Everything you need to know about the 2018 Instagram algorithm in order to have a successful social media strategy.
Everything? Well…. almost!
I know we all hate the algorithm by now and rightfully so!
And I know…. I told you to stop focusing on the algorithm start focusing on creating good content that makes people sharing and coming back to your account for more.
With this said, I do believe it’s important for you to understand what’s going to work around it.
Free download: The introductory Instagram Guide
First of all, the algorithm is NOT something Instagram speaks about openly. In a rightful effort to prevent it from being hacked. What I am sharing is a collection of: observations I made, lessons I learned from others, and a whole lot of online reading.
Before we start keep in mind: the algorithm effects both WHAT you see and HOW your content is seen. And it may very well change unexpectantly very very soon.
Here’s what you need to know.
The 2018 Instagram Algorithm rewards posts with High Engagement
But here’s the 2018 definition of the word „engagement. It includes the number of likes, comments, video views, saves, direct shares on Instagram, direct shares on Messenger, direct shares on WhatsApp, DM’s, replies, poll participation, taps on hyperlinks or tags, and any other type of interactions.
However, not all interactions are equal! Rumor has it comments and shares count more than likes.
Pro tip to beat the algorithm: Develop a solid hashtag strategy, include calls to action, ask for people to share the post with friends, request DMs or include polls in your stories.
The Instagram Algorithm calculates how much people spend on a post
Think of time spend on a post as the equivalent of a website bounce rate. OK, I may have just made things sound even more complicated than they are.
Let me simplify: the algorithm takes into account how much time the audience spends on the post, maybe reading through the caption, and whether they click the more button.
Putting though into your captions not only makes people fall in love with you as a person, but also makes instagram fall in love with you as a user.
Pro tip to beat the algorithm: Write compelling captions for your posts and leave the two-word captions to amateurs.
Accounts that use all Instagram functionalities are prioritized
This means the more time you spend on the platform and the more you use multiple functionalities, the higher your posts will appear on the ranking.
Functionalities include: Instagram Live, DMs, likes and comments you offer, Stories and all related functionalities (text, GIFs, geotags, tags), and of course posting in your feed.
Another component that matters is to post photos, videos and carousels in your feed.
I know, not all people are early adopters, and some functionalities like Instagram Live sound dounting. But I strongly recommend you push through and experiment with all features as soon as possible, in a way that is true to you.
For example: are you a photographer that doesn’t feel at ease speaking in front of the camera? Try a making-of instagram live to share how a photoshoot is delivered. Or: are you a beauty Instagrammer? Try a get-ready-with-me Instagram Live. Make sure you announce them in advance so people know when to tune in.
Pro tip to beat the algorithm: curating high-quality content for your feed is hard, so you can compensate for sharing many stories.
Accounts you regularly interact with will appear higher in the feed
In an effort to show people the content they are directly interested in and keep them connected with close friends and family, Instagram will keep track of your interactions.
If you engage with an account regularly: like, comment, search for it, visit the profile, share its content, or DM it, Instagram will show the posts shared bu that account higher in your feed.
Consider how this applies to you as a content creator: the more your audience interacts with you, the higher you will appear in peoples’ feeds the next time you post.
Pro tip to beat the algorithm: Take your time, it’s not a marathon, and allow the relationships you create with your audience to grow over time. Know that it will take time for them to interact with you sufficiently in order for you to pop in the top of the newsfeed.
The timing of posts will still prioritized
Instagram moved slightly away from the chronological newsfeed, however, the platform will want to show you timeline posts. Meaning, the most recent posts will be shown higher in your newsfeed.
Pro tip to beat the algorithm: Find out when your audience is most active and post around those times. Remember, each Instagrammers’ audience profile is unique, so timings that work for somebody else may not necessarily work for you. Reseach YOUR best time to post.
Instagram rewards you for interacting with your followers
It’s believed it’s not only received engagement is relevant, but also offered engagement. Specifically, the algorithm will keep track whether you reply to the comments received.
Not only is it common manners to reply to the comments received and treat them as a conversation, but now it’s also a must with the 2018 Instagram algorithm.
Read more: A few tips to beat the algorithm
In full disclosure, I have unfollowed people who did not reply to my comments, and I’m sure I am not the only one out there. How would you feel if you went out to a party, complimented someone for a dress and received silence and in return? Well, not replying to comments is the equivalent of that, and your audience may not want to interract with you any longer if they feel you don’t value their attention.
Pro tip to beat the algorithm: Reply to all of your received comments, and make your reply real time in the first hour after posting your content.
Now, please tell me: do you have any other tips and tricks that worked for you to make your content go viral on Instagram? Please share in a comment bellow.
I hope this article helps your content be seen by the people who need it most.
And remember: sharing is caring. If you have a friend who wants to get on top of the Instagram game, please share this article with them.