A Complete Guide on Working of Instagram Algorithm

We always wondered how Instagram Algorithm actually works. As intriguing this might be, it also needs to be considered that there are lot of myths about the same as well. The primary reason we or anyone for the matter of fact wants to know about Instagram Algorithm is primarily to know:

  • How they can scale content on the platform
  • get more followers
  • How to tap more relevant audience on the platform
  • How to appear more frequently in front of your users

These are just a few questions or points which every marketer thinks whenever it comes to Instagram and understanding its algorithm is the first step in doing so. Today we are going to break down everything that affects the Instagram algorithm.

How Instagram Algorithm Works?

How Instagram Algorithm Works

A feed is something that a user sees as soon as they open the app. The algorithm’s main objective is to personalize feeds for each and every user. Instagram’s algorithm actually tries to gauge what users might want to see and displays that first on their screen.  

This is based on three factors:


Uses your historical usage patterns to predict what interests you the most. If you’ve been constantly engaging with a certain kind of content, it’ll try to show that content more on top of a user’s feed.


 It’s no surprise anymore that Instagram prefers to show more recent content. It values recent posts more than older ones. It becomes imperative for anyone to understand their audience here and if you’re business, use Instagram analytics to find when your audience is most active.
instagram-algorithm - recency


This is one of the most integral factors amongst all. This tells the algorithm how a user interacts with a brand, how much and how often they like their content? How much engagement is being driven in terms of likes, comments and tags.buying_process- Relationship


All the factors mentioned above are primary factors of the algorithm. Other factors such as frequency also play an integral part in overall algorithm. Frequency in laymen terms is simply how frequently does a user open the app? How long they stay on the app?

This is integral because every time user open the app, Instagram will show new content to them each time. This means a user is exposed to never seen before content every time they click on that icon and load the app on their screen.

Instagram interest

Now since we’ve given you insights on how Instagram Algorithm works, it’s now time to debunk few myths around it. Below are popular beliefs which are nothing but myths:

  • Your posts and Instagram live frequency affect how your posts are showing in the algorithm
  • There are preferences of users between images and videos but overall, the platform does not have any favorability
  • Your posts are never hidden; they eventually appear on user feed.
  • A business account and personal account sit at the same level. There are no gaps when it comes to audience and their reach.
  • You can post as much as you want and you will never be downranked.

These are popular myths which you should not be falling for. Let’s see how we can improve overall engagement on your brand.

Tips to Improve Engagement on Your brand

Tap The Engagement Trigger

Being an image-centric social media platform, it’s no surprise that everything in Instagram works around engagement. Even before you post something, Instagram has already reserved some metrics for your account is constantly evaluating your profile on the same.

It has an internal quality score which is made up of a few factors such as: Are your followers engaging with you consistently? Are you posting content consistently? Do you have a good engaging rate with your own audience?

Engagement on Your brand

It’s advisable to ensure consistency in everything mentioned above in order to stay ahead in the game. Once you take a post online, Instagram deduces what are called Instagram Triggers.

These are set by your own audience, their engagement rate with your recent post, with your brand. Whether or not they are consistently sharing your content. All of these are triggers for Instagram to identify an engaging post and further push the same in the algorithm.

Post High-Quality Content

Poor Images, No caption, less use of hashtags are some popular reasons why brands fail to drive engagement on their posts. To overcome this, it’s important to post high-quality content with appropriate captions and hashtags.

Instagram hahstags

Hashtags increase your overall reach as they let user find you when you’re using relevant hashtags for the business. For captions, use long-form text or ask a question whichever drives more engagement to your posts. And if you have verified Instagram account it’s going to be very helpful 

Use Relevant Hashtags

As mentioned before, Hashtags amplify your content and helps user to discover your content who are not connected to you directly. As much good as Hashtags bring, they can also play devil’s role if you misuse it.

Instagram hahstags in captionm

It’s important to have synergy between your captions and hashtags to drive most engaging audience.

Use Audience Insights

Instagram offers interesting insights on your audiences which tells you when your audiences are online and when they consume or interact with your audience the most.

instagram insightsIt’s necessary to have well-timed posts on your brand page so that more people can engage with your post and it can also get a push in the algorithm.

Encourage People to Turn on Notifications

Instagram Turn on Notifications

When done the right way, (i.e., reminding people casually), this is one way to impress the algorithm with your brand’s importance to your community. People who have notifications turned on will not only be more likely to engage with your posts, they’ll also see more content from you overall.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work on IGTV?

While IGTV is still relatively new, we’re still learning how the algorithm works, but we can expect it to be based on the same criteria as posts.

Instagram creates videos for you based on your interests and who you follow, and you can also watch trending videos on the “popular” Instagram channel! And just like you can with Instagram Stories, you can also share IGTV videos to your friends through Instagram Direct.

Right now, there’re 3 IGTV categories: For You, Following, and Popular.


  • For You: Instagram algorithm shows a collection of videos that it thinks is more relevant and interesting for you. It’s also made up of brands/accounts/people you follow and some machine learning
  • Following: These are those channels which you follow because of various reasons. The collection of all people/brands you follow and their videos are in this category of Instagram. Interestingly, if someone follows you on IGTV, they’ll be in your regular account followers list too.
  • Popular: Contains all the trending videos on IGTV. Usually, they are ranked by popularity.


As ever-changing and dynamic Instagram’s algorithm is, it’s really not rocket science to work on. Some basic and consistent strategies can help you hack its understanding easily.

Once done, it should help you and your brand to drive more engagement out of your posts and eventually more business.

What is the best time to post on Instagram?

After various studies, the following are the best time to post on Instagram: The best day to post on Instagram is Thursday, at 3 PM, 5 AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM. Wednesday and Friday for Sprout Social - Wednesday at 11 AM and Friday at 10–11 AM Thursday is the best day for Hubspot- between 2 PM and 3 PM

How to increase followers in Instagram quickly?

Tips to increase Instagram followers quickly are as follow: 1. Use relevant hashtags that converts. 2. Do not buy fake Instagram followers. 3. Always look at the best time to post on Instagram. 4. Schedule your Instagram posts in advance. 5. Post content according to the follower's choice. 6. Optimize Instagram account. 7. Do not forget to use the content calendar.

What is the golden hour on Instagram?

Golden hour on Instagram means, to take a perfect selfie on the best time that is first and last hours of sunlight in the day. This is basically a magic time where everyone looks like a model if they take a selfie or snap.

What should you not do on Instagram?

1. Don't post your content without caption. 2. Don't use a clumsy username. 3. Don't hide your profile. 4. Never ignore the comments of your followers. 5. Do not copy the content of your competitors. 7. Prohibit overuse of Hashtags. 8. Don't post too many selfies. 9. No need to share your content every time on Facebook. 10. Be aware of fake followers.

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