Novice to Pro Series - Part 1
Understanding The Instagram Algorithm
The Instagram Algorithm – Ultimately determines the amount of Instagram succes you experience with every post
By Bradley Roth
Want to get seen on Instagram more? Build a bigger following? Yeah I figured your probably do. Don’t we all? Well the first thing you need to have a basic understanding of is Instagram’s algorithm. Many people have heard of it, but few understand it. You’ve probably wondered why some of your posts get lots of likes and comments while other, seemingly “just as cool” posts fall flat. That’s where the algorithm comes in. Instagram’s algorithm dictates how many followers end up seeing your content, how relevant your content is, and what shows up in your feed from other profiles.
Without further ado, here is how the algorithm works (All of these numbers are current as of March, 2018):
“Instagram’s algorithm dictates how many followers end up seeing your content, how relevant your content is, and what shows up in your feed from other profiles.”
Right After Posting – The Window Of Opportunity
Most people think that all of their posts get shown to every follower they have. That is NOT the case at all. When you initially post, Instagram will show your post to roughly 10% of your followers. That’s it. That initial 10% that they show it to are primarily going to be your most loyal followers, meaning the ones who like and watch and comment on your posts and stories the most. Based on how many of that initial 10% engage with your post in the first 30 minutes, Instagram will decide to show it to a certain portion of your remaining followers. If it get’s a lot of engagement in those first 30 minutes, Instagram sees that as a high quality relevant post and will increase the amount of people who get to see it.
It is also important that within that first hour after posting you engage back with those commented on your post. Instagram wants to see that you care about your audience when they engage with you, so make sure you like and/or respond to any comments on your post for maximum exposure.
Let’s think of some obvious types of posts that tend to always get lots of likes – Engagement/wedding announcements, pregnancy/birth announcements. If someone posts an engagement photo, for example, you’re going to like that almost every time (unless you hate that person, in which case you probably shouldn’t be following them). Instagram then says “Wow, everyone likes this let’s show it to everyone.” Is it all making sense? In summary, if Instagram recognizes your content as high quality and engaging, your post will get better reach. That’s also basically how posts go “viral” on Instagram. They get so much engagement that they get shared to a greater and greater audience until they reach millions.
“If someone posts an engagement photo, for example, you’re going to like that almost every time (unless you hate that person, in which case you probably shouldn’t be following them). Instagram then says “Wow, everyone likes this let’s show it to everyone.”
If you are the average Instagram user who follows hundreds of pages, you might notice that almost all the of posts that show up in your feed come from approximately 10% or less of the pages you follow. These are also likely the posts that you engage with the most. Instagram is basically trying to make sure that you see your favorite content the most. So if you want to see more of something, simply like or comment on it more. If you don’t want to see someone’s posts in your feed as much, don’t engage with their content. It’s as simple as that. Now sometimes profiles that post a lot can crowd out the ones who don’t as much. This is because if a page posts 5x/day, there’s more pictures from them that you could potentially like. If you like all of their posts, their posts will start to dominate your newsfeed, whereas the pages that don’t post as often might get pushed out of your feed a little. Just be more selective in liking the posts of pages that post 3-5/day vs. the ones that post daily or less.
I know we dropped the word “engagement” a bunch of times in this post. In the next one we’ll break down the different types of engagement