In what appears to be a now-deleted blog post, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, shared how its algorithm works. (The post went up around June 2. As of this morning, it’s gone. We found this out because we were going to link back to it in our post.) Though the link now leads to a 404 Page Not Found page, never you fear. We took notes so we can still share the goods with you!
The biggest piece of news that stood out to us is that there isn’t one singular algorithm. Each element of Instagram – Reels, Stories, and the Feed – has its own algo. When it came to breaking down the “signals” Instagram uses to show a piece of content in your Feed or in Stories, here is what he said are the “most important” signals, pretty much “in order of importance:”
- Information about the post.
These are signals both about how popular a post is – think how many people have liked it – and more mundane information about the content itself, like when it was posted, how long it is if it’s a video, and what location, if any, was attached to it.
- Information about the person who posted.
This helps us get a sense of how interesting the person might be to you, and includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.
- Your activity.
This helps us understand what you might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts you’ve liked.
- Your history of interacting with someone.
This gives us a sense of how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person. An example is whether or not you comment on each other’s posts.
Based on all of this “feedback” given by you and users in general, the algorithms will then predict how you might interact with a post, such as commenting or liking it. “The more likely you are to take an action, and the more heavily we weigh that action, the higher up you’ll see the post,” Mosseri said.
Mosseri also spelled out what Instagram uses to rank posts on the Explore page and in the Reels section. You can take a few actions to better “train” the algorithms, such as:
- Pick your Close Friends.
- Mute accounts which you’re not interested in.
- Mark recommended posts as “Not Interested.”
Understanding the inner workings of outlets’ algorithms should help dictate how you use those outlets for your own business – both in how you should interact as a user and how you should set your content strategy for that outlet. If this has you stumped, use the button below to give us a shout, and let’s see if we’re a good fit for your business and social media marketing needs!
Image by Yash Gooly from Pixabay