Instagram Algorithm Explained – All you Need to Know For 2024

How to get more Instagram likes? We’ve all come across this question, and it can be frustrating to figure out an exact answer to it. And that’s exactly where you need to know more about Instagram algorithms.

No matter whether you are a beginner or an influencer on the platform, the algorithm affects your daily social media life. In fact, your success lies in your ability to understand and adapt to it. So, how can you crack it? Let’s look at how the Instagram algorithm works and how you can use it to push your content to more people. 🚀

What is Instagram Algorithm?

Have you ever wondered why some Instagram posts get more likes and comments than yours? Instagram’s algorithm is behind that. Although it’s often talked about in social media circles, many people don’t fully understand how it works.

The Instagram algorithm is a set of predefined rules that determine the ranking of content on the platform. In other words, the Instagram algorithm looks at your content and gathers information about it. Then, it matches it with the users’ interests and distributes them based on that. The main aim of it is to ensure that every user gets what he needs. No rocket science. It’s as simple as that.

If you are a content creator looking to improve your reach on the platform, the Instagram algorithm is your best friend. Why? You can make tactical strategies to ‘hack’ Instagram’s algorithm to reach your target audience more effectively.

For that, you need to understand how it works. So, let’s start with the basics! 🤓

How Instagram Algorithm Work in 2024?

Well, this is exactly how the algorithm works. This allows users to find content that’s most relevant to them and maximizes their time on the platform.

One of the most common misconceptions among content creators is that Instagram works with a single algorithm. But, Instagram has different algorithms for the Reels, Feeds, Explore, and Stories sections. Why? Because the purpose of each section is different. For instance, you might scroll through your feed to see what’s going on with your close friends. But, when you spend time in the Reels section, then you might probably be interested in entertainment.

Now, let’s look at how each section’s algorithm works 👇

How Instagram algorithm work for Feed posts?

The feed is the first thing users see when opening the app. That means it is the primary area to focus on. However, it is not as easy as you might think. Remember, your feed is a mixture of photos, videos, and carousels posted by anyone they follow, anyone they might be interested in, and sponsored posts. Pretty tight competition, right?

So, the algorithm takes many factors into account to prioritize posts on the feed.

Let’s look at those ‘factors’.

  1. Post information 📄 First of all, the algorithm analyzes the basic information about your posts. How many likes did it get? Is the post tagged at a particular location? Is the comment box interactive? Have people found it useful and shared it?
  2. Your Information 🧑 The algorithm also takes into account the account information of the content creator. It checks the user’s engagement and interaction with the content creator to determine whether he is relevant to the feed.
  3. User Activity 🕒 The Instagram algorithm checks what kind of posts the user has engaged with in the past to determine his interests. If a user has previously engaged with content similar to yours, they are more likely to see your content.
  4. Interaction 💬 Instagram checks the interaction history of both the content creator and the user. When was the last time you interacted in the comment box or inbox? Then, he is more likely to see your posts. That’s why it is critical to respond promptly.

Considering these factors, it is almost clear that engagement is the key component that pushes your content to a feed. So, it is better to create content that sparks an interaction or debate in the comment.

Above all, here are some more minor things considered by the algorithm:

  • Image or video quality.
  • If your content violates copyright laws, it will be punished in the feed.
  • Reported content will have a lower reach.

How Instagram Algorithm Work for Stories?

Instagram stories are one of the most popular marketing spaces. There’s just one catch: it only lasts for 24 hours. On top of that, stories are often considered as a personalized space where users mostly look to know the updates of their closest ones. Even popular brands struggle to gain traction from stories. That’s why you need a closer look at the ‘signals’ the platform considers ranking stories. Here are some of them:

  1. Story Information: Basic information about the story such as the content, emojis, caption, and all are considered. For instance, using trending songs along with stories results in better reach.
  2. Your Account Information: have you frequently interacted with users in the comment and inbox section? This is a crucial component in determining your story’s reach.
  3. Viewing History: Does a user view your stories list or skip it? The more often they see your stories, the more chances of the algorithm pushing them to the top of their feed.
  4. Engagement History: If a user replied or engaged with your story before, he is more likely to see your future stories, too.

That’s why it is better to post stories that trigger responses and create relationships like a quiz, puzzle, or poll. These types of posts create a sense of community, which helps to grow followers and reach more people.

How Instagram Algorithm Works for Reels?

So, let’s get into the most awaited part of the blog. We all know that entertainment is the top priority in Instagram reels. Moreover, a user can view reels from accounts they follow and don’t follow in this section. Thus, Instagram reels are the most effective space available for branding companies. The algorithm ranks content based on:

  1. User activity: Like any other section, the algorithm first considers the user’s activity such as the posts and accounts he has engaged with. Then, it determines whether your reel is appropriate for them.
  2. Reel Information: Based on the caption and audio track, Instagram checks out what type of content you have created. Then, it matches the interests of users and pushes them to the feed of your target audience.
  3. User Interaction history: Have you ever wondered why the Instagram reel feed keeps showing you content similar to the one you engaged in earlier? That’s because the algorithm considers your interaction history.
  4. Content Creator account: Last but not least, the algorithm considers your account information for prioritizing reels. The number of followers, posts, consistency, and all have an impact on the reach of your reels.

A Statista survey states that creative and funny reels are likely to get more reach. 50% of users prefer funny content while 46% prefer unique and creative content. Informational contents too have its own audience base. Read more on how to create viral content here.

How Instagram Algorithm Works for Explore Section?

Explore section is the area where you are likely to come across content from accounts you have not followed. Actually, this section was created to help users discover new accounts. Sounds like an ideal space for brands, isn’t it? Yes, it is. Now, let’s see how you can gain from this section.

The explore section works similarly to that of Reels. Here are some factors the algorithm considers:

  1. Post Information: The primary ranking factor in the explore section is post information. The algorithm analyzes post popularity by metrics such as likes, comments, views, and shares. Then, if your post is similar to the type of post the user has engaged with before, the algorithm will push your content to the Explore section.
  2. Interaction history: even though the posts of accounts that are not followed yet are more likely to appear in the Explore section, the algorithm boosts the posts of accounts that a user has interacted with in the past.
  3. User activity: What kind of posts have you engaged with? What type of content are you interested in? This section is primarily determined by the answers to these questions.
  4. Content Creator information: Finally, Instagram evaluates your popularity by checking how much interaction you have raised over recent posts. If you have proven to be an engaging content creator, the algorithm will boost your content in the Explore section.

The Explore algorithm is one of the most evolving ones with the introduction of updated categories and features.

Recent changes to the Instagram Algorithm in 2024

Instagram’s algorithm is constantly evolving with constant updating of new features. However, the main aim still remains intact: to deliver content according to the interests of the user. Here are some key changes that are expected to be implemented in Instagram algorithm 2024:

December 2023 – A major Instagram announcement in December 2023 introduced a new feature called nearby reels. Through this, the algorithm focuses on prioritizing community-based content. This feature would be a game changer for local businesses trying to reach a target audience at a specific location. It is not yet available but is expected to roll out globally soon.

Yet another new announcement is the introduction of an achievement feature in the professional dashboard. As per this, the platform offers various milestones from posting constantly to engagement metrics. Content creators who have reached such milestones can attain badges and celebrate their achievements by posting them on the platform. However, this feature is now available for only some users and is not accessible to some regions.

According to the latest reports, Instagram is expected to launch brand-new editing features to the app so that content creators can edit videos without relying on third-party apps. The upcoming version of Instagram is expected to come up with a lot of features such as AI voice, fonts, and so on. It will be more mobile-friendly with the addition of undo and redo options. The main aim of this is to draw in more content creators to the platform.

Instagram is testing a new feature called Meta feed that introduces content from verified users only. It is launched with the aim of boosting the demand for verified accounts.

The app may allow users to request being mentioned in a story that they appear in but were not tagged by the original poster. Again, this may not be a big one but is expected to improve the collaborative nature of the platform.

We all know that Instagram counts views on Reel based on how many users viewed it not how many times they played. Well, the platform has stepped in to solve this with a new view system that includes replays. For instance, if your Reel is viewed by one person 7 times, it will count on 7 views with the launch of the new system.

Is the Instagram Algorithm helpful?

A common hot debate around social media is: Is Instagram Algorithm a blessing or curse? Actually, it’s a blessing in disguise. Have a look at its benefits and decide for yourself:

  • The Instagram algorithm delivers what you want based on your previous interactions. Otherwise, you might find yourself scrolling through the vast black hole to find a piece of relevant content.
  • The algorithm helps you to find users who share your interests more easily. It is possible for any brand with high-quality content can aim for reach without breaking the bank for sponsored ads or promotions.
  • The algorithm plays a vital role in fairly treating all types of content creators. It gives an opportunity for creators with even fewer followers a chance to be viewed.
  • The algorithm encourages users to interact with your content. This way, you can build and maintain good relationships with followers.

Significance of Hashtags and Captions in Instagram Algorithm

While ranking your content, the algorithm considers everything from alt text to hashtags and engagement metrics. But, most content creators often omit this part. Including relevant hashtags can make your post visible to an interested audience more easily. You can find and use several free trending hashtag generators for better reach. Reports state that posts with up to 3 hashtags will see the most effective results.

Instagram’s algorithm takes into account the time users spend interacting with a post. Engaging captions can be a driving factor in holding their attention for at least 3 seconds. So, make the most of it. It is better to incorporate keywords related to your content in the caption to make it more visible in a search engine. Moreover, consider ending with words like ‘comment down your thoughts’ to heat up interaction.

5 Tips to ‘Hack’ Instagram Algorithm in 2024

Fine, you have got the point, right? Now, it’s time to check out how you can use this knowledge to increase your reach. Here are some ways to consider:

Post at the right time

As mentioned earlier, audience engagement is the most important metric considered by the algorithm while ranking content. Suppose you posted the content at the right time when your target audience is most active, and some of them interacted early on. Following that, the Instagram algorithm will boost your content in the feeds and explore sections based on the organic reach of your content. Read more about the best time to post on Instagram here.

2. Consistency is the King

Account information such as the number of followers, interactions, and consistency are considered while ranking your content. So, you are required to keep the account active with posts to increase reach.

Try to stick to this schedule and avoid taking long breaks.

3. Lively interaction

Interaction is one of the most significant factors considered by the Instagram algorithm. That’s why Instagram influencers go live weekly. Giving prompt responses to the comment section and inbox is a great way to build connections. Such an approach not only creates connection but establishes trust among the viewers. So, keep in mind that dropping just a ‘thank you‘ in the comment section could create an improvement in the performance of your post.

4. Use trending music

One of the best ways to increase views of Instagram Reels is to use trending audio tracks. Remember that the algorithm goes through every aspect of your content from caption to pixel resolution, including audio while ranking it. And, guess what? You need to spend hours on the internet searching for it. Simply, click on the ‘trending’ button when you upload a reel and choose from the list of 50 top-trending songs.

5. Check out what’s working 

Sometimes, the Instagram algorithm might work strangely and you may not understand it. In such a situation, look at the analytics section of the platform and identify what has worked out in the past. This will help you identify what kind of content your audience is interested in and you can focus on that.

6. Tag your location

Tagging is a free promotional option that you could use to increase the reach of your content, just like hashtags and keywords. How? Because the algorithm identifies the content as relevant to the people in that location and pushes it to their feed. This could be really helpful for local businesses with a target audience concentrated on a specific region. Additionally, the content gets visible to those who search for posts published in a specific area.

Final Words

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