Instagram Changes Its Algorithm…Again: What Marketers Need to Know in 2022
Instagram’s algorithm is always updating. Here’s some tips on how you can better evolve your Instagram strategy to get the most out of the platform today.
Understanding the features of the always updating Instagram algorithm can be interesting and at times complicated. Creating high-quality and relevant content with good follower engagement for most IG users can be daunting and time-consuming as well. Having introduced better creative tools, the Instagram algorithm has changed to help reduce the time and effort needed to create a high-performing post.
Whether you’re a marketer or small business, understanding how the 2022 Instagram algorithm works and how it has changed can elevate your social media marketing strategy. We’ll dive into IG Reels, Stories, and the Explore feed as well as tips to boost your content’s visibility and engagement.
what is the Instagram algorithm?
The Instagram algorithm is actually not singular but rather a group set of various rules, classifiers, and processes that uniquely curates and organizes each user’s experience based on what they like and don’t want to see.
It analyzes every piece of content posted on user platforms such as including images, captions, and Stories, as well as behavior signals to distribute ads and recommend relevant content. For instance, if your browsing history record shows that you love dogs, you will see more dog highlights and videos in your feed and Explore page.
The main aim of the IG algorithm is to make the platform’s user experience as seamless, accessible, personalized, and engaging as possible. In June 2021, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri explained that the algorithm is meant for users to spend less time searching for what they like. With all that said, how does the Instagram algorithm deliver its magic?
how does the Instagram algorithm work?
Instagram uses machine learning – a type of artificial intelligence (AI) – to analyze every interaction you have with the app in order to provide you with your own personalized feed of content. Certain accounts and posts are prioritized while others are “shadowbanned” or hidden from your feed altogether.
Relevance is a combined analysis of where a piece of content fits among trending topics and videos. It also considers timeliness, where recently published posts are prioritized over older ones.
Instagram predicts whether the user will be interested in a specific type of content, regardless of how many likes, comments, or shares it gets. When it recognizes that you enjoy certain information or content formats, it will serve you more of the same.
frequency of use
If you rarely open Instagram, you’ll only see relevant and trending content when you decide to browse the app. Posting more frequently will allow the algorithm to gain a better understanding of what interests you. After a while, you’ll begin seeing content specific to what you’ve focused on in the past.
the number of users you follow
The more accounts you follow, the more your feed is crowded as they all compete for your time and attention. The fewer accounts you follow, the more likely you’ll be able to see content from your friends, family, or favorite profiles.
The algorithm will prioritize showing you relevant posts if you’re not spending that much time on the app. For those who browse longer, Instagram will serve a wider variety of fresh content to keep you interested and engaged.
Commenting, liking, sharing, and messaging accounts can help the Instagram algorithm better understand what content to serve.
explore, stories, reels: what do they all mean?
what is Instagram explorer?
IE as in Instagram Explore, not Internet Explorer, is a page where recommended content is curated for you. Every Instagram user has a totally different experience on their Explore page, which is based on what posts they’ve liked alongside other users they follow.
According to CEO Adam Mosseri, over 50% of users use the Explore page to analyze how the IG algorithms thinks. You might be scratching your head thinking, how can I get on the Explore page? Regularly posting content that your followers enjoy is a given, but you increase your chances of showing up on the Explore page when you post at times when your followers are online. Also, consider adding trendy hashtags to help expand your reach.
understanding Instagram stories
IG Stories are full-screen vertical videos and photos that are only live for 24 hours. They appear on the top of the platform’s page rather than in the news feed. An IG Story combines interactive tools such as stickers, filters, emojis, and hashtags to make the content stand out more than a traditional post.
what are Instagram reels?
Goodbye IGTV. Reels are new video formats for discovering and creating short, enjoyable content. You could argue they’re more effective than IG Story videos since they provide new creative tools and effects as well as allow multiple clips to be meshed into one. Also, the algorithm favors Reels over regular posts, so you can expect a heightened reach to people who don’t follow you.
what are the 2022 Instagram updates?
Mosseri announced the more recent Instagram algorithm update in September 2022. Now, users can more easily see Stories and Explore pages of people they don’t follow. The CEO also explained in a tweet that, in chronological order, you can see posts based on your home page (any content), favorites (IG algorithm proposals), and following (posts of people you are following).
Just this year, the Instagram management board made the following changes to the algorithm:
- IG video posts should be centered around Reels.
- Users can upload Stories for up to 60 seconds without any cuts or breaks every 15 seconds.
- The Reels editor allows users to create multiple videos in different windows and play them combined.
- Hiding likes has been made optional for all users for both public and private accounts.
- Emphasized focus on “authentic” content, specifically photos and videos created within the IG app itself rather than on other social media platforms, apps, and tools.
10 Instagram algorithm tips & takeaways
If you’re new to IG, all of these features and ranking factors may seem overwhelming, but you’ll find that the new algorithm will reward high-quality, engaging content regardless of how many followers you have.
Still not sure where to start? Follow these guidelines, so that the algorithm works in your favor:
- In both IG Reels and Stories, maintain the same type of content. You want to focus on the same mood and aesthetic throughout your page.
- Cross-share IG with other social media platforms to help boost your audience.
- Do thorough research on your ideal customers to get a better understanding of what they enjoy.
- Be creative with your content (behind-the-scenes at work, inspiring quotes, memes).
- Bring life to your bio with hashtags, emojis, and link to your website. Avoid business jargon.
- Post high-quality videos and photos. You can toggle on high-quality videos in the advanced settings within your account prior to posting.
- Post frequently and maintain consistency with your content.
- Your IG feed should be cohesive with your brand’s color scheme.
- Engage with customers by replying to their comments, liking their posts, and asking questions about your brand on your IG Stories.
Run competitions and gift winners with free products and company swag. Not all giveaways have to have money involved. They could be tickets to your upcoming events, post shout-outs, or in our case, free website audits.
grow your small business with Instagram
The new Instagram algorithm has rolled out new features and creative tools, making it easier for users to find relevant content they love. For small business owners and creatives, you can use these changes to create high-quality content more efficiently and effectively to an even larger audience.
Social media can be challenging and with the ongoing changes to these algorithms, it can be tricky to stay updated. Here at Good Aura, we can help your brand grow its visibility and reputation with our holistic social media management services. Schedule a free discovery call today.
Tanner Rahl is the Lead Creative Marketing Specialist at Good Aura. Outside of helping businesses radiate excellence, he’s a fanatic when it comes to sports betting and reviewing the latest video games. Along with being the host of The 412 Podcast and owner of Rahl Reviews, he’s the proud dog parent of Kato the husky.