When Instagram first launched in 2010, the news feed was organized chronologically. That means you would see the freshest posts first each time you logged in. This worked out great for Instagrammers who posted very regularly, but it wasn’t ideal for the users. The risk was high that you had missed posts by your family and friends.
In fact, according to Instagram, people used to miss up to 70% of their feed posts when it was showing the latest posts first. That’s why, in 2016, Instagram changed the chronological classification of the feed for a categorization made by their algorithm in order to show you the most relevant posts first.
Let’s take a look behind the scenes to discover how this tricky algorithm works…
As mentioned, Instagram feeds are no longer organized in chronological order, but this does not affect the quantity of content displayed to each user every day.
It simply means that if your latest post does not appear at the top of your follower’s feed, Instagram analyzed that your content was not the most relevant for this user.
What does it change? In concrete terms, it changes your posting strategy on the platform as the freshness of your content is not the only criterion of classification anymore.
The notion of “algorithm” caused a lot of confusion among Instagrammers and brands. As Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said his social media uses "a variety of algorithms, classifiers and processes". Each one has its own process and criteria for stories, reels, and posts.
To avoid any misunderstanding, we are now talking about how your feed is organized, thanks to an algorithm. We will not discuss the Explorer ranking of content in this article. For more information, check out this tremendous resource: Shedding more light on how Instagram works. This article was written in June by Adam Mosseri.
To understand how you should adapt your posting strategy, you should take your follower’s place to see how your posts are displayed on their feed. Posts are now ranked on your followers feed according to 6 criteria:
Some additional factors are also taken into consideration:
Some factors do not weigh into the classification of the feed:
Knowing how the Instagram algorithm works is a good start, but now that you are aware of the various criteria involved in the ranking of posts, you can put your knowledge into practice.
There are many ways to make the most of your knowledge of the Instagram algorithm, but to make it short:
If you want more details, take a look at our dedicated article: “How to outsmart the Instagram algorithm?”.
The changes brought by the reorganization of the feed have undoubtedly enhanced the user experience of the platform as the user is shown top-relevant content, but it alters the strategy that your business must adopt to appear on your follower’s feed:
If you want to read more on Instagram, we advise you to dig in Reels, a high-converting format available on this social media. Please check our article: What is the power of Instagram Reels?
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