The Instagram algorithm is constantly evolving. As a brand staying ahead of these changes is crucial to your performance. To stay ahead of these changes, brands must understand the algorithm to create a successful social media marketing strategy and maintain organic reach.
What is the Instagram algorithm?
According to Instagram, its algorithm is a "variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose." In other words, the Instagram algorithm is a set of rules that help rank content to create unique user experiences that will keep you on their platform for as long as possible. "We want to make the most of your time, and we believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that," wrote Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.
How does the Instagram algorithm work?
In 2016, Instagram switched from a chronological feed to a curated feed. Why did Instagram do this? As more people joined the app and it grew in popularity, it became impossible for users to see all the photos and videos shared to their Feed. By 2016, "people were missing 70% of all their posts in Feed, including almost half of posts from their close connections" (Instagram). Unfortunately, the switch to a curated feed made users unhappy.
In March 2022, CEO Adam Mosseri, announced changes to the Feed. "We want you to be able to shape Instagram into the best possible experience, and giving you ways to quickly see what you’re most interested in is an important step in that direction."
Now, users have three options for their Feed layout.
Home: the default feed with curated content.
Following: posts from accounts you follow in chronological order.
Favourites: posts from a list of curated accounts in chronological order.
With the updates made to the algorithm, it can be difficult as a brand to know how to optimize content to maintain and increase organic reach and engagement. Here are the three most important ranking factors of the 2022 Instagram algorithm released by Instagram:
Instagram predicts how much you will care about a post "determined by past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post" (TechCrunch+).
The algorithm prioritizes content posted recently, especially with the two new Feeds (Following and Favourites).
Instagram prioritizes content from "friends and family" over brands. If you are commenting on someones posts or tagged in a photo together, that user will most likely fall within your "friends and family" category. This means their content will rank higher on your Feed (and vice-versa).
For brands, use this as an opportunity to stay top of mind and increase reach and engagement. Re-share content from users who tag your brand in their posts and stories.
Instagram will continue to grow and evolve. As a brand, use this as an opportunity to revamp your social media marketing strategies. If you are having a difficult time creating successful marketing strategies, reach out to VM Creative Consulting. We are here to help.