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Part 1.....How the Instagram Algorithm works for Feed posts and Stories.

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

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If you use Instagram for business purposes, then you’ll be aware of the ‘ever-changing Instagram algorithm’. It's been a source of dismay and confusion for many since Instagram moved from a chronological feed, but do you know how the algorithm actually works?

First of all, there’s not just one algorithm at play across the app, each part of the app – Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels – uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use it and to deliver content that is of high interest to viewers.

It’s worth noting that the algorithm isn’t there to catch you out and stop your content being seen, but to make sure viewers see content that is likely to be of most interest to them. Once you understand how the algorithm works, you can tailor your content to take advantage of it.

In Part One, I’ll cover off how the algorithm works for Feed posts and Stories. Confirmed by Instagram itself, there are four key signals that influence the algorithm across Feed and Stories. In roughly the order of importance, they are:

  • Information about the post: How popular is the post - how many people have liked it? When it was posted? Was it a photo or video?

  • Information about the person who posted: As the poster, how interesting are you to your audience? How often have people interacted with you in the past few week?

  • Audience activity: What type of content does your target audience engage with?

  • History of interactions: This gives an indication of how interested an individual is in seeing posts from you e.g. do you like or comment on each other posts?

From there, Instagram’s algorithm makes a set of predications on how likely someone is to interact with a post. However the main five interactions they look for are:

  • Time Spent: How long is spent on a post – a few seconds or more?

  • Comments: How likely does someone comment on the post?

  • Likes: How likely does someone ‘like’ the post?

  • Share: How likely is the post shared?

  • Go to Profile: How likely is the profile viewed?

The more times these actions are taken, the higher up your posts will appear.

Now you know how the algorithm works, keep these interactions in mind, and create content that is relevant to your audience, and encourages these types of engagement.

How the Instagram Algorithm works for Stories.

The algorithm for Stories works in pretty much the same way - the accounts you engage the most with, are the ones that appear at the start of your feed. So if you want to make sure your Stories are being seen, be consistent and post daily to Stories and keep the content relevant, fun, and informative and encourage your audience to engage with you by using tools such as Stickers. You can read here how to get more views on Stories.

Look out for Part 2 where we cover off how the algorithm works for reels.

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