Instagram is one of the largest social networks, along with Facebook and YouTube, with 1 billion users worldwide. Instagram is an ad-supported platform and offers businesses and users the opportunity to share posts in the form of photos and videos. The algorithm can serve as a chance to rank your posts better in a mass of other posts and classify them as relevant. The days of chronological order have long been history and posts are now only displayed in the feed based on relevance. The visibility of posts has been significantly increased by the algorithm, you just have to provide relevant content.
We will explain in the following how you can use the Instagram algorithm for yourself.
The most important things in a nutshell
- Through the algorithm, Instagram learns which posts could be interesting for the individual user and prioritizes individual posts.
- Instagram filters the content by about 30%, which means 70% of the posted content is not shown to a user at all.
- Latest update: Instagram Reels and Saves. Get to the top of the feed with new trends.
Background: What is the Instagram algorithm in 2021?
In the following, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the Instagram Algorithm 2021. Among other things, we’ll show you what the algorithm is good for, as well as the most important ranking factors and how you can use them for yourself optimally.
What is the goal of the Instagram algorithm?
The Instagram algorithm is used to filter content according to certain criteria. Mainly, Instagram filters according to interest. This means that if Instagram decides that post A is more relevant to you than post B or C, then post A will be shown to you in the feed. As a result, about 70% of the posted content will not be seen by you, which comes in handy when you follow several hundred accounts but only see the interesting posts.
What are the changes in Instagram Algorithm 2021?
The biggest change in the algorithm is in reels. Cribbed from TikTok, short videos can now make the rounds on Instagram. Since the reels were not as well received at the beginning as Instagram had hoped, Instagram took the wheel into its own hands and “rewards” accounts with a lower reach by suggesting reels more often. Instagram recommends posting vertical videos, with music or sounds from Instagram.
Those who set new trends and share them with others, for example, through crazy dances or funny content, are also rewarded by Instagram.
In addition, also copied from TikTok, there are Reels Remixes now. This means that you can now use other users’ reels as duets and thus increase your reach again. Blurry content, videos with watermarks from other apps (e.g. TikTok), videos with delimiting frames or too much text in the video are discouraged.
What signals does the Instagram algorithm evaluate in 2021?
The algorithm observes the user behavior. Posts from accounts with which the user has a relationship are primarily displayed in the feed. As a result, 90% of the posts displayed are from family and friends, while the rest are made of other followed accounts.
So special attention is paid to your relationship with others, but also your frequency of use. Furthermore, the time a user spends on a post is recorded. Does he go to the next post rather quickly or does he take time to read the caption?
What are the three most important ranking factors of the Instagram Algorithm 2021?
The Instagram Algorithm 2021 often represents a mystery around which there was much speculation until Julian Gutman spoke out about the three most important Instagram algorithm ranking factors during a press conference in 2018.
The Instagram algorithm is based on your interests, which you have shown in the past by interacting with posts. Thus, your feed consists of posts from accounts you follow, but mainly posts from accounts you have liked in the past. The higher Instagram estimates your interest in a post, the higher it will be ranked in your timeline. So, if you have recently liked a lot of images and videos on the topic of “online marketing”, you are likely to see more online marketing images in your feed.
The chronological order of the feed is unfortunately over. Nevertheless, the topicality plays a role. You will see newer images and videos correspondingly higher up in the feed. Since most Instagram users use the app daily or even several times a day, the posts displayed are sometimes only a few minutes old. If someone uses Instagram only once a week, the probability is higher that older posts will still be displayed.
- Relationships and interactions:
The frequency of your interactions with posts from a single account determines how highly a person or business is ranked in your feed. For example, your mom with 20 followers may appear higher in your feed than Bill Gates with 6.5 million followers. The reason: You have liked all of your mom’s posts so far. Friends and family will be prioritized in your feed accordingly. To find these people, Instagram looks at your likes, messages, comments and people you searched for. Furthermore, Instagram has recently introduced saves which are very valuable.
The more a content is interacted with, the higher it will be ranked in the individual feeds the next time.
Now you know the three main factors of Instagram’s 2021 algorithm for posts and stories. Depending on how many people you follow, the algorithm takes effect more or less. Many subscriptions means for Instagram: there is a lot to filter.
How can I make the Instagram Algorithm 2021 work for me?
Interest: At first, we will tell you how to increase interest in your posts. The dwell time on a post indicates the interest in it. The higher the dwell time, the greater the interest in the post. You can increase the dwell time of your users through different methods. One method is to make your captions longer and more narrative. Keyword storytelling: Tell a story that has to do with your post. Your goal should be to get all readers to unfold the text and read through to the end. Another way to increase dwell time is through videos and slideshows, as these will keep your followers on your feed longer than a simple image. So slideshows and videos with an engaging caption are the key to increasing interest in your posts. But be careful: you shouldn’t upload long videos, as this will quickly cause people to stop watching. We live in a fast-paced world, hardly anyone has time to watch long videos anymore, so reels and short videos are the best choice.
Timeliness: Next, we turn our attention to timeliness. The best and highest engagement is obviously generated when your followers are online. Therefore, try to post at times when this is the case. If you have a business account on Instagram, it’s easy to find out in the Insights, when your audience is online. In order for your posts to always be classified as current, it is important to post accordingly often. This also gives your followers the opportunity to interact with your posts more often.
Interaction: Interaction is, as we already know, the third and last important part to be able to use the Instagram algorithm optimally for us. Likes, comments, saving images and direct messages are important for your followers’ interaction. Include a clear “call-to-action” to get your followers to take action. Questions asking your followers’ opinion on a topic, small riddles, or even contests work best. Meanwhile, saving images is also highly recommended, so try to add value for your followers to save your post for later.
Tip: Comments are rated better than Likes, as they come with more effort. Take time to respond to comments, show interest and answer in detail.
Furthermore, you should make sure that your name is not too complicated, as searching for your account is also an interaction.
The most popular measures to increase interactions are hashtags. There are several tools that help you query your hashtags or generate hashtags based on your interests. By using popular hashtags you attract attention and invite new people to show interest in your posts and interact with them.
The Instagram algorithm filters posts for users. This is important if you follow a lot of accounts. It filters based on interest, recency, as well as relationships and interactions.
Not only the Instagram algorithm, but also Instagram is constantly evolving, so reels and saves are totally in for some time. As a company it is very important to be up to date in order to continue to optimally serve the interest of the target group.
Remember: Arouse the interest of your target group, pay attention to the timeliness of the topics and your posting times and take time to interact with your followers to build a bond.