Have you ever taken the time to create great content on Instagram, writing an engaging post and including gorgeous visuals, and then nobody sees it? It could be that Instagram’s latest algorithm updates for 2019 have decided that your precious content wasn’t good enough for up to 90% of your own followers. In this article, we will be explaining why Instagram makes use of algorithms when displaying content, all you need to know about Instagram's algorithm changes and tips to make sure your posts appear on the top of your follower’s news feed.
Why are Social Media Algorithms Important?
Algorithms are predefined calculated processes used by computers and systems to solve problems. Big social media companies like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter make use of algorithms to enable them to predict what their users enjoy most and want to see more often. This information is usually based on how they engage with similar content within their platform and it helps boost engagement. So each time you or a page you follow publishes a piece of content, social media algorithms get to work analyzing it so it can be displayed to those who need it the most.
Therefore, the content that appears on your personal news feed or timeline and the manner in which they are ranked is being determined by these algorithms. The data being analyzed include what posts you like or share, how long you spend reading a post and what articles you clicked on previously. The results are used to assign rankings to future posts by sources you follow or would want to follow. This is done because users will most likely enjoy their social media experience more if they are only shown things that they want to see, making them more inclined to return for more.
How Does Instagram's Algorithm Work?
Knowing how Instagram’s algorithms work is the first step to beating them and creating more engaging posts. The number one thing to remember is the purpose of their algorithm which is to delight you. If the Instagram app doesn’t show you content that interests and engages you, you’ll most likely exit the app. So Instagram’s algorithm works to keep you scrolling! It does this by evaluating the engagement metrics that indicate how delightful or important a piece of content is.
This is what happens behind the scenes whenever a new post is uploaded:
A small percentage of your total audience (followers/friends) is shown your new post.
The speed and length of this test audience engagement including views, likes, comments, shares, and saves of your post are measured.
This is then compared to the recorded engagement metrics of your previous posts, on similar days and times.
If your new post is getting more than average engagement then it is shown to a larger percentage of your audience and it’ll appear higher on their timelines. A truly engaging post is more likely to be shown on the explore page which means that more people will get to see it and discover your page.
If your new post is getting less than average engagement then it is shown to a smaller percentage of your total audience and it appears farther down on their timeline. This means that fewer people will get to see your post or discover your page.
By understanding the way Instagram evaluates its engagement metrics, it is possible to hack the system and get your content ranked higher on people’s home and explorer pages. This is quite important for those who are running a business on Instagram as their content doesn’t necessarily have to be more delightful. They just have to understand how the algorithms work to get more eyes to see their content and discover their page.
Instagram's Algorithm Updates for 2019
In 2019 Instagram released a new algorithm update to improve their user experience within the app but this has sparked a lot of confusion and frustration. It is no secret that engagement is the new king and Instagram is making it harder than ever for your posts to be seen by your followers if it is not engaging enough. Currently, it is estimated that only 10% of your followers may even get to see your posts. In its recent 2019 algorithm changes, Instagram has decided to reward posts that have good engagement. This is a departure from Instagram’s old chronological arrangement that used to determine how a post appears on one’s timeline.
According to Instagram, this change was done to improve user experience, prioritizing posts that users care about the most. Therefore, the arrangement of posts is now based on the number of likes, comments, saves, shares, views, DM’s and any other type of interactions it gets. What happens is that Instagram’s algorithm gets a signal when a post receives a ton of likes and comments, this tells it that your post is quite engaging and that more people will want to see it. However, creating a steady supply of engaging content is easier said than done. This is why we have come up with the following tips to make sure your posts appear on the top of your follower’s news feed!
How to Get More Engagement on Instagram
1. Use Instagram Stories More
As at 2019, Instagram Stories boasts of over 300 million daily active users, almost double that of Snapchat. This is partly as a result of Instagram’s algorithm change and its impact on users’ engagement. More and more users now spend their time on Instagram Stories rather than on their feeds, making it a great way to connect with your followers.
2. Add a Hashtag to Your Profile
A less publicized change to Instagram’s functionality is the ability to add a functioning, clickable hashtag to your business profile. When you type a hashtag (#example) in your bio, it now appears as a clickable link on your profile. When visitors click on this hashtag they are shown posts and other profiles that have that hashtag making it an excellent way to promote your branded hashtag and get clicks.
3. Time Your Posts
Although Instagram dumped their purely chronological feeds, timing still remains an important factor. To rank your posts higher, it is important to know the best times to post on Instagram.
4. Engage Your Audience in Comments
Replying to comments doesn’t just bring you closer to your audience, it also lets Instagram’s algorithm know that your content has sparked some engagement. This will allow your content rank higher.