how instagram algorithm works

How Instagram Algorithm Works in 2024

By: Nelson Grey

Instagram was launched decades ago by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger with the hope of providing an easy-to-use photo-sharing platform to users. This network site came into existence in October 2010 and it was only available on iOS in the beginning. Now it is owned by Facebook and has been tweaked a million times with several updates to improve social its growth, performance as well as user experience.

Uninterrupted User Experience

One noticeable feature of Instagram is that it is not restricting people from sharing their photos, media content, and videos on the portals.

However, new criteria have been put in place in order to keep this photo-social network safe for everyone. Maintaining and protecting the privacy of its users is the first and foremost important concern of the network. New community guidelines have been issued for the users with clear instructions on what to do and what not to do on the network. Here are the best features of Instagram:

  • It is an easy-to-use platform that everyone can join with ease without having to pay any fee.
  • This network has billions of photos relevant to your interest and hobbies to keep you entertained. Besides, it allows the users to share their video tutorials as well. In other words, you can learn makeup through tutorials and learn to cook while watching the best recipe videos on Instagram.
  • This network offers an uninterrupted experience to the users without lagging. It always stops working when it brings about new updates to improve the structure, design, and networking on the server. It makes sense too. They implement new updates on their server which takes a lot of time but not more than 2 hours or so for the most part.
  • Instagram is a kind of socializing portal, facilitating people of all groups, religions, ages, and gender. This framework has something according to the interest of every user there are makeup guides for makeover lovers, and at the same time, there are funny vines and pictures for those who are immensely fond of the comedy genre.
  • This social portal is way more famous than any other mobile photo-sharing app because it is allowing users to edit, create and share their videos directly within the application itself.
  • Instagram filters are somewhat more famous along with their many cutting-edge photo editing features that most users find very enticing to play with. Tap the filter to adjust the filter strength with the slider to give a whole lot more meaning to your videos and photos on Instagram.

Instagram Unprecedented Success Rate

A decade ago the network did not seem to have any complicated algorithms or updates whatsoever. However, this network is pretty based upon its newly developed algorithm statistics and data. The algorithm itself is operated through a machine that determines who sees the content that you publish on your account and what is your audience on average. During the beginning years when you would sign up for an Instagram account and publish a post, it would be visible to everyone.

There were no options to make your posts, videos, and media content private like you can today. Since the network was not as popular as Facebook was, there were no self-proclaimed and self-made Instagram models, sassy models, and celebrities to be found back then. To put it in a nutshell, a lot of changes have taken place within the server of Instagram to measure the quality, audience, and engagement of the posts. It’s just a matter of time before Instagram evolves with new features, add-ons, and smart strategies to make the network even more powerful than it ever was. This is contributing to its growing audience and viewership as well.

According to “ Oberalo” Instagram managed to have more than one billion monthly active users by 2018. It was a huge success compared to previous years. It garnered so much fame and popularity in only 8 years since its inception. It was launched solely to be used as a mobile photo-sharing app at first, but after five years, a desktop version was released by the company for those wanting to socialize on their computer devices.

Now there is an add-on messenger that you can use on Google Chrome as well as Mozilla Firefox if you like to exchange messages, emoticons, and voice clicks with your friends and family members. Although everyone can use Instagram on their desktop yet this application seems to have more features when it is used on Android and iOS mobile devices. Ten years ago in 2013, It only had more than 120 million monthly active users, if you compare this figure with the current statistics, you will be amazed to see that it has grown 30 times compared to the past.

According to Hootsuite's 2024 Instagram Statistics report shows:

  • Instagram has more than 2 billion active monthly users.
  • 61% of Instagram users are aged 18 to 34.
  • 8% of 13 to 17 years old use Instagram.
  • Only 0.1% of Instagram users are only on Instagram (others are on atleast one another social media).
  • About 85% of Instagram’s audience is younger than 45

Related: Best Time to Post on Instagram in UK | Instagram Peak Times UK

Understanding Instagram Algorithm

Instagram Algorithms seem to have changed a lot over the past few decades. A slight change in their system can drive more traffic to your content thereby increasing user engagement. Or it can make your organic traffic drop by a shocking percentage of 90% within a day. Some marketers are still trying to wrap their heads around the Instagram Algorithm to get an idea about how it is mainly structured, updated, and modified to measure the posts for different statistics. And What key tools are being incorporated by Instagram for evaluating the user content once it is posted on the server?

If we talk about logic, it is certain that Instagram itself decides which posts people should see after logging into their accounts. You might have noticed the following changes after the later updates:

  • When you sign back into your Instagram, it first shows you the posts of the people you are following.
  • When you press the home button to browse through the general post, it displays posts related to your region or area, which is quite surprising but not unusual for a network to display the content according to the geographic location of the user.
  • More friends' suggestions appear relevant to your past search history.

It takes no rocket science to figure out that Instagram Algorithms keep track of your searches and browsing history. And it uses the same information for displaying more relevant content according to your liking and requirements. In other words, it has become more user-oriented by promoting their interest-based data, posts, videos, and content on their account’s feed.

To some extent, this new strategy does make a lot of sense as well. If you are keen on watching cooking tutorials, your Instagram feed automatically gets full of cooking tutorials, recipes, pictures, and infographics related to the same niche.

It proves that Instagram algorithms deliver quality content to the users after collecting some data about their whereabouts, hobbies, and engagement statistics. It will never show you music-related media, videos, and posts unless you follow at least one or two musicians yourself.

Even if you have just followed a group sharing content related to the music, Instagram starts showing you suggestions that fall only into the category of music videos or pictures, songs, concerts, updates about upcoming music shows, and musicians.

Improved Transparency

According to Instagram itself, it is reading three major features to improve transparency in your feed. The first feature is of course interest, the second is timeliness and the third is the relationship. Instead of showing you random posts that you would never live to see, Instagram only shows you what you want to see. The Instagram's Algorithm machine is allowing the network to display the content according to users’ interests only to keep them engaged and well-entertained.

This has apparently also improved the users’ retention time on this network as well. If in the past an average active user only stayed for 25 minutes a day, on the other hand now an average user spends more than 2 hours browsing and viewing their favorite media content on the network. It is a relatively huge success compared to the past years indeed. I would love to break down how these new Instagram algorithm is gaining more success by focusing more relevance of the content it displays to the users.

  • If you frequently visit and engage with the posts containing pictures of animals and nature. Instagram Algorithm registers your activity with the relation of posts you view in your account. Thus, it organizes your feed with more animal and landscape-related images to provide you with what you usually look for.
  • Another way this algorithm reads about the particular image or video content is by using hashtags. Though at first, it seemed like hashtags were only significant for advertisers or markets only but it’s not the case anymore. Users are also using common hashtags to explain the content of their media and photo files to Instagram. It helps the network to understand the category of the media and display it under the relevant category to its all users. This work-in-progress hashtags strategy has improved the platform a lot more, growing the user's engagement, interaction, and retention time to a great extent.
  • Since hashtags are the tags associated only with a particular group or category or class, when you type in the hashtags in the search box, Instagram shows you the posts relevant to your search.

Timeliness refers to the time, date, day, or event when an image or video is posted. For example, if you search Christmas hashtags, you are shown only images, videos, content related to Christmas and holidays, and so on. Timeless matters a lot for Instagram Algorithms.

For instance, if you are posting something that is only useful for a certain period of time, like holidays, it is unlikely that your posts will garner any views after the holidays have passed. Relationships carry great importance for Instagram algorithms. Needless to say, this network is all about making new connections, building relationships, and socializing with people all around the world. Instagram is usually known as a photo-sharing application but it is also being used widely for exchanging family and friendship-related media content.

After all, it is a social network designed to make you feel connected with your friends, loved ones, and lovers. When you sign up on Instagram, you automatically get suggestions for friends from Facebook profiles and phone contact lists. It’s because Instagram really wants you to grow your social networks by adding more friends and family members to your account. Just like Facebook, you can do Facetime, write, share, send comments, record voice clips, and send DMS. It’s fun to interact with your friends and family members by enhancing pictures on the media.

However, if privacy is concerned you can make your profile private to secure your pictures, online dates, private information, and media from the general public. The private account feature is being adored by many people because it is allowing users to keep themselves protected while sharing their personal data online. The only downtime of making your account private is that you limit yourself to a few people only and possibly those ones that you know in person. This makes your social circle somewhat constrained and limited.

Ranking Factors

You might have heard that Instagram does not promote your content or display it to users if you fail to use your account frequently. This assumption is so much wrong on so many levels. If you write a hashtag that seems to be a year old, you will still see a lot of results popping up in the feed.

You may still see post engagements on the old account that explains you need not be an active user to increase the growth, engagement, and viewership of your content. Instagram algorithm rather measures the quality, importance, and potential of your content to forward it further on its network. It is a fact that Instagram prefers to show the latest content that has been posted since you used your profile the last. It does not mean that years-old posts can’t get viral on the network.

The network also tracks down your steps, if you follow more people in a single day, it puts you on their radar. The algorithm tries to figure out why would a user add so many Instagramers within a matter of hours just after opening an account. In this case scenario, your account is sometimes restricted from using more features for a limited time period until it is made sure that you are not a robot.

Even if you have joined Instagram with the intention to market your products and services, you should never make the mistake of adding too many people within 24 hours. It will give a signal to the network that you are abusing their system.

Logically, it takes time and a lot of effort to build a decent followership on Instagram. If you want to trigger the Instagram Algorithm for getting the attention of more people, you first need to understand how the Instagram algorithm works in 2024.

Primary Advertising Hub

Though Instagram Algorithm seems to be a bit complicated to understand at first, when it is studied in detail, you realize that this network is all about good content and its promotion. For this reason, pro marketers and internet advertising gurus believes that Instagram will remain one of the best marketing platforms for all sorts of business niches. It is already one of the five channels most marketers are using after Facebook and Google.

According to the eMarketer website, there would be a drastic change in the marketing and advertising trends in the coming months. Since COVID-19 has just catapulted the very strong foundations of mortar-and-brick stores and physical shops, more business-minded people are turning to online business. These businessmen are trying to make up for their losses by generating some leads and sales through their online business. And there is no other better network to start marketing with other than Instagram.

According to research, US marketers including newbie businessmen planned to invest in Instagram in order to generate revenue during the Covid 19. Here are some advanced Instagram marketing algorithms that could help every marketer in their campaigns:

  • Instagram is no longer showing content in a Chronological pattern, in fact, new algorithm updates are showing now “interest-based” content. It means reaching your audience would be easy if you manage to build a bullet-proof marketing plan. Your plan has to be different from the typical marketing strategies that have been used by millions of marketers before you.
  • In order to drive your customers to your products, services, and promotional offers, you now need to create user-oriented content. It's not about the product marketing itself anymore, it has become more about what your users want. You can make the best of Instagram marketing if you combine it with atypical and engaging advertising methods. The idea of offering free giveaways work always. You can always sell better when you make a package of two products or make a bundle of those products that are already selling really well on your network.
  • This will build a trust bond between you and your customers. The same strategy works towards making more business relationships with new customers. Instagram welcomes unique marketing ideas, concepts, and approaches as long as they don’t fall against its advertising guidelines.
  • After studying Instagram’s algorithm, many marketers are hopeful that it will open up endless possibilities, thereby driving tons of traffic to their product and service pages.

How does Instagram Algorithm work in 2024?

There had been a lot of changes to be seen in the Instagram Algorithm in 2023. It has become more or less like a virtual intelligent machine itself. It learns something new on a daily basis and brings about changes to the network accordingly. The machine is proactive to even studying, observing, reading, and analyzing the new data posted on Instagram daily. It translates images using its own code to assess whether or they should be promoted on the network or to be shown to the users. It determines the niche of the images by reading the hashtags attached to the posts.

To put it simply, Instagram algorithm machines are improving and growing with time. There are some misconceptions revolving around with regard to the new algorithm of Instagram. Some people believe that Instagram hides posts and puts away information from the users, while others believe that this updated version of the network is not worth it. Instead of believing any baseless assumptions, you should use Instagram yourself and run a test to see the facts.

Why Instagram Making So Many Changes?

Most people are asking the question of why Instagram is making so many changes. What good can it do? Here are some answers.

  • Instagram is not just the same as it was three or four years ago. Engineers ran a check-up on massive Instagram profiles and pages. They found that most of those pages lacked good content or had bogus posts that could mislead the users. They also realized that their users were also missing out on good content.
  • The ideology behind any social network is simple. Provide a good user experience and maintain good standards so more people could trust it. Instagram did the same. Imagine having an account and not being able to view any valuable content on a social network. What would you think? You would rather look up another social network to avail of the best experience. Instagram made changes in its algorithm considering so many factors.
  • Since new algorithms show interest-based results based on your previous activity and browning history, you always get the best experience on the network now. Connecting with your friends, following your favorite singers and influencers, and keeping up with your friends have now become even easier than before.
  • Instagram now shows only custom-made feeds on the accounts so users never feel turned down or bored while using the network. This has furthermore led to a growth in active users as well.

New Posts on Feed

Don’t you think it is boring to see the years-old posts and photos on your feed? You might have felt bothered at one point with your old account for showing you years-old content. Therefore, Instagram brought about new changes to stop showing the content in Chronological order. The old style kept the users from viewing trendy and new posts. The new algorithm now always updates your feed with the newest posts, if you scroll down the page you begin to see the latest content, images, and videos only.

Furthermore, your content is displayed, organized, and put together according to your own preference. Some marketers are now complaining that their posts are not showing as much engagement as they once did. Perhaps, personalizing the user's feed has impacted Instagram advertising to some levels. It, somehow, has improved the visibility of new content and posts. Instagram will prefer more engagement, better communication, and strong socialization this year.

If you intend to market your products and services, you should keep an eye on those factors that can drive a good result.

  • Most marketers use hashtags to advertise their products and services on Instagram. These tags were the only ground for Instagram to read through the content to learn about it. On the contrary, now Instagram has image recognition technology to read posts, content, and video content. It organizes posts and generates results by reading the images through its smart machine. The machine runs a check-up on the new posts and data posted on Instagram. It creates a statistical database which is then used by the Instagram algorithm for displaying the content on the feeds.
  • There is no denying that the hashtag feature was misused and abused a lot over the past few years. Instead of defining the image, people used these tags to drive traffic to irreverent content as well. It’s still the best way to reach out to your audience and generate organic traffic. However, using it excessively may make your posts appear very spammy on Instagram. It is suggested that you avoid overusing hashtags while posting your content on the network.
  • In order to get more traffic, you need to post content that is similar to what your audience usually engages with. If your posts are not found to be related to the categories that they like, your content will end up getting no visibility at all.
  • Instagram shows its users only the content that they prioritize and like. So, you now have to come up with better content creation strategies than before. Refine your content structure, and make it interesting and engaging for your audience. Good content will also increase the users’ retention time which will further improve your ranking. Post good content and interact with your users. Encourage them to engage with your photos and videos. Ask for their opinion and let them speak their mind.

Video Content is being Prioritized

It goes without saying that a video with a brief story and script is the best way to get the attraction of the audience. Spend some time creating high-quality video content to share on Instagram. Video blogging could be used for promoting your products and services. Other than photos, Instagram now prefers highlighting video content to the users. You need to do the following in order to create your marketing video to trigger the Instagram Algorithm for boosting your online presence.

  • You can share a lot with your audience through video compared to photos. The photos are just still images even though you define them using captions, subtitles, and 3D presentations. On the other hand, videos are fully interactive with moving pictures.
  • The research shows that most cooking and baking lovers prefer watching videos to reading the recipe word by word. Reading a wall of content is just boring and time-consuming, isn’t it? A recipe video is a fairly easy way for people to learn something. The same goes with Instagram marketing, you can present your sales pitch in your videos by selling it indirectly. It does not mean you have to praise your products and brands excessively, instead use creative ways to draw the users’ attention to anything you are selling.
  • The specialty of a marketer is to find ways to make videos, photos, and overall Instagram posts as engaging as possible. Refine the content so it could get more shares and likes. Videos with moral stories are more likely to be shared by users. So, make sure you have followed a great script before making your video and sharing it on the network to communicate with the audience.
  • To build your audience you must get to know it first. Interact with your audience, communicate through DMs and create surveys beforehand launching a product. Instagram marketing could be a very powerful tool for making any business lucrative, potentially visible, and popular. The key is to learn how to reach the audience without violating Instagram rules and regulations.
  • If your business is in the test phase initially, put aside a small upfront budget to spend on Instagram marketing. This could be significantly helpful in understanding the functionality of the Instagram Algorithm.
  • Lastly, make changes in your advertising strategies to adapt to Instagram changes. There was a time when only photo content was popular on Instagram, now the trends are changing. Video content is growing to be more popular. Famous influencers are using Instagram sliders for creating 3D videos for their users or a series of short-length motion GIFS. You need to adapt to these new changes and incorporate them into your product and brand marketing. The more quality content you produce and share, the quicker you would be able to trigger Instagram algorithms to promote your business more on the network.

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