Opinion
June 19, 2019

Breaking Down The Instagram Algorithm

by
Emillie Cecillon

The Instagram algorithm - it’s allusive, it’s confusing, and you hear EVERYONE in Marketing talking about it. But what is it actually… Well, for starters, the Instagram algorithm is forever changing, so it’s hard to pinpoint one solid definition and or formula. Essentially, the algorithm is a piece of code that determines what posts you see in your feed, how often you see certain accounts, and which ads get served to you within the platform. The algorithm determines what to serve you based on three primary factors: Interests, Timelessness, and Relationships.

Interests is based on the fact that Instagram will show you pictures of content that you are more likely to engage with. Instagram uses image scanning, hashtags, account tags, and location tags to determine content similar to what your current behaviour dictates* That means if you ‘like’ certain Instagram models pictures, additional Instagram models pictures will come up at the top of your feed more frequently. So be careful when you toss out ‘likes’ left, right and centre after a night out -  I don’t think it’ll make your girlfriend very happy.

Timeliness is based on what it sounds like and is in reference to the date and time that the post was made. It’s not exactly like the reverse-chronological order that so many people are begging Instagram to revert back to, but it still takes into account when you post something. Due to this, you probably won’t see a picture come up on your timeline until 4 days after it has been posted. This does mean, however, if your best friend posts and you don’t like it within a few hours, it will pop up again to the top of your feed as it understands that you often interact with this type of content. Instagram still (sort of) has your back!

The last of the Instagram algorithms primary factors is Relationships. Social media and Instagram were originally created asa way to connect people. Instagram hasn’t forgotten this, seeing as the algorithm shows you posts of profiles that you often interact with. Whether it be spamming your favourite celebrity with ‘likes’ (sup Shawn Mendes), tagging your best friend in memes, or DM’ing your ex after a long night out; the more you have a “relationship” with someone’s profile, the more you will see it on your feed.

Lastly, there are other factors that many people think are significant variables within the algorithm but secretly are not. Things like frequency of posting, someone’s following, and how much they use the app overall; these never really make a dent in the overall algorithm.

That’s pretty much the algorithm in a nut-shell! Overall Instagram is a great tool for your business so you should know how to utilize it correctly, and how the algorithms can work in your favour. Most importantly, it’ll be impressive when you can impress your friends with how many ‘likes’ you’ll start getting on your posts. Maybe you’ll end up being an influencer and we can hire you for our next program. I’ll have my people call your people.  

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