Instagram’s New Algorithm – How It Works
After concerns from app users that they were missing almost half of their friends’ posts after the algorithm change removed the favourable chronological feed, Instagram has released a new algorithm and has begun to explain how it actually works. While the chronological feed is still not set to return anytime soon, Instagram has made it clear that users are now able to see almost 90% of their friend’s posts when scrolling through their timeline. Here, we’re taking a closer look at how Instagram’s feed really works, based on your past actions and behaviour.
How Does The New Algorithm Work?
Instagram’s machine learning tools will show you posts based on any similar content that you may have liked before and any past behaviour which you may have shown in searches i.e. for specific hashtags or people. Instagram’s aim is to prioritise what you are most likely to want to see.
In addition, it is essential that content is written with relevancy to your interests in order for it to rank higher on your feed. With the ability that photo recognition technologies now withhold, the new algorithm will now be able to organise your posts into different categories, including travel, fashion and even your hashtags!
If it is noticeable that you engage in particular genres on a more regular basis then it is likely that Instagram will rank those fields higher up on your feed. However, posts that don’t receive as much engagement can still appear at the top of your feed if they are relevant.
This is an important factor in the new algorithm, helping to ensure that you do not miss a post. The algorithm will allow you to view posts that are a few weeks old if it feels like it is something you are interested in and haven’t seen.
Instagram aims to show you relevant posts that are also recent, so you may receive posts from an hour ago opposed to a few days ago because it would appeal more than the other posts. This could still be the case even if there was a lot of engagement on the older post.
The new algorithm will predict the closeness of you and those you interact with, based entirely on your tags, comments and any likes. It will then proceed to prioritise your feed based on this information. In fact, Instagram stated that:
“No matter how many accounts you follow, you should see your best friend’s latest post.”
Therefore, as previously mentioned, if you have shown a significant amount of interaction online between certain accounts, Instagram will ensure that they know your ‘best friends’ to guarantee that you don’t miss a large milestone in their life which they post online.
Determining who you are ‘best friends’ with on the social channel is based on the following:
- Those you know in real life
- Those who you directly message
- Those who you search for
- Those whose content you like (including stories and live videos)
Although these aren’t the accurate criteria, they are an indication as to what Instagram take into consideration.
What Else Influences The New Instagram Algorithm?
In addition to the relationship, time value and interest, there are a number of other factors that determine which posts appear at the top of your feed from the algorithm.
If you use Instagram regularly then you will notice that your feed appears more chronological, as Instagram tries to find the best posts for you since the last time you were on the app. However, if you are not so much of a frequent user, the posts that appear on your feed will be what Instagram thinks you like, opposed to being in chronological order.
If you spend a lot of time on the app, there’s an increased likelihood you will see more posts. This is because Instagram will dig deeper into what it can offer you, instead of just the highlights from the algorithm that you would receive if you only used the app briefly.
If you follow a selection of people on Instagram you won’t see every post from each person, as the app has the abiliy to display content from a number of different accounts. If this is the case, then you might want to consider unfollowing certain accounts, so you are only viewing the content you want to see.
What Doesn’t Instagram Take Into Account?
There have been a number of reports of Instagram hiding specific posts in feeds, causing individuals to miss out on their friends’ posts. However, this is not necessarily the case, according to information provided directly from Instagram.
The company stated that it does not:
- Prioritise those who use stories, live chat or other app functions
- Down-rank a user for posting too often
- Give preference to personal or business accounts
- Hide content with too many hashtags, emojis or similar ‘spammy’ techniques
What Else Is New?
Alongside clarification on their new algorithm, Instagram has also released a number of other new features which are likely to keep their users happy. Here, we’re taking a look at two of the biggest features that have been released.
Instagram Shopping has now been released in the UK, which is hugely exciting for many retailers looking to open new opportunities for their customers to shop online seamlessly. Big brands such as Topshop and River Island are already utilising this feature.
So, how does it work?
When a user clicks on either a product sticker on a story or a product tag from one of your posts, they will be automatically taken to the description page of that particular product where they will find an image, description and a price. What’s more, there will be a link to the website where the product can be purchased for, which makes shopping easier, quicker and more convenient. This is especially beneficial as you don’t have to spend ages searching for a product that you liked the look of.
Instagram announced in May that it would officially be installing a ‘Regram’ feature, allowing users to re-share any Instagram posts with their friends via Instagram Stories. This is only accessible on a public account and allows individuals to repost any images from other users that they find interesting, while adding their own text or scribbles to it, too!
Mute Button Functionality
More recently, Instagram has finally added a mute button to their app, allowing you to mute someone’s account without them ever finding out. You will still be able to view their profile and their posts, making it an alternative to the block feature. The button is in full swing and is a stark contrast to the ‘Regram’ feature mentioned above.
If you’re looking to begin marketing using Instagram, or further improve your existing social media strategy, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 0800 088 6000, today.