Started with photography as a daily challenge in 2017, learning from the basics to photo editing and posting. Instagram: @idelafuentef
The Instagram algorithm is driving mad brands and influencers, but also normal people like you and me that just want to see their pics as they upload them. Since June of 2016, but mostly since the beginning of 2018, the Instagram algorithm of our home screen is no longer ordered chronologically in our feed and this has caused many complaints from users and companies that have seen reduced their number of interactions within Instagram.
But the truth is that the algorithm of Instagram in the main feed is not the only one that should be analyzed. There are currently 2 main algorithms that we should keep an eye on if we want to take advantage of them to position our pics in the best place of other people’s feeds.
This algorithm establishes the priority of the contents to be displayed in the start menu for each of the users who use Instagram. Basically, it means that if we opened 2 accounts and followed the same 50 people or brands from both accounts, when accessing each of these 2 accounts, the images shown in the start menu would be ordered differently if our interactions with these people were different. In this case, the user's behavior within the social network is what establishes the priority of some images over others.
As noted by Thomas Dimson, a software engineer on Instagram, this Instagram algorithm is calculated in relation to different interaction variables within the social network:
• Accounts whose content you like.
• Accounts with which you exchange private messages.
• Accounts you are looking for.
• Accounts from people you know in real life.
The change of this Instagram algorithm, as Dimson explains, is due to the fact that most publications are uploaded at times when users are not usually active and this causes many images to not be displayed because they appear very low in the feed of Instagram.
With the previous Instagram algorithm, the chronologically ordered images escaped the view of many users:
Hastag Search Algorithm
The second of the algorithms establish the priority of the photos in the highlighted publications when we search for a hashtag or when we click on it.
Until recently, it was thought that prominent photographs appeared there because they belong to accounts with thousands of followers or interactions, but several studies have proven that images from an Instagram account with less than 1,000 followers can manage to appear ahead of more than 4 million photographs in some cases, given a certain set of conditions.
During the tests, images were uploaded at different times, from different locations, and it was observed how many interactions each of them received. Subsequently, the number of interactions was multiplied to try to position them.
Finally, it turned out that it is not the volume of interactions in isolation what establishes this priority, but the time in which they occur in the account from the moment in which it is published.
At this point, we know that a greater number of interactions is needed when the time period increases. And this is because Instagram prioritizes in this algorithm those images that impact users more quickly.
So, how does Instagram algorithm exactly work once I upload a photo?
How the Instagram algorithm uses commitment to evaluate how many people see your post:
1. When you first publish an image, it is shown to a small percentage of your audience.
2. Instagram measures how fast it relates to that photo, comments and likes it.
3. Instagram will compare the commitment that your image is having with other publications that you have shared on similar days and times.
4. If your photo is attracting a lot of engagement, Instagram will show it to a higher percentage of your audience.
5. If your publication continues to attract a lot of participation, your photo will stay on top of your audience's feeds and reach more people.
6. If your photo does not attract much engagement initially, they will move it lower on the page, and less audience will see it.
Taking into account these algorithms, here are the tips you must follow to overcome them!
1. Find out when your audience is the most active
In general terms, the main hours that people review Instagram are between 9 and 12 in the morning, and between 5 and 6 in the afternoon, with a peak of interactions on weekends. However, this can vary widely depending on your area, so my best advice is to try to post it in a large number of times and see which ones work best.
2. Stop your followers in their scrolling with the perfect caption
If you want to get more engagement, make a nice and long caption! It has been seen that Instagram algorithm also takes into account how much time spends in your photo the person that sees it.
By writing the Instagram captions ahead of time and then scheduling Instagram posts, you can save yourself the daily pressure to be creative and devote your time and energy to other important strategies.
This is one of the reasons why videos work so well in Instagram's algorithm, since a video consumes much more time than an image.
This is also true for Instagram carousel publications with a call to action to "swipe": they can keep users in your posts longer. Instagram carousel posts are a great feature that you share up to 10 photos and videos in a single Instagram post.
3. Start a conversation with your Instagram followers
While the Instagram algorithm is still mainly focused on commitment, it can become very scarce with the definition of commitment. Typical comments like "Great picture!" What you can see in most of the commented photos are no longer worthy, because Instagram has learned not to consider them as a compromise.
It's time to get rid of the generic comments and dig deeper! It is important not to comment for the simple fact of making comments, but really take some time to think about how your comment is contributing to the other person's work.
4. Look into the analytics to see what is working (and what is not)
Assuming your Instagram strategy with a better understanding of what works (and what does not) will help you devise a tight strategy, saving you time and effort.
But immersing yourself in your Instagram analytics means more than just discovering which photo, video or story worked best. Really understanding how your content performs, by tracking key metrics over time, is key to understanding how you oppose to the Instagram algorithm.
The main tool I am currently using is UnionMetrics, which has a free version and works pretty well if you do not want to get really professional.
5. Join an Instagram Pod
This can take a little more search and organization. The idea of an Instagram Pods is to let everyone in your group know when you have posted. Then, ideally, everyone visits the publication and they like it. The publication receives a bump in the commitment in the first hour that is online and the algorithm interprets it as a good publication.
To do this effectively, you will need to find like-minded individuals, hopefully in your industry or with a similar fan base. Everyone must also commit to the pod so that all accounts receive the attention they deserve.
Taking the time to discover exactly how the Instagram algorithm works will help your chances of getting yourself to the top and generating much more participation in your publications.
This year, take the Instagram algorithm changes as an opportunity to create deeper connections, produce high-quality content. But most than nothing, enjoy creating!