Instagram is where the crowd is these days and everyone wants to claim the top search feed and result.
Instagram users go to the extent of posting crazy content just to ensure their content is placed at the top. Even celebrities with massive followers are competing for the top searches and that’s why they post every single day.
If you want to be on the top searches, you need to understand how the Instagram algorithm works, the brutal truth is that you cannot be 100% sure on how the Instagram algorithm works.
But based on user experiments and some leaks from Instagram employees, we can understand the basic concept of how the Instagram algorithm works. Even the CEO’s at some point have shared some light on how to gain more exposure on Instagram.
In this post, we’ll share all the important information you need to know about Instagram’s top searches so that you can adjust your promotion plans based on how their algorithm works, not just doing things randomly.
How The Instagram Algorithm Works
It’s officially from Instagram that they consider six factors for ranking feed posts, and we’ll talk about them briefly;
- Interest: Instagram will top up your post feed based on what you like which is controlled by your engagement history. This includes the pages you visit, the posts you liked, and so on. Generally speaking, your feed is filled with content based on your behavioral history which is tracked by Instagram.
- Relationship: The users you’re very close to and you search the most will be shown to you most in your feed. They include your friends, family, and work colleagues. Instagram can understand the closeness of your relationship with people by considering your direct messages, users you mentioned frequently and they mention you as well, those you searched for, and other factors. If you have noticed, anytime a family member posts, it will appear in your post feed.
- Timeliness: Instagram always wants to show fresh and new content, brands and celebrities post every day. Some even post multiple times a day and that’s because they know how the system works. Only new content will be displayed in the user feed. It’s important to post when users are online the most based on your time zone, or else you’ll be missing a lot of exposure. What we’re saying is that newer posts appear on top of your feed than older posts.
- Following: The accounts you follow matter because most of the posts in your feed are from the profiles you follow. It’s not necessary though that all the posts are from the accounts you follow, they can be from profiles you don’t follow as well, but they’re definitely within your area of interest.
- Usage: Depending on the time you spent on the platform while you’re logged in, posts in your feed will be displayed with a different pattern. Meaning that if you login every day and spend some hours, you’ll receive the freshest content. The moment there is a new update, it will be shown to you Instantly, if however you login a few times in the week and you’re following a lot of accounts, you’ll find that you’re missing a lot of content unless you’ll keep scrolling down. You’ll only see a few highlights for the day if you’re just an occasional user who spends a few minutes a day.
- Frequency: Do you scroll deep into your feed? This will affect how posts will be displayed in your feed. If you don’t scroll much, you’ll also receive important highlights only. As you can already see, content is displayed as you scroll down.
These are the factors that influence feed posts, let’s take a look at other aspects of the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram Algorithm For Stories
When it comes to Stories, the profile users engage with the most will be shown to them in their story feed.
That’s to say they’ll receive stories from previous accounts they liked, comments, and other engagements, and also the accounts they send Direct Messages to.
You already know Instagram Story lasts for 24-hours and then be archived, the story will hardly appear in the user feed after 24-hours. Anyone that’s looking for exposure, they should always post on stories every single day.
Instagram Algorithm For IGTV Videos and Reels
Instagram adds suggested Reels and IGTV videos in your feed, and this content is still dependent on what you have liked previously and it’s based on what the algorithm thinks you’re interested in.
Instagram Algorithm For Explore Page
Feed Algorithm and explore page work in a similar manner, that’s showing you content based on your interaction history. They’ll both display the content you’re interested in using various factors we talked about previously.
The major difference between the two however is that post feed displays content from the profiles you follow, while explore feed will display content from new accounts, but they’ll mostly be your area of interest.
I’ll say that Explore is changing on a consistent basis because you can always see new categories added for you.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on how the Instagram Algorithm works, you should still conduct more research to learn about these factors we talked about.
How To Improve Your Ranking On Instagram Algorithm
Before sharing these tips, you should understand that the best way to increase your ranking on the Instagram algorithm is to generate massive interactions.
You want to ensure that users are always interacting with your content thereby adding likes, comments, shares, and also sending direct messages.
Instagram wants to show content users love the most so that they always come back for more on the platform and once a post is getting interactions it will be ranked well on the Algorithm.
Anything effort you’re going to make will be towards improving user interaction with your content. With that said, let’s take a look at how you can improve your rankings on the Instagram algorithm.
How To Improve Ranking On Instagram Algorithm
Always use the latest features
New features are introduced every year, and if you want to be favored with the Instagram Algorithm, you need to utilize these features as soon as possible.
Once a new feature is introduced, the algorithm will be using it as a factor for ranking content and profiles. In other words, you have to keep your eyes on the latest trends.
Use Stories Stickers To Encourage More Interactions
Using story stickers is one of the best ways to encourage user engagement and we’ve already mentioned that your attention should always be towards increasing user engagements.
There are lots of stickers you can choose from on Instagram but the best ones we believe that drive the best engagement are emoji, poll, question, and slider sticker, you should stick to them for better results.
Poll and emoji are the winners, and can be used for any brand or business on Instagram.
Force Conversations With Captions And Comments
Not only in your captions and comments, you should force and drive conversation right from your posts. If it’s a video post, you can always ask for user opinions.
Always ask questions and demand a reply in the comments, you can do this both in pictures and videos. Even if it means attracting critics, you should always stir conversations with your audience.
Use good captions to drive engagement and always reply to users that commented on your posts and Stories. You don’t have to respond to every comment, especially harassment, just reply to users that deserve it even if it’s critics.
Using Hashtags the right way can make a great difference, every viral post out there contains Hashtags and that’s because they use them right, and so should you.
You need to find the best Hashtags, they don’t need to be the ones with a massive following and we strongly suggest avoiding the use of such Hashtags because your post will be buried instantly since there are stronger influencers than you. Pay attention to your niche and choose Hashtags with moderate followers where your content will be noticed.
There are tools out there to explore the best Hashtags, use tools like Later’s Hashtag Suggestions, and find the best match for your business or profile.
Promote your content
This is a must if you have a few followers, you should do all you can to promote your content on other platforms. It can be on your website or other online communities with massive audiences.
Share a link to your profile or post, or can even use embed on your website that will display content from your Instagram post. You just need to hit the “Share” option on Instagram and generate the right code.
Encourage users to send you DMs
The more users send you direct messages, the more your content will be displayed for you, and when they send the DMs, you should always respond to their messages.
Use every trick you can to drive them into sending direct messages. You can for instance request them to ask questions only through DM instead of using the comments.
Monitor your Instagram activities with Analytics
If you can’t track your Instagram interactions, you can hardly improve them. This goes by the saying “if you can’t measure it, you cannot improve”.
You need to use Instagram analytics to analyze the growth of your account which can be seen easily from your account settings.
But you’ll have to upgrade to a business account before you can access Instagram Analytics, upgrading to Instagram business isn’t really that difficult, it can be done in less than five minutes.
You just need to connect your Facebook account and page, then you can upgrade to business from Instagram account settings. After that, the analytics tool will be available.
These few tips will help you stay on top of the Instagram algorithm and will help you get more exposure for your content.
Getting Featured On Instagram Search And Explore
If you want to stand a chance of getting featured on the Instagram search and explore, you have to add location and at least 9-hashtags.
These are the traits of most featured posts and you need to implement the same, adding hashtags and location will help you attract a targeted audience that will engage with you.
Post at the right time
You have to identify the time zones where the majority of your followers are from and also identify the best time they’re active the most on Instagram, you need to post regularly on this time.
Though there are statistics out there on when users are most active on Instagram, like the days users are active and the time for each day.
We don’t recommend using these data, you need to experiment with things based on your audience. If you don’t post during active hours, you will not receive much engagement.
Wherever you go, content is king. Don’t disappoint your followers with irrelevant content, always post something they’re interested in.
Make sure your pictures are of high quality by posting high resolutions. Post content that’s relevant to your audience which will cause interactions.
Live videos are always displayed on the Search and Explore tab, and you can also have a chance of getting featured. It might not be easy, but still, it’s worth it and you need to go live in order to have that chance.
Increasing user engagement is the secret, make sure you promote your live videos and you should add location.
We have reached the end of the post and by summarizing things you can see that if you want to rank high on Instagram when it comes to promotion, it’s by having interactions after posting your content.
Your content won’t generate views on its own, nor the Instagram algorithm will start sending free traffic immediately after posting the content.
You have to work for it, from the beginning, things aren’t easy since you don’t have enough followers. The secret is to find a way to use influencers to promote your profile from the beginning and then you can scale from there.