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In terms of popularity, Instagram ranks fourth among social media platforms. It currently has 1.28 billion active users, with 500 million of those users logging onto the platform every day. These are truly impressive numbers, and numerous statistical studies show that they are trending upward, meaning that in 2025 there could be as many as 1.44 billion Instagram users!
Another interesting piece of information is that the average instagrammer spends 53 minutes a day on the platform. However, what is it that makes these users return to this platform so often and so eager to browse the content published on it?”
The following is an interesting fact.
Instagram algorithm – what-is-it-actually?
Let’s start with a dry definition. An algorithm is a set of mathematical steps or procedures that are designed to solve a specific problem. In the case of social media, algorithms act as automated systems that organize and present content in the right order so that users can easily access the information they are interested in. What does this mean in practice?
If you were to pick up your smartphone at this moment and open the Instagram app (assuming you are one of the platform’s wide range of users), and browse through the suggested posts in the Explore section, they are bound to be different from the posts that would be displayed at the same moment and in the same section to your colleague at work, the grocery store clerk, or the teenager at your American high school. Why? Because we’re all different, and the algorithm’s job is to tailor the content to the user in such a way that the user is most likely to perform an action that shows engagement.
How does the instagram algorithm work?
In fact, to answer this question well, it would have to be rephrased. Indeed, a better starting point would be to ask “How do algorithms Instagram’s algorithms work?”, as the platform does not use a single system for organizing data, but four. Each separately manages the content displayed to users in Feed, Stories, the Explore tab, Search and Reels, adapting the presentation to the specifics of these areas.
The most important aspect of Instagram’s algorithms is their ability to analyze vast amounts of data. This data includes user interactions, the type of content and when it was published. Based on this information, the algorithms make decisions about which content is most relevant to a given user and display it in priority order.
The algorithm’s operation is based on four factors, which are provided by the Instagram platform itself. These factors are:
- Posting information:
- Content type: This is the first factor the algorithm takes into account. It analyzes whether the published post is a photo, video, carousel or other content format. For example, if a user frequently interacts with videos, the algorithm may promote video content more in their feed.
- Publication time: The algorithm monitors when exactly a post was published. Posts published when a user is more active on the platform are more likely to show up at the top of their feed. That’s why it’s important to adjust publication times according to the behavior of your audience.
- Number of likes: The number of likes a post gets also affects its visibility. Posts with more likes are more attractive to the algorithm, which can result in higher placement in the feed.
- Content author information:
- Degree of relationship with the author: The algorithm takes into account how connected a user is with the content author. If a user frequently interacts with a person, such as liking many of their posts or leaving many comments, that person’s posts may have a higher priority in the user’s feed.
- Author account type: There is also a difference in the treatment of personal accounts versus corporate or influencer accounts. The algorithm may promote content more from accounts that are more personal and more closely associated with the user.
- Your activity:
- Content preference: If a user frequently interacts with video content, the algorithm may show him more videos. If he prefers photos, then posts in that format will be more visible.
- Type of interaction: If a user frequently comments on posts, the algorithm may give more priority to content that encourages comments. If, on the other hand, he is more fond of likes, posts with more likes may dominate his feed.
- Your interaction history:
- Interactions with specific people: The algorithm examines whether a user typically likes or comments on posts from specific people. If so, posts from those people, or profiles with similar aesthetics or topics, are more likely to show up at the top of his feed.
- Topic interests: If a user regularly interacts with content related to a specific topic, the algorithm can tailor the content in his feed to those interests. For example, if he frequently likes posts related to travel, the algorithm can show him more travel content.
Based on this information, Instagram’s algorithm calculates the likelihood that a post will generate interactions, which determines its place in the order of display in your Feed. As a result, Instagram strives to provide users with content that they are most interested in and will potentially generate engagement.
How to use Instagram’s algorithm to your advantage?
Let’s change the perspective a bit now. After all, earlier we focused on what is the importance of the algorithm for users, but now it is worth considering how we can use it to our advantage by standing in the role of a creator? Whether you run a personal account, dream of a influencer career, or manage a business profile, there are a few things that can help you leverage the power of the algorithm to increase user engagement and succeed on the Instagram platform.
First of all, ensure the quality of your content: Instagram is a visual platform, so content quality plays a key role. Take care of the aesthetics of your photos and videos, try to make them visually appealing and in line with your style. Use photo editors and video editing software to provide your audience with aesthetically pleasing content.
Additionally, provide your audience with context. Focus on creating content that is not only visually appealing, but also provides value. Valuable content is what attracts and engages users, and prompts them to share content. You can also use description to complement the content of published photos or videos, adding context and a personal tone, or asking a question of your audience, provokingengagement
Remember also that consistency is key. Regularity of publication helps build a loyal audience. Create a publication schedule and try to follow it. Whether you publish daily, every other day or once a week, stick to a set schedule and plan ahead.
Integagement with your followers is also important. Reply to comments, respond to private messages and actively participate in the Instagram community. The more engaged you are, the more your followers will be engaged with your content.
Hashtags are also a tool worth using. Add relevant hashtags to your posts that are related to the content and topic you are presenting. Hashtags help other users find your content, especially if they are interested in a particular topic. However, don’t use too many of them. The optimal number of hashtags under a post is between 3 and 8.
Also remember to analyze your data. Monitor your account statistics to understand which content is most effective and adjust your strategy based on this information. Learn on the fly and adapt to changing user preferences and behaviors.
Trends on Instagram 2023
If you want to increase user engagement and gain more followers using the algorithm then in addition to applying the above-mentioned tips, you can also publish content covering current trends. Users are eager to interact with this type of content, so it’s worth keeping track of what’s currently trending to stand out from the clutter of content. What platform trends are worth knowing in 2023?
- Short and to the pointt – users prefer short content because the time we can spend on one thing has definitely decreased since the mobile revolution occurred in 2000. Instagram clearly favors short content, such as maximum 15-second Stories and Reels. It is worth noting that video content often generates twice as much engagement as traditional posts with photos.
- Authenticity – if you think Gen Z won’t see when you’re trying to push a pitch to them, you’re deeply mistaken! In 2023, brand authenticity is an absolute must, and people are increasingly valuing genuine relationships and one-on-one interactions.
- Collaboration with other creators – in 2023 Instagram provided creators with the option to publish a post in direct collaboration with another person who has a profile on the platform. It’s worth taking advantage of this feature so that you and other creators can mutually help each other go beyond the confines of your circle of followers.
- Manage comments – respond to questions asked in comments and pin distinctive responses from your fans. This will help show that you care about interacting with your audience and encourage other people to engage.
Understanding the Instagram algorithm is crucial for anyone who wants to use this platform effectively, whether as a casual user, marketer or influencer. I hope today’s article has helped you digest what strategies we can employ to better exploit the potential of this popular social media application.