How To Use The New Instagram Algorithm To Your Brand’s Advantage

How To Use The New Instagram Algorithm To Your Brand’s Advantage

A few days ago TechCrunch sat in on a whiteboard session with Instagram and other reporters and shared with the internet how the Instagram algorithm works. Now that the “secret” is out, brands and business can take the guesswork out of the Instagram algorithm and how it works. In this post I’ll review the Instagram algorithm details and how to make it work in your favor.

The bottom line is the more users and accounts there are on a platform, the more need there is for an algorithm to help sort content and keep the user entertained on the social network (you know, for ads later on).

First let’s go over how the algorithm chooses what each user sees in their feed. TechCrunch reports that “Even if you follow the exact same accounts as someone else, you’ll get a personalized feed based on how you interact with those accounts.” This will make more sense once we go over individual factors that weigh into what the feed shows you.



There are 3 main factors that determine what pops up in users feeds. They are:

Interest: The Instagram algorithm uses your past behavior on content to predict what posts you’ll be interested to see in the future. So take a moment to think about your explore page. If you liked a puppy video, you’ll see a lot more puppies in your explore feed. The same thing is happening within your feed. This means posts from accounts you interact with will most likely pop up more often in your newsfeed.

Recency: Instagram is not going back to a chronological feed, but you can say goodbye to seeing weeks old posts like we were seeing. Now, how recently something was posted will contribute to its place in the feed. More timely posts will be prioritized over older ones.

Relationship: This one relates to how you interact with others on Instagram. The Instagram algorithm will give higher ranking for accounts you’ve interacted with often by liking photos, comments and your account being tagged in their posts.

Some other factors that weigh into the algorithm:

Frequency: Instagram will take into account how often you actually open the app so it can show you the best posts since the last time you opened the app. This means those on the app more often may get a little more of a chronological feed while those that open the feed less often will get more of a mix of posts.

Following: If you follow many accounts you’ll miss out on some posts.

Usage: Total time browsing will be weighed in how Instagram chooses what posts you’ll see. So the longer you spend on the app the more chronological your feed will be, while shorter sessions will consist of “best of” posts.

A few important Instagram myths, debunked:

  • The Instagram algorithm does not favor videos over images. What does matter is how your followers digest each content type. This means that if a user watches and interacts more with videos, video posts will appear more often within their newsfeed.
  • Posts are not hidden, if you scroll through your feed you will see everyone’s posts. This goes back to the amount of people a user follows and if you have the patience to keep scrolling if they follow a lot of other accounts.
  • The Instagram algorithm does not give more reach to personal accounts vs business accounts.




Now how can we use this information to benefit your business? First this means that Well all this comes down to putting the emphasis on ENGAGEMENT and strategy (can I say I’ve been telling you so all along?). Here are 4 main ways you can make the knowledge of how the Instagram algorithm function to make it work in your favor:

Post Consistently

The main way to stay in user’s feeds is to show up! Posting consistently will ensure your posts will make their way into your follower’s feeds. Some social media experts will say you need to post once a day, but I don’t personally believe this is completely necessary as each account is completely different than the next, even within the same industries. Do try to post at least 3 times a week though, as a post here and there will not help you stay relevant on Instagram.

Post With Purpose and Intention

When posting on Instagram make it meaningful. Add value and build genuine connections with your audience. Post with the intent to build a conversations with your followers, and connect with them beyond your products or trying to sell to them.


Strive For Engagement

As I’ve been advocating for-ever, strive for authentic engagement from your Instagram audience. Ask open ended questions, get your followers to share their opinions with you and encourage them to tag you where and when its appropriate. Remember that the more your followers actually engage with your account the more likely it is that you appear in their feeds. Also keep in mind that your account should be engaging with your target audience’s accounts as well! Set aside some time each day to dedicate to searching locations, hashtags, and influencer accounts and like photos, leave comments and take part in relevant conversations that are happening.


Know Your Audience

Get to know your audience and especially what kind of content they like to digest. Ask them within your feed or Instagram Stories with poll stickers, send a survey to your list, anything you can do to know what your audience likes and what they’d like to see from you.

Have A Plan

Lastly, and most importantly work on a social media strategy and have a social media posting plan in place so that you can hit every point I just went over in this post.

I hope I’ve been able to think of your strategy a little differently and help you see that there is nothing to be afraid of if you forget about trying to attract more followers and concentrate on what really matters, adding value, and organic engagement. See you next time!

<3 DhariLo





I am a Hubspot Academy course contributor, Social Media Today Expert, and you can find my articles in Social Media Week, Business 2 Community and the AgoraPulse blog.

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