Understand How Instagram Algorithm Works

Welcome to the intriguing world of Instagram, where captivating images, engaging stories, and beautiful Instagram videos, aka reels, come to life. And if a ringmaster is ruling this platform, then it is the Instagram Algorithm. 

And surely, it has kept the creators, business owners, and Instagram users on their toes. The Instagram algorithm works magic, shaping what you see on your feed.

We noticed the scratching of the heads over it again and decided to dissect the formula of this invisible force Instagram Algorithm. 

Therefore, In this blog, we’ll unravel the mysteries of this algorithm, uncovering its inner workings and shedding light on how it influences your Instagram experience. Get ready to uncover the secrets that make your scrolling journey so enchanting. 

Let’s dive in!

Does Instagram Algorithm even exist? Or Are We On A Wild Goose Chase? 

In May 2023, Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, shared a few insights about the existence of the Instagram algorithm for transparency. So, we are sure we are chasing the right goose. 

However, there is a misconception that Instagram follows only one algorithm. Instagram uses various algorithms, classifiers, and processes to determine what content users see on the Platform. It is also important to understand that there isn’t just one overarching algorithm that controls everything. 

When Instagram first started in 2010, users could see the content on the platform in chronological order. However, as the platform grew and people started sharing more and more content, it became difficult for the users to keep a tab on all the content. 

To address this issue, Instagram introduced a Feed that ranks posts based on users’ interests. It means the posts you see in your Feed are personalized to your preferences and the accounts you engage with the most.

The algorithm considers factors like your interactions with posts of a particular niche, the timeliness of posts, and many other signals to determine the order in which content appears.

It’s also worth noting that different sections of Instagram, such as the Feed, Explore, and Reels, have their algorithms tailored to how people use those features. 

6 Factors That Determines The Instagram Algorithm

The Instagram algorithm is a system that decides what content appears in your Instagram feed and Explore page. It uses machine learning to personalize your experience. Six key factors influence the algorithm: interest, timeliness, relationship, frequency, following, and usage.

1. Interest: If the User Would Like To See Such Content? 

Based on your past activity, Instagram predicts how much you have interacted with a certain post. If you engage more with specific content, like food, comedy videos, fitness tips, etc. then Instagram will prioritize showing you more food-related posts.

For instance, remember the last time you saved, liked, or shared a certain Instagram post. And since then whenever you’ve opened Instagram you started stumbling around such posts in your home feed or explore.

2. Following: Does The User Follow Them? 

The algorithm has more content to sort through if you follow many accounts. It means you might see less from each account. If you follow a few select accounts, you will likely see more from them. 

Remember that, even as a post with maximum engagement (in terms of Likes, comments, and shares), it may still not be at the top of the explore feed. In contrast, a post with less engagement but relevant content will do so. 

3. Timing Matters: How New is The Post? 

As a user, have you ever noticed that Instagram hardly shows the same content twice on your feed? It is because Instagram wants to show you recent and relevant posts. 

As per the words of former Director Engineer at Instagram, Thomas Dimson, The algorithm focuses on sorting the new posts between your current and last visits, so you see the most recent content. 

For example, if you logged in at 8 in the evening and logged in again at 11 in the morning the next day, Instagram will show your the most recent and most relevant content from this duration. 

4. Frequency: Does the user Often Open Instagram? 

In continuation to the above factor, you should know that the frequency of logging into Instagram is one of the important factors you should be aware of.

How often a user opens Instagram affects the algorithm. If he checks the app daily, it shows them the most relevant posts for that day. If they check it more frequently, it tries to show them new content they haven’t seen before. It is why it is advised to tailor the content that resonates with the buyer’s persona.Β 

5. Relationship: Does The User Interact With these posts?

Instagram algorithms see what relationships users have with others. Metaphorically. 

Don’t worry. Instagram is not a snoopy stalker.

The Instagram algorithm takes into account the accounts you regularly interact with. It wants to ensure you don’t miss important posts from your friends and family. 

The more you engage with an account, the higher its content will appear in your feed. Apart from that, when a user searches for a profile frequently, It signals Instagram to make the profile a priority for the users. Eventually, helping the user never miss any updates from those profiles. 

6. Usage: How Long a User Spends Time on Instagram? 

The algorithm also considers how long you spend on Instagram. If you browse for short periods, it first shows the most relevant posts. If you prefer longer browsing sessions, it provides a wider range of fresh content to explore.

Effective Ways To Make The Algorithm Work For You

Instagram is known for its consistent changes in the algorithm. And users have been worrying about it. While you need to know how the Instagram algorithm works, it is also essential to know how users can befriend the algorithm. 

We have prepared a structured way for you to take the first step in this friendship, considering the framework mentioned above. Look at the effective and static ways to make the algorithm work for you.  

1. Identify Your Target Audience 

Instagram is a place with various criteria for content. At first, you might want to post about every trending topic, music, and ongoing debate. But does your target audience care about it? When you try to reach out to anyone or everyone, chances are your marketing strategy will be all over the place.

One of the basic steps you can take to streamline all your Instagram marketing efforts is to identify your target audience. A defined target audience might seem like a limited scope, but it will broaden your reach and arena. It will help you make your brand voice consistent. Remember that every aspect of your brand voice must resonate with the people you want to reach. 

2. Get Along With The New Features 

Regular feature updates on Instagram ensure that none of your moments are left uncaptured. Instagram has all the scope of sharing content from Stories, Reels, and now Threads. There is no direct way that Instagram favors its new features. Instagram CEO Mosseri words, β€œInstagram should be a place where you discover amazing things every time you use it.”

And with this statement, we can conclude that Instagram loves to showcase its user’s new content every time. And that the platform prioritizes newer content over others. It is notable that Instagram also makes it certain that the other creator does not feel like a pariah. It is why Instagram has given prime location to some of its features. For example, Instagram Stories are shown at the top of the screen, while Instagram Reels have moved to the menu’s center.

3. Go for Authentic Engagement

Instagram loves it when you have authentic engagement. We know how pressurizing it is in a world of likes and comments. And any user might slip into the traps of engagement groups. These groups might bring you the engagement the user wishes for but will hamper their algorithm in the long run. The mixed set of people liking and commenting on users’ Instagram posts will confuse the platform’s algorithm, who to suggest the user’s content.

It is why it is suggested to go for authentic engagement. 

Authentic engagement is all about the real connection you make with people. Or simply when people find your content relevant to their needs. Start with empathetically replying to all the comments you have received. 

Make sure to talk to your audience and engage with them. The more you establish your real connection with them, the more the Instagram algorithm will reward you. Another great way to establish a real connection and foster authentic engagement is using Instagram’s stickers and poll options. Users can easily ask for opinions from their target audience, and based on that, they can create content around it. Moreover, you should definitely use Instagram hashtags to increase the reach of your posts. 

4. Use The Analytics Feature To Know What’s Working 

Instagram Analytics, also known as Instagram Insights, is an inbuilt tool enabling Instagram Business Accounts to see their posts and profile analytics. Using this feature, users can know what amount of audience they have reached in a week or a month and many other information. 

Instagram analytics is one of the best ways to know what content the audience enjoys. It enables users to know which posts have received the maximum engagement. Users can also sort posts by the number of comments, likes, and saves. 

Final Words 

We are now at the final episode of how the Instagram Algorithm works. 

Remember that the Instagram algorithm is not your enemy. It is your best friend who wants to make sure that, as a user, you make good decisions on the platform. It ensures you follow the authentic way to use the platform and do not fall into the trap of malfunctioning for a few likes and comments. 

Authenticity and transparency is the best way to engage an honest audience on the platform. Some hacks might be beneficial in the short run but are not a good recipe for a long-term relationship with the platform and your audience. 

So keep creating content that serves your audience and will serve you back. 


No. Instagram does not give extra weightage to video or reel content. Like feed content, Instagram uses various factors to determine whether a Reel or post is worth topping the Explore feed.

No. Creating more Instagram stories or Livestream does not help you rank on the platform. However, it does help the user to spark a conversation and establish a real connection on the platform. If you create relevant content using the Stories and Live feature, there is a slight chance your content will appear more on your follower’s feeds. Refer to point 5 in this blog.

Many creators have found that Reels fetch more engagement in terms of likes and comments for them. But there is no direct proof that Instagram favours a particular type of content on the platform. As a content creator on Instagram, you can create any content that resonates well with your niche.Β 

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