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The Instagram Algorithm Explained

When people are on Instagram, they are missing around 70% of all posts. This is the result of Instagram ditching its reverse chronological feed in July 2016 to let its algorithm decide what should be shown instead. Instagram says relevancy has drastically improved and users now see more of “what they like.”  Except brands have been left out. And because no one really knew how the Instagram algorithm worked, no one really managed to beat it yet. Now Instagram has decided to come forth and explain how its feed algorithm works, what recipe it is using to decide which posts should be seen first in your feed.


Secret revealed - The Instagram Algorithm Explained


Like most apps, Instagram relies on machine learning to create a unique feed for each user. It is indeed your actions on the app that dictate how your experience will be. According to Instagram, three main factors determine what you see in your Instagram feed:


  • Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for what matters to you, determined by past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.

  • Recency: How recently the post was shared, with prioritization for timely posts over weeks-old ones.

  • Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.

  • Beyond these core factors, three additional signals influence rankings as well:

  • Frequency: How often you open Instagram, as it will try to show you the best posts since your last visit.

  • Following: If you follow a lot of people, Instagram will be picking from a wider breadth of authors so you might see less of any specific person.

  • Usage: How long you spend on Instagram determines if you’re just seeing the best posts during short sessions, or it’s digging deeper into its catalog if you spend more total time browsing.



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