How The Instagram Algorithm Works and How To Get Maximum Reach

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Instagram explained how news feed generation algorithms work. Previously, the platform has never published such data, and there have been many questions about the social network among marketers. The most common of them are also answered on this site. 

Read carefully: understanding the work of the Instagram news feed tape will help you to get the maximum reach and engagement for your posts.

The chronological tape was not convenient

This is not spoken by representatives of the social network (and certainly not users), but figures: users skipped 70% of all posts and 50% of posts of friends when the feed was formed in the order of publication of posts.

Now, according to Instagram, users see up to 90% of friends’ posts. Recall that in recent months, Facebook has paid attention to maintaining contacts between friends and family within the social network.

Main factors for the Instagram ranking algorithm

Instagram uses machine learning to analyze your behavior on the social network to create a personalized tape for each user. Even if two people are following the same list of accounts, their news feeds will differ, depending on the interactions with these accounts. You can work with Instagram services to increase your popularity, and therefore rank higher, read more.


Instagram predicts whether the publication will interest you based on your previous actions with similar content. The similarity of publications also determines machine vision.


Priority is given to publications made recently.


Instagram determines how close you are to the post’s author. Comments are taken into account under his photographs and tags on joint images.

Three additional ranking factors

Instagram representatives also identified three additional factors that affect the display of posts in the feed. 


How often do you go to Instagram: the algorithm tries to show you the best posts since your last visit.

Number of followings

If you are following a large number of accounts, the algorithm has a wide selection of publications to add to your feed – so you rarely see the posts of a particular person.


How much time you spend in the application, and how to view the content: quickly scroll through the tape or enter the account and see the posts there.

Myths about the work of Instagram algorithms

The Instagram team has disproved known user misconceptions.

  1. Instagram does not plan to return to the chronological tape. This will complicate the use of the service. However, the company listens to users’ discontent with the current algorithm.
  2. Posts in the tape are not hidden but only are arranged. If you browse for a very long time, you will see publications from absolutely all the accounts which you are following.
  3. The Instagram algorithm does not prefer posts with video over posts as a photo. It analyzes what content the user watches more often, and it is in his personalized feed that publications with this type of content are ranked higher.
  4. Instagram does not rank users who post Stories, Live Broadcasts or use any other application features higher. That using story affects reach is a myth.
  5. In the feed, users who post content too often do not rank lower. But if posts are posted one after another with a small period, Instagram in most cases will add other users’ posts in between them.
  6. The type of account does not affect the coverage: switching from a business account to a personal one and vice versa will not give any results.
  7. Shadow ban (hide posts in the issuance of hashtags) does not exist.

How to improve the performance of your account on Instagram, knowing the factors that influence the ranking?

1. Publish regularly

You need to be caught by followers to stay in their feed. Some marketers and bloggers are advised to make at least one post per day. For some, this is too much – sometimes creating content takes time and effort. Three publications per week will be enough.

2. Communicate with your audience

Yes, the very questions “How will you spend the summer?” work. Ask open questions to the audience, and if you are running a brand account, try to engage followers in the conversation – not only about your product but also on abstract topics.

3. Interact with similar content.

View accounts that are similar to yours, reply to your friends in a direct message or on Stories, participate in discussions relevant to the topic of your profile.

4. Study the audience

Determine what your followers like: a photo or video, a long or short text, useful information or beautiful pictures.

To do this, ask them directly – for example, through a survey in the Stories, or analyze the old publication of the account. Search for the most popular and discussed posts of all time, determine the days of the week and the hours when followers are most active, show the optimal text length for your audience on charts – and many more metrics that will help you improve content in the account.

Find the best time to post to Instagram

We recognize right away: it is more correct to formulate this question, is a there even better time for posting on Instagram?

With the advent of algorithmic tapes, the essence of the formation of the tape changed and the time of publishing the content ceased to significantly affect the coverage. Still, bloggers and businesses are trying to find a relationship between the time of publication and an indicator of engagement.

Surely you noticed that the posts published at a certain time, get the best response

Instagram algorithms when forming an algorithmic tape takes into account the relevance of the post: how long ago it was published. New posts are more likely to appear in the feed of followers.

Therefore, the best time to post to Instagram is close to the time when your audience is online to increase the novelty factor.

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