How the Feed Algorithm of Instagram Actually Works

  • Date: 08 June 2018
  • reading time: 7 Minutes
  • Blogger: Gurby Bulo


Until today Instagram has never explained exactly what their algorithm chooses what photos and videos show up in your feed.
Earlier this year, Instagram announced that they would update the Instagram algorithm to make it more chronological. The Facebook-owned company is a group of reporters at their new office, in San Francisco, to explain the new Instagram feed ranking algorithm.

Your Instagram feed is personalized and literally like

Your Instagram feed is based on who you follow, who and what you like.
Instagram relies on machine learning, based on your behavior to create a unique feed for everyone. You can follow the exact same accounts as someone else, but still you will get a personalized feed based on how you interact with those accounts.

So what exactly does this mean if we keep it stupid simple?
In the top of my personal account feed, I always see famous soccer players. I'm a huge soccer fan and like those posts and posts about it. Now Instagram's algorithm is so smart that it knows that I'm a huge fan and I really love it. While I have friends who also follow these soccer players, they are not all addicted like I'm. So if they are not with the famous soccer players content, their posts will not show up so high in their feeds. Instagram's main goal (like Facebook's "meaningful social interactions") is to help you see content from your "family & friends".
With the new algorithm Instagram says that people now see 90% or posts from their "family & friends", instead of 50% when the feed was chronological. Now the key question is: Based on what criteria are you in your "family & friends"?

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Instagram's feed ranking criteria

As the Instagram algorithm tries to predict what you see in your Instagram feed:

  1. Interest : The more Instagram think you 'll like that post, the higher it will appear in your feed, the current content of the post. So I like one video or Leo Messi , my entire adventure page is full of Leo Messi videos. If someone in my feed posts a video or Leo Messi, Instagram guesses that I probably like that, too;

  2. Timeliness : How recently did you share and post the new Instagram algorithm will also prioritize recent posts, so you will see posts from a week ago. If so, Instagram will show that they are listening to their audience and not showing content with a lot of engagement but is already serveral weeks old.
  3. Relationship : How well you know the person who shared the post. By commenting on people's posts or being tagged together in photos with them will give Instagram the signal to rank these people in your "family & friends" category.


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    Beyond those core factors there are three additional signals that influence Instagram algorithm ranking:

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Instagram algorithm conspiracy theories

Instagram also has a lot of common questions and conspiracy theories about how its algorithm feed works. Here's what they said:

Now that you know how new Instagram algorithm works it's time to work on:

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  • Blogger: Gurby Bulo
  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • Social Media Strategy Expert at Social Media Gids
  • Internet entrepreneur Gurby Bulo is the founder of Social Media Gids and host of @SMG Hangout. With his virtual team, they follow the latest social media developments because they like it ;-) and to provide you with the latest trends and right handles in this fast-paced, changing social media market.
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