The inner workings of Instagram still confuse many, on how does it work or what posts get prioritized? These questions have been puzzling users a lot, and matters got even more confusing when Instagram ditched its chronological method, similar to Facebook, to organize your feed.
Here are the questions that are lingering in the minds of people regarding the new Instagram Algorithm:
Does the algorithm prefer videos over photos?
How can you make sure your posts reach more of your audience?
Are hashtags still useful?
Stick with us as we break down how the Instagram algorithm works in 2020 and then also tips on how to beat it, so you stay at the top of your Instagram game.
The six key factors which matter the most for the Instagram algorithm regarding your feed posts are as follows:
The Instagram algorithm prioritizes your interests
Have you ever been scrolling through your Instagram feed and you like a particular post, and moments later you get more posts of the same niche? This happens thanks to the new algorithm which sees which posts you are engaging in and then brings more of the same to your Instagram feed. The more you like a particular type of post, the more it will appear on your feed. This way, the Instagram algorithm decided what kind of content gets more leverage on your feed.
One thing is to be noted though, just because you can no longer see likes, doesn’t mean they don’t matter anymore. They are still integrated into Instagram’s algorithm, so each picture you double-tap will give Instagram’s 2020 algorithm the message that you want to see similar content in your feed.
Instagram’s algorithm gives importance to your engagement with your followers
Instagram likes to show users more personalized content instead of marketing posts, and its 2020 algorithm makes sure that happens. Each time you get tagged into someone’s post or make a comment on someone’s post, Instagram will see you and that particular someone as ‘close’. It will attempt to show more posts from the same person because every comment, and every DM you reply, Instagram’s algorithm puts you into that person’s “friends and family’ category. So this means if you need more audience on your posts, it’s essential to stay engaged with them.
Moreover, users tend to adore celebrities and businesses, who reply to their DMs and comments. It shows that you care for your audience and are interested in what they have to say. This is crucial as it makes the audience feel important, making them engage more with your content.
The Instagram algorithm considers time as a significant factor
Everyone wants to see the latest trending posts whenever they log in on Instagram, and Instagram’s algorithm makes sure the users get the most recent posts. This means you will have to consider time if you want to more of your followers to see your posts. You should try to post at the time when most of your followers are online to reach higher levels of engagement.
It is recommended that you make a business account if you need to track how successful your posts are and when most of your followers are online. A business Instagram account comes with analytics that will help you do just that, so you can keep with the competition and make sure you stay ahead of the algorithm.
Frequency plays a role in how Instagram’s algorithm sorts posts
If you have been away from the Instagram app for a while, you will notice that it shows you the most famous content instead of freshly posted stuff. This happens because Instagram’s algorithm shows you fresh content if you spend more time on the app ad; this remains true for your followers too.
Your following will affect your feed
The number of people you are following on Instagram will determine what type of content you will be seeing. If you follow a large number of people, then Instagram has a lot of room to choose what it wants to show you so that posts made by a single account won’t bombard you.
Instagram’s algorithm calculates your app usage
As we discussed earlier, the more time you spend on Instagram, the more it has to dig deeper to bring content for you. Someone who regularly visits the Instagram app will be seeing more fresh posts, while the day’s highlights will greet someone who visits rarely.
Eight Tips for working with the Instagram Algorithm
We have discussed what factors Instagram’s algorithm takes into consideration and now let’s learn how to get the most engagement on your posts by keeping these factors in mind.
- Stay consistent with your posting
Your relationship with your audience is essential for you to stay at the top of the algorithm. Consistency is important here, so what you can do is to make a schedule and then keep your content posted according to the social media content calendar you just came up with.
Consistency varies brand by brand, and you will have to experiment to see what works best for you. If you are at the start of a business, you can go as you like and decide for yourself how much content your team can come up with, keeping consistency in mind.
Now when you have a schedule, and your team follows, see the success you are receiving. If it seems reasonable to you, can you stay committed to this level of consistency? And if you can then how long?
Moreover, It’s needless to say that resources are also a deciding factor on how frequent your posts are.
- Monitoring Analytics
It’s pretty apparent how useful analytics is when you need insight on not only how well your posts are performing but also on how your audience resonate with your content. Analytics also shows what the algorithm thinks of you and your posts.
Look deeper, see which posts are getting the most engagement from your audience, see whether they prefer videos or photos and see if hashtags perform well in bringing the audience to your content. If your audience loves what and how you post, then see if you can keep giving them more of the same or if they want to see some changes, make sure you can bring variations in your content. Through Analytics, you can tell whether you are going in the right direction.
- Your best content should be re-used, remixed and reposted
Once you have a grip of what your audience likes, and you have a schedule to keep the audience full with content, it’s still somewhat difficult to bring fresh content every time. When you are in a tight spot like this, then what you can do is, recycle your best material. You know that certain content has fared incredibly with Instagram’s algorithm and that your audience loves it.
Additionally, it also saves time which you can then utilize in bringing more quality content to your audience.
Here are some ways you can re-use your content to keep your posting schedule in place.
A slide show can be made with photos of the same series
Gifs can be made with already available videos
Use the same images in multiple places for various purposes.
Throwbacks ensure your best content reaches a broader audience.
As long as you keep yourself creative, you will never run out of content.
- Inspire your audience to spread your content
User-generated content can be an excellent way for you to expand your content reach. It’s a win-win situation for you when your audience is inspired by your brand and shares your content out of enthusiasm. This may require you to encourage the audience, but it’s not always necessary.
The best part about this is, since your audience is sharing your content, they are interacting with you which Instagram’s algorithm sees as a strong relationship between you and your audience, leading your posts to reach the feeds of a much wider audience.
Stay true to your fans, listen to their requests and work towards giving them the content they want, and they will promote your content unpaid with only enthusiasm and loyalty. If you sell products and have a certain product that is popular with your audience, then that product will do the inspiration part for you. If not, then you need to look at other ways.
You can show engagement with them by reposting their content in front of your followers, and this works wonders. You could also buff up your content calendar for your audience.
A contest can also be run by you, which awards your followers with certain prizes for doing something as simple as spreading your content.
Collaboration can be an incredible way to interact with a brand new audience while also providing a different type of content to your audience. Collaboration helps you in organically expanding your reach, and it works great with the algorithm as well.
Popular brands and businesses find ways to interact with their audience and clients. As we discussed earlier, the more interaction we have with our audience, the happier the algorithm is with our content.
- Don’t take the short route while building relationships
We talked in great detail about how Instagram’s new algorithm values the relationships we build with our audience or clients. When building relationships, the things that generally matter are warm gestures and a feeling of a human connection.
You should look for no shortcuts when attempting to build a close connection between you and your audience. Here are some ways you can accomplish this connection:
Ask questions only when you need the answers, avoiding engagement-bait which your audience can often see-through.
Answering the people in your DMs not only helps to strengthen the relationship with your followers but also helps with the algorithm.
Be quick with your replies on comments. We don’t know whether the algorithm considers this or not, but your audience will not only consider but whole-heartedly appreciate it.
Interact with other people by commenting and liking their posts as this helps you in gaining followers too.
There are some things you should avoid, such as paying for likes and followers. The problem with these is that the algorithm can see right through them as well as your audience.
- Use hashtags properly
Hashtags have always been a great way to get your content in front of the people who want to see it. This helps your content reach the right people, and when it gets popular with them, the algorithm will pick it up and help the content reach far more eyes.
Although hashtags are a great way to reach the audience you are looking for, if they are misused, they can get you in trouble with the algorithm.
Use hashtags honestly, and you won’t be at the wrong side of the algorithm. Only use hashtags relevant to your content, audience and industry so that they don’t annoy your audience who can flag your content which the algorithm won’t like.
- Post on time
This has been said before, and we’ll say it again, as fresh your posts are, the more they are going to be favoured by Instagram’s algorithm. To have an idea on when your audience comes online, you can take help from Instagram’s Analytics.
We have tried covering everything you need to know about Instagram’s 2020 algorithm and how to beat it, so you stay at the top of the game.