5 things to know about the new Instagram Algorithm
We all LOVE Instagram! But this shared feeling of love for the app does not exist for the new algorithm they launched. As you’ve probably noticed, your feed on Instagram is not chronological anymore. Whereas you use to see everyone’s posts, the new Instagram algorithm attempts to show you only the posts that it believes you want to see. The algorithm takes 5 elements into account in deciding which posts will appear in your feed. More importantly, it takes these 5 elements into account in deciding which of YOUR posts will appear in your followers’ feeds. So, if you’ve seen a decrease in follower engagement recently, its likely due to your followers not seeing your posts as a result of changes imposed by the algorithm.
If we want to be ahead on Instagram we have no choice but to to work with the new boundaries the algorithm has set. So, how does this algorithm work? Which content does it favor, and why? In this post we’ll break down the 5 elements and share what you can do to stay ahead of the curve to ensure your content is seen and engaged with by your followers.
#1. Popularity of the post:
Breakdown: The algorithm looks to show your followers content that they will want to see. One of the elements that it uses to gauge whether your followers will want to see your content is the level of engagement that content has had already and how quickly it received that engagement. The logic goes, if others have liked this content and engaged with it, then others are more likely to want to see it.
Solution: Be cautious with what you post and when you post it. It might seem like common sense, but the new algorithm has made getting your followers attention that much more difficult. Don’t post for the sake of posting as that might actually hurt you. Quality posts now matter much more than quantity of posts you have. Stick to only your most aesthetically engaging content and only post at times where your followers are using the app.
#2. The time length people view your post:
Breakdown: The algorithm now tracks the length of time a follower looks at your content. The algorithms’ logic here goes, if this content is getting viewed for longer periods of time then other users are going to want to see it. Go through your explore page and you’ll notice now that the great majority of content that is trending is either a video, multiple photos post, or content that grabs your attention for longer periods of time. Pages with large followings have adjusted to this to ensure their followers are seeing their posts. Check out this recent post by @worldstar. How long did you look at this image?
Solution: First, we recommend posting multiple photo posts and posting videos. If you’re in a time crunch or don’t have the resources to take multiple pictures or engaging videos, then add long captions to your photos so users are intrigued to read and hence spend more time viewing your content.
#3. Do your followers engage with your account?
Breakdown: If your followers do not regularly engage with your profile, than the algorithm is less likely to show your content to them. Have you noticed how the algorithm now shows you at the top of your feed the pictures of the accounts you engage with most? At times, the picture that’s at the top of your feed might be a few days old, yet its the first you’ll see because the algorithm deems it as the one you’ll want to see most.
Solution: Post Instagram stories, and adjust your Pushgram settings to like your followers content. One easy to get others to like your content is by liking theirs. An easy way to do this is do add your username in the username feature in your pushgram account. This feature will then like your followers images and new content they post, and those followers are then much more likely to look at your profile (more on this later) or like your content in return.
Additionally, posting stories is an easy way to get your users to view content you are sharing. If they view your story, your posts are much more likely to be shown in their feed. Stories are an easy way for a user to engage with your account, and an easy way for you to get in front of them. Consider this: the great majority of Instagram users view others’ stories but only a minority of all Instagram users share stories. Share stories now before stories become as competitive as the feed has!
#4. Similar content to your interests:
Breakdown: Have you noticed how Instagram now saves the usernames of the profiles you look at frequently? This is because Instagram’s algorithm wants to show you more of the content that you regularly view, and you regularly engage with. Say for instance you’re a makeup artist and you watch a lot of makeup tutorials, you will notice your explore page is primarily centered around similar content.
Solution: stick with a niche for your Instagram profile, make sure your posts all relate to your niche, and adjust and run Pushgram settings in line with your niche. Take a look at how this pasta company only posts pictures of pasta recipes; they have a niche and all their content is directly related to that niche. Their followers know what to expect and in turn are much more likely to engage. They’re also much more likely to come back and view this feed (Important and more on this later).
Adjust your Pushgram settings to engage primarily with those that are within your niche. Pick and choose hashtags that are specific and relate directly to your niche, or add specific usernames who’s followers are those that are most interested in your niche. Specific targeting will ensure you are engaging with those that are most likely to engage back with you, and are the most likely to like your images, and in turn be show your images more frequently.
#5. Direct shares/profile searches:
Breakdown: If your posts are shared or have been shared through a Direct Message, or if a user has searched your username and came back to see your feed, than the algorithm increases the chances of that user seeing your images in the future. Are you providing reasons for users to come back and look at your profile or share your content with others?
Solution: Is your feed inspirational or motivational? Do your posts share and offer tips? When thinking of taking images for your feed, ask yourself wether that’s an image that your followers would want to see more than once. The answer to this is an indicator of wether that are likely to share or come back and view your profile.