instagram changes. Instagram tends to make small adjustments to the algorithm (think: changes in scoring, order, etc.), so it’s important to stay up to date with any new changes they may make. If you notice a significant change in the way your content appears, it’s a good sign that the algorithm has been updated. – Find your sweet spot. When the algorithm changes, you may notice that your content is no longer showing up in your followers’ feeds as often. That’s because the algorithm may have shifted to favor posts that perform better. This can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that the Instagram algorithm is designed to benefit the user experience.
The Instagram algorithm is constantly evolving, meaning marketers and influencers must stay on top of the latest trends in order to best serve their audiences. The more you know about the algorithm and the best practices behind content creation, the better equipped you’ll be to create content that appears in your followers’ feeds first, second, third, etc. With that being said, it’s important to remember not to get too caught up in the numbers. Yes, it’s important to know what content performs best and how often your content appears in your followers’ feeds, but it’s also important to remember that Instagram is a visual platform where creativity reigns supreme.