Instagram’s Algorithm Update (2018)

Any entrepreneur that has a social media account for their business understands just how difficult it can be to reach the right people.


While a business can do everything they can to reach their customers, if they don’t play by the rules or work with the algorithms of the social media platforms they are using, they end up getting far worse results than they would have hoped for.


There has been speculation for a while on how exactly Instagram’s algorithm works, and why certain accounts seem to show up more than others. This has led to all sorts of theories and false perceptions.


While with other social media platforms there was an understanding of how the algorithm worked that allowed businesses to work within those perameters, this wasn’t the case for Instagram—leaving a lot of businesses in the dark.


Finally, Instagram has come out with information about how their algorithm prioritizes posts—and this information can really be a gamechanger for businesses.


With Instagram finally releasing information about how their algorithm works, business owners are now able to better understand why they may not be getting ranked as highly as they would like, and why they aren’t getting the results they have been hoping for.


Before getting into what Instagram’s algorithm means for businesses, it’s first important to understand how their algorithm works.


The Three Main Factors of Instagram’s Algorithm




Recently, Instagram has let their users know exactly how their feed works, and a lot of it has to do with creating a customized experience for each particular user to provide the experience that they are looking for on the platform.


That’s why the order of posts is determined by these three main factors:


1. Interest


At the end of the day, Instagram knows that if they don’t show their users content that they will be interested in, they will stop using the platform entirely. Because of this, the Instagram algorithm considers the content that you have viewed and interacted with in the past to gauge your interest in future content.


2. Recency


Instagram prefers to keep their users up to date on whatever has been posted most recently. While older posts are still available, more recent posts take priority.


3. Relationships


Instagram prefers their users to build relationships with each other. This includes comments, tags, likes and other interactions that show that a relationship has been established.


Other Important Factors


While the above three are the main factors that are considered by Instagram’s algorithm for placement of posts on a user’s feed, there are other factors that come into play as well, which are:


1. Following


By following a lot of people, Instagram users may see less of a specific user.


2. Usage


If a user spends less time on the platform, the content they like the most will likely be closer to the top of the feed.


3. Frequency


Like usage, the frequency of use will affect the content that finds its way to the top of a user’s feed.


Misconceptions About Instagram’s Algorithm




Because Instagram hasn’t been transparent about how their algorithm works for such a long time, many users and business owners have come up with their own theories about how the algorithm works. This has led to a lot of misconceptions that simply aren’t true.


Some of these include:


Instagram Hides Posts


Instagram does not hide the posts of their users. They will still appear on the wall of the users. If their followers aren’t seeing the posts, it’s likely due to the factors outlined above.


Instagram Punishes for Frequency


A major concern when using social media is the fear that posts will no longer be seen if a user posts too often. For Instagram, this is not the case. Instagram does not punish their users for posting frequently.


Instagram Shadow Bans


Because of the actions of other social media platforms, many Instagram users fear that if their content doesn’t fit a certain idea or narrative, that their account will secretly be shadow banned.


This simply is not the case.


What Instagram’s Algorithm Means for Businesses




A better understanding of how Instagram’s algorithm works allows entrepreneurs to better take advantage of the algorithm to get their message out there—while also avoiding different pitfalls that are leading to their content getting less exposure than they would hope for.


Here are a few things to consider to ensure that your business gets higher placement on the feeds of your customers…


Consistent Posting Is Key


Because Instagram does not punish for posting often, consistent posting is not only advantageous—but necessary.


Some companies will take advantage of the fact that they can post often without being punished, and those companies that don’t keep up will get left behind.


This isn’t to say that a business should spam their followers! It just means that consistency should not be feared. In fact, because the algorithm favors recency, posting more often will increase the chances of a customer seeing a post.


Interaction Helps Build Relationships


What has become very clear by the release of the information about how Instagram’s algorithm works is that Instagram wants users to foster relationships with one another. This doesn’t just mean person to person either—it also means business to customer and even business to business.


By interacting with customers, businesses tell Instagram that they have a close relationship with their customers. Because of this, Instagram’s algorithm will favor those businesses when it comes to the feeds of their customers.


Continue Holding Interest for More Viewership


It’s no surprise that social media platforms prefer content creators that hold the interest of their followers—and the release of this information about Instagram’s algorithm simply confirms that fact.


In order to make sure that they stay at the top of their customers’ feeds, businesses need to create content that really piques the interest of their customers, and keeps them coming back for more. This means posting the occasional advertisement won’t cut it…


Now that the information about Instagram’s algorithm is available, it’s up to businesses to take this information and run with it.


Keep in mind that each social media platform is different and, because of this, the strategy for each platform needs to be different.


In order to get the most out of Instagram, businesses need to consider what influences Instagram’s algorithm and put together a strategy that plays to what Instagram is looking for.


This increases the chances of ranking higher in the feeds of customers, which in turn increases the likelihood of more sales and brand awareness.