The New Instagram Algorithm
Like most social media platforms, Instagram has always played around with how people see content on their feed. But the decision that raised the most outcry has been moving away from chronological feeds, giving priority to the posts the company thinks you might be most interested in.
With its new algorithm, Instagram isn’t going to change that, but it has been altered to make users’ feeds “feel more fresh.” It will accomplish this by taking several major factors into account to try and predict the patterns of the user.
How Does The New Instagram Algorithm Work?
Instagram switched from chronological to “importance” because the company wanted users to see more posts from a group they call “friends and family”; this way, you see more of your best friend’s cats at the top of your feed and less of the Kardashians. Despite the outrage regarding the switch, the company is sticking with it, and they say it’s working – 90% of the average user’s feed is now friends and family, compared to a mere 50% under chronological.
The way Instagram creates a unique feed for you is with a form of machine learning. The algorithm examines how you interact with your feed to try and learn more about you and the accounts best classed as friends or family members. How you like, comment, tag, and be tagged determines the order you see the posts, creating a unique feed that not even someone following the exact same people would get. Instagram’s new algorithm uses three key areas to determine the order of posts:
- Recency: New posts will get higher priority, so when someone posts is important. A picture or video posted an hour ago will end up higher on a feed than something posted a couple of days ago.
- Relationship: Instagram now tries to determine how well you know someone, and will prioritize those posts. It uses comments, tags and likes to learn about your relationships with the people you follow, and since you probably don’t chill with Selena Gomez all that often, it’s not easily fooled.
- Interest: The algorithm now tries to predict how much you’d like a post, using your past behaviour, the accounts you follow, and the content of the posts.
These are the big three factors for the new algorithm, meaning despite what people may want, there won’t be a return to the chronological feed. However, Instagram doesn’t hide posts, and it insists that if you keep scrolling, you’ll see all there is to see. This misconception is but one of many that the company has tried to dispel in recent days.
What Does Instagram’s New Algorithm Not Do?
When the feed went from chronological to based on machine learning, a lot of new theories were floated around, and they were usually negative. Many users thought that Instagram was penalizing them for a number of different issues, including using too many hashtags, posting too often, or for not using the Stories or Live features.
Instagram’s new algorithm rollout has allowed them to revisit these rumours and try and put them to rest. The company insists that they don’t hide or “shadowban” accounts that post too many photos or videos, and it doesn’t penalize people for including too many hashtags. But it doesn’t favour accounts who post too frequently or use more of the features, either, and Instagram business accounts are ranked just as highly as personal accounts. There are no “power users” or “weak accounts” boosted or hidden by the algorithm – the content and followers gives certain accounts popularity. The only way it’ll affect how your posts are shown is interspersing them with other posts in someone’s feed, but again, that’s because it’s a customized experience for the user.
What Can Small Businesses Do On Instagram?
Instagram is a great tool for small businesses, because it makes sharing quality content a breeze. The way to capitalize on Instagram’s new algorithm is to post often, get your followers excited about your content, and make important announcements available. Encourage followers on other platforms to like and follow posts; attract new followers with appropriate hashtags and keywords; and use the tools like the Story and Live feature. While they won’t ‘prioritize’ you, these tactics can endear you to your followers and create a relationship that puts your content at the top of their feeds.
Getting an Instagram Business Account is a great way to start! It provides you with great tools to boost your profile and read into data to analyze what works and what doesn’t. It can also drive business to your website and provide valuable information for potential customers. If you want to know more about social media and improving your online presence contact us today!