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How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work (2019 latest Update)

October 20,2019

Instagram algorithm arranges the feed, and the Instagram feed consist of all the videos and photos you scroll down on your home screen.

The contents published by those you follow appear in the feed of your Instagram account. So, it is quite evident that YOU are the one deciding on what to be displayed on your Insta feed.

The question now is not that “what feed is displayed in your Instagram,” but rather “how the Instagram feed is ordered” for every individual Insta user.

Read with us to the end of this article to find the answer.

How does Instagram algorithm work to arrange the Instagram feed?

According to Instagram, new changes to the algorithm has introduced five factors based on which your Instagram feed is ordered.

These factors are:

  • Time of publishing a post,
  • User’s interests,
  • User’s relationship with the post owner,
  • Frequency of user’s logging into Instagram,
  • Number of accounts a user follows on Instagram,

Now let’s see how each of these factors has changed the Instagram algorithm in 2019.

Time of publishing a post

The later a post is published on Instagram, the earlier it will show up in your feed. This a reverse-chronological order, which determines the main pattern in the Instagram feed.

So the most recent photos and videos will appear on top of the feed, and the older ones will follow.

User’s interests

What a user searches on Instagram explore, what type of content they interact with the most, which hashtags they follow and what they stop to spend more time on, give the Instagram algorithm a hint to what the user is interested in.

So, next time you search for something or like content, keep in mind that Instagram will keep it in mind!

Also, users embedding Instagram feed into websites and other social media will receive more of that kind in their feed.

User’s relationship with the post owner

That how many mutual friends you and the post owner have, whether you are close friends, how frequently you like their posts, how often you visit their profile, comment their content and direct message them, all tell the algorithm of Instagram how strong your relationship is.

The tighter the relationship, the more of their posts will appear in your feed of Instagram.

Frequency of user’s logging into Instagram

That how often you log into Instagram is yet another important factor based on which Instagram decides what feed to show you first.

For instance, if a user logs into Instagram hourly, the Instagram algorithm will work to show them the most recent feed, as they might have caught up with all the old ones, an hour ago.

But for those logging once a day in Instagram, the algorithm tries to arrange the most relevant posts based on the first three factors (publishing time, users’ interest, and relationship) in their feed.

Number of accounts a user follows on Instagram

The more accounts you follow on Instagram, the less content from them shows up on top of the feed.

It doesn’t mean that the Instagram algorithm will hide some not-so-relevant photos and videos from your feed, but the competition over the first places on Instagram feed tightens.

The Instagram algorithm tries to optimize the feed for the users and show them what they want to see.

So, if a user follows, for example, 2 thousand accounts, the probability of showing all the content of each account in the feed lowers.

However, users can still see all the content from all the accounts they follow if they scroll down to the end of the feed.

Competition over first place in the Instagram feed

How has the Instagram algorithm changed for feed?

The five factors mentioned above indicate how the algorithm arranges Instagram feed and on what base users receive particular content on their Instagram home.

Before its latest algorithm update, Instagram posts were lucky enough to be seen only by 30 percent; meaning that 70 percent of posts published remained unseen by the users.

It was because posts in the Instagram feed were arranged only chronologically, and only newer posts had a chance of being seen, getting the older feed buried as the time passed.

With the new Instagram algorithm, 90 percent of the feed get exposure to their targeted audience.

This is good news for brands and businesses who were wearied by the old, blind algorithm, which made them almost invisible.

What might come to mind is the question that does the new algorithm mean that some of the irrelevant, less interesting Instagram feed to users will be automatically hidden for the user?

No, Instagram does not hide any feed from users.

The new Instagram algorithm aims to optimize the results for users so that users might receive a specific type of content from certain users more frequently than from others.

But if the users scroll down to the end of the feed, it will be evident that nothing is hidden or eliminated and all the feed from all followings can be accessible.

Answers to frequently asked questions about Instagram feed

Q- Do Instagram favor posts from business accounts?

A– No. Whether from a personal account or a business account, the Instagram feed will be treated similarly by the algorithm. So, Business accounts’ posts are not favored over personal ones.

Q- Does use too many hashtags eliminate a post from the feed?

A- Using a lot of hashtags (more than 30) only disables the hashtag search for the post. Meaning that the post won’t show up in the explore results based on hashtags. But the post will still show up in the feed on the followers.

Q- Do posts from shadow-banned accounts get eliminated from the Instagram feed?

A- Shadow-ban is not real, and there is nothing such as a shadow-banned Instagram account.

Q- Why does the Instagram algorithm show older posts to me?

A- Instagram wants to make sure you have not missed any of the feed interesting for you. So, you might receive a post, say 1-month-old, in your feed that you have never seen before. But, once the post is seen by you, it won’t appear in your latest feed again.

Q- How can I stop receiving posts from a specific user in my Instagram feed?

A- You can always stop getting posts from a certain person by unfollowing or muting them. This can be done by going to one of their posts, touching the three dots on the top-right corner and selecting “mute.” There you can disable the post and stories from them.

You can mute an Instagram account to stop receiving posts from them

Over to you

For brands and businesses, it is important to follow up with the new Instagram algorithm to be able to stay on top of the feed. With new rules to the Instagram feed, marketers can hope to receive more exposure if the desired quality is met in their Instagram content and activities.



Please check out our previous blog about “How to Embed Instagram Feed in Website best plugins” or next blog about "Is Instagram Down? (Instagram is not Working)".

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