Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by the Instagram algorithm?
*slowly raises hand*
At some point, all of us have felt like the app is out to get us. Especially when you see a massive drop in likes, usually right after a salesy post goes live.
But, the good (and bad news) is that it’s not all the algorithm’s fault. The way you interact with the app teaches it whether to show your content on your follower’s feeds.
Instagram recently revealed how it ranks content on the app and if you’re someone who posts and ghosts — that’s likely why your likes, views, and comments have tanked.
The good news is that if you put in a bit of work (i.e. focus on building a REAL community), you will win Instagram back.
Ready to sweep Instagram off their feet and get your content back on the Explore page?
Here’s everything you need to know about how to beat the Instagram algorithm in 2023.
What Is The Instagram Algorithm?
Understanding the Instagram algorithm might seem like a complicated maths problem at first, but it’s quite simple once you start to peel back the layers.
The Instagram algorithm is a piece of code that helps deliver content to your Feed it thinks you’ll like.
But according to Instagram, the app doesn’t use only one algorithm. There are multiple algorithms, classifiers, and processes that work together to personalize your experience.
Each part of the app (feed posts, the Explore page, Reels) uses its own algorithm tailoring the content to how you use the app.
How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work?
With different algorithms for each part of the app, you can’t simply post a photo every day and expect skyrocketing engagement. You need to understand the nuances of each algorithm to make sure you’re feeding it the right signals when you’re posting and when YOU’RE NOT posting.
Ready to take a deep dive? Let’s!
Instagram Feed and Stories Algorithm
Remember the days when our Feed was in chronological order?
Well, one of the big reasons Instagram ditched it is because of this:
“Over the years, we’ve learned that Feed and Stories are places where people want to see content from their friends, family, and those they are closest to.”
Since the Instagram algorithm change, the app prioritizes content according to your closest connections. Here are ”signals” it looks for:
• Information about the post: When was it posted (timeliness), what location is tagged, video length, and how many people liked it (popularity).
• Information about the account: How many times people have interacted with your account in the last month. The more people engaging with your content, the more the algorithm thinks other people will like your posts.
• Your activity: The type of content the user interacts with the most. The algorithm wants to recommend more of that to keep people on the app.
• Interaction history: How often do both accounts interact? Do you comment on each other’s posts? DM often? This helps the algorithm gauge how close you are with someone.
Using all of this information, the new Instagram algorithm will then predict how likely you will comment, like, save, or share a post. The more likely it thinks you’ll take action, the higher up that post will appear on your Feed.
1. Start forming genuine connections with your audience and people in your niche
2. Reply to all your comments
3. Comment on their posts
4. Use calls-to-action like ‘save this post’ to encourage engagement
Explore Page Algorithm
The Explore page is all about helping you discover new things. The algorithm wants to expose you to content from accounts you’re not following.
How does it figure out what you may like?
The Explore algorithm looks at posts you’ve liked, saved, shared, and commented on in the past.
For example, if you love Co-Star (an app about your birth chart), you’ll see other ‘star sign’ related content recommendations. You might also see photos, videos, and Reels for related topics like full moon and new moon rituals, angel numbers, and manifestation.
Here’s how posts end up on the Explore Page:
• Information about the post: How popular is the post? How quickly is it racking up likes, comments, shares, and saves? If a post is getting a lot of attention, it should be promoted on the Explore page.
• History of the account: If a person has interacted with you but isn’t following you, this will increase your chances of landing on their Explore feed.
• Activity: How the user has interacted with content on the Explore page in the past. What content drove them to like, save, or comment?
• Information about the account: How many people are interacting with the account? Instagram uses this to identify accounts with compelling content
Instagram Reels Algorithm
The Reels algorithm is all about suggesting content it thinks you’ll find entertaining. For the most part, you’ll see videos from accounts you don’t follow, but you’ve shown interest in the topic or the sound.
The more likely the algorithm thinks you’ll watch the video all the way through, like it, comment, save, share, or visit the audio page — the higher up it will appear on your Reels feed.
Here’s what signals the Reels algorithm looks for:
• User activity: What Reels has the person liked, commented on, and engaged with recently? This tells Instagram what is and what isn’t relevant to you
• Interaction history: Have you engaged with this user’s Reels in the past? Even if you don’t follow the account, if you’ve liked, commented, or watched a Reel of theirs on repeat – you’ll most likely see them again in your Feed
• Information on the Reel: What audio track was used, and is it trending? How popular is the Reel? What is the Reel about?
• Information about the poster: How compelling do other people find their content? If you have lots of Reels going viral, that tells Instagram people love your content, and it will share more of it to keep users engaged
What gets a Reel ignored by the algorithm?
• Low-resolution video
• Watermarked Reels
• Political issues
• Content made by political figures, parties, or governments
1. Make sure you’re creating Reels with a strong hook
2. Use different cuts to keep people engaged and watching all the way through
3. Focus on creating Reels that’ll entertain or educate people and encourage a reaction (liking, sharing etc.)
Shadowbanning on Instagram
For many years, there have been whispers of Instagram ‘shadowbanning’ users. How else do you explain the drop in likes, comments, or getting zero traction on hashtags?
Well, Instagram has set the record straight. The app does not shadowban people on purpose but admits mistakes sometimes happen.
What is actually happening is your followers don’t see what you share. Why?
Because most people look at less than half the content on their Feed.
This is why it’s so important to cultivate relationships with people on Instagram. The more engagement signals you have with another account, the more your content will get to the top of their Feed.
How to Reset Instagram Algorithm in 2023 & Get It On Your Side
To recap, here’s everything you can do to get Instagram’s multiple algorithms to fall back in love with your account:
• Focus on building relationships. You can’t post and ghost. Take the time to get to know your followers
• Engage with your followers. Watch their Stories, reply to your DMs, like and comment on their posts
• Encourage engagement. Use the Question sticker on Stories to get replies, and use strong CTA’s in your captions to start conversations
• Create entertaining, educational, and shareable content. Help Instagram keep people on the app, and it will reward you
• Use all the features. Your location tag, hashtags, audio, and alt text all help Instagram understand what your post is about and who would like it
Remember, engagement is everything on Instagram. Your following count? Not so much.
Focus on building a community, and Instagram (plus your followers) will love you more for it. You can use Plann’s next-level scheduling, creation and analytics tools to do just that.