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How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2021

When Instagram was first created, users would see the posts in a chronological order. Nowadays Instagram uses an algorithm to determine what users will see. Just like the Facebook algorithm, the Instagram one relies on machine learning and the user’s past behavior to create a unique feed tailored for each user.

How the algorithm works

There’s still some secrecy about the Instagram algorithm, but in general it takes into account the following factors. 


Instagram takes into account your past behavior and tries to predict what content you’re most interested in. It considers the accounts you interact with the most, the people you are tagged in photos with, and the types of posts you like and comment on. 


Instagram is always trying to show you the latest, most interesting posts.


Instagram prioritizes posts from family and friends and accounts that you interact with the most. The system takes into account for example people whose content you like, people you direct message with, people you search for, and people you know in real life. 


While determining what to show to you, Instagram considers also how often you open the app. If you open the app several times a day your feed will be more chronological. If you check out the app just a few times a week Instagram will try to find the most interesting posts since your last visit.


If you follow a lot of people Instagram can pick from a wide variety of users so you’re not likely to see all the posts from every account you follow. 


If you’re spending a lot of time on the app Instagram will dig deeper into its catalog to show you more posts. If you spend a lot of time scrolling you might even run out of new content to see and then Instagram will show you suggested content from new accounts that you might like.  

Algorithm on Stories, IGTV, Reels and Explore

Instagram has an algorithm also for its other features, so machine learning will determine what you see on Stories, IGTV, Reels, and Explore. In their core, these algorithms are quite similar to the feed one as they try to find the content you are most interested in. As a result, you will see content from accounts that you interact with the most as well as the type of content you have interacted with in the past. In addition, especially the Instagram Stories algorithm prioritizes recency showing you the latest Stories from your favorite accounts. 

How to make sure your followers see your content

Now that you know the basics of the Instagram algorithm, you can work with it to get your content in front of your followers. Here’s five easy tips to follow.

1. Test Instagram’s latest features

Whenever Instagram launches a new feature, like Stories or Reels the system will try to prioritize that content to make sure followers adopt it. If you haven’t done it yet, now is a great time to try out Reels. 

2. Talk with your followers

Encourage your followers to engage with you by asking questions, sharing their opinions, or by tagging a friend in a comment. You can also utilize polls and questions in your Stories. 

3. Post often and at the right time

Considering recency is one the main factors that Instagram considers it’s a good idea to post often and when your followers are online. This is especially important when it comes to Stories. 

4. Use hashtags the right way

The Instagram algorithm does much of the work that hashtags used to do in the past. However, hashtags can still be useful when you are trying to reach a new audience. Accurate hashtags tell both to people and the algorithm what’s in your post, and will help users to discover your content. 

5. Cross-promote your content 

The easiest way to get more followers to see your content is to cross-promote it across the feed, Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels. By doing this you can drive different audiences to your most recent content. 




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