The secrets of the Instagram 2018 algorithm

New day, new article dedicated to users who daily use Instagram, Today, in particular, I want to explain how the Instagram algorithm works in 2018. 

As you well know, starting from 2016 Instagram has abandoned the chronological view of the photos to move to that based on an algorithm.

This means, in a nutshell, that you (like all other users) never see all the photos posted on the social network by the users you follow. 

Also, always because of the algorithm, the photos you see in your Instagram feed are NOT in chronological order. 

It is the algorithm that controls everything: analyzing your tastes, your likes, what you are looking for and much more, establishes which users are most interesting to you and shows you their photos first, then all the others.

Always according to the same logic, the algorithm does not show you in the feed those photos of users that follow but that according to him you do not care.

Besides all this, the algorithm deals with making your photo more or less viral : analyzing various parameters and factors established by the Instagram programmers, the algorithm understands if a photo you have posted likes or not to users of the social network and automatically establishes if you have to “push” that photo so as to show it to more people or if you just have to show it to users who already follow you on Instagram.

And here is the reason why some of your photos receive a lot of Like and Like, even by people who do not follow you, while others do not own anybody.

The algorithm rules everything within Instagram.

Everyone would like to understand how the Instagram algorithm works to “trick” it and be able to take their photos to reach thousands or millions of users.

But of course, the algorithm of Instagram is something super secret (like that of Google), composed of hundreds of thousands of complex formulas that go to compose the brain of the social network and to adjust the visibility of every single content published in it.

The only thing we know, to date, is that users “lose” between 50 and 70% of the contents shared by the people which acts according to the indications given to it, which however, are not always correct with regard to the individual user.

Up to now, Instagram had kept the utmost privacy on the functioning of the social network algorithm. There were so many hypotheses, of course, but no certainty.

Surprisingly, however, in recent days a spokesperson of the social network has explained (although broadly and without precise data) how the algorithm of Instagram, confirming all the assumptions that users had made.

Here is the secret of the Instagram algorithm 

Just like we all imagined, the algorithm learns from user behavior. 

And so far nothing new.

During the conference, Julian Gutman, Product Lead Instagram, explained that two seemingly equal people on Instagram, with the same followers and the following ones, see different content.

The interesting thing is that Gutman has explained what are the factors that make the algorithm learn what to show and what to hide for each account. 

The discriminating factor is, as anticipated, the behavior of users.

The two Instagram accounts, in fact, put like, comment or even linger on different types of posts and the algorithm learns from these behaviors and shows them the most suitable content.

But what exactly are the factors that the Instagram algorithm takes into account to learn?

The three key factors of the Instagram algorithm

Gutman then went into how the algorithm works, listing the three main factors

  • Interest: learn about our behavior and show us the posts similar to those that we like best
  • Timeliness: even the publication time is important. The more content is fresh, the more it is possible to be made visible
  • Relationship: the more you interact with a person (comments, likes, tags, mention …), the more likely the algorithm is to show us your posts.

Factors that refine the sorting

Another question that has always sought answers among Instagram fans is the one concerning the sorting of posts in the feed.

Why do some posts appear before others, even if they are older? Why on Instagram there is no chronological order regarding photos and videos in the feed?

Just as regards the ordering of the photos and videos of the Instagram feed, the team explained that alongside these three main factors (the ones listed above), there are three others that refine the sort” in order to improve the experience user on the platform (are we sure? How many times have you seen in the Instagram feed post a few days old, losing the most recent ones?):

  • Frequency: the app always tries to show the best content shared since the last access
  • Following: the algorithm of Instagram prefers to show many different authors, rather than many different photos of a small number of authors
  • Time of use: in addition to the frequency, the algorithm also takes into consideration the time and the mode of use. So he understands if we do “hit and run” sessions, during which we only see the best photos, or if we browse the feed in depth and spend a lot of time on the app.

Some tips to improve your activity on Instagram

In addition to taking into account all that we have said so far, I can give you some advice to try to improve everything you do on Instagram, to try to increase the engagement with your followers and increase accordingly the scope of your photos within the social network:

  1. Use more Instagram stories: make the most of all the news of Stories such as polls, emoji stickers, hashtags even in photos, insert the place where the photo was taken or the video of the story ..
  2. Interact with your followers and with the people you follow: reply to comments, comment on their photos, put Like, take advantage of private messages ..
  3. Get lots of Likes when you’re posting photos: Ask your friends to put Like immediately when you post a photo on the social network. Remember that speed is crucial: if you receive a lot of Likes right after you have posted the photo, Instagram will understand that your photo is liked and will make sure that other people can see it
  4. Enter long descriptions below photos: if you publish photos with long descriptions, people will read them and spend a lot of time on your photo. Instagram will understand that your photo is liked (if a person looks at it for a long time means that it is interesting), then will make sure to propose it to the largest number of users. On the contrary, if a user spends little time on your photo, it means that he did not like it and Instagram will show it to a few people
  5. Always use hashtags under photos: both in Stories and in “normal” photos
  6. Try to publish original photos, different from the others, taken from your point of view, that have something that makes them truly unique. Do not conform to the mass, it makes no sense to publish photos already seen and already published by another 200 people, try to do something beautiful, unique and “yours”. Try to distinguish yourself from others, you do not need copies of accounts already famous and known
  7. Always take advantage of all the latest news from Instagram: as soon as the social network launches a new feature, run immediately to exploit it, especially if it allows you to interact to the maximum with your followers.

How does the Instagram 2018 algorithm work? – Conclusions

As anticipated, no secrets about Instagram and its complex algorithm have been revealed.

The Instagram team has simply confirmed our hypotheses about the factors that most affect the ordering of posts and the fact that some photos are shown to many users, while others to none.

Now that you know the basic factors to “become nice” to the algorithm of Instagram, it’s up to you to try to stimulate your followers to make sure that they interact with your photos and bring them to the maximum coverage.

Also, remember that Instagram is constantly evolving and continues to change its methods of perceiving popularity. What works now, could stop going from one day to another: just a simple update of the algorithm and the strategies you used yesterday may no longer work today.

PS: it seems clear that there is no intention to return to the feed in chronological order an alternative very welcome to users but opposed by the development team.

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