Instagram Algorithm Revealed!

The social media world has been eerily quiet this week, BUT, there has been one major announcement….

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, took to his own profile to finally reveal more about the Instagram algorithm; how it works and most importantly, how it ranks content. And the first point to note, is that each element of Instagram, i.e. reels, stories, grid posts etc are all ranked differently from one another – so let’s break it down.

Grid posts

We all want a personalised feed, so the focus here is seeing posts from friends, family and people/brands you engage with. The content you actually see is based on signals that feed into this algorithm, including –

1. Your activity – content you’ve liked, shared, saved etc.
2. Information about the post – the more likes the post shares, the more often it will be shown to more people. Apparently, the location of where the photo is (if shared) can also play into the algorithm.
3. Information about the person who posted – content will be pushed higher if the person who posted is someone who you’re actually interested in and engage with often.
4. Your history – if you’ve engaged with the profile and do consistently, that will push the content higher.

Time spent looking, commenting, liking, sharing, or tapping into a profile from a post on your feed. The more likely you are to actually engage and interact with a photo, the higher it will show up on your feed.


Like grid posts, Instagram uses a variety of signals to indicate whether you see a certain story.

1. Viewing history – if you have previously spent time looking at the profile’s story before, then you are more likely to see newer content.

2. Engagement history – if you have previously liked a story, or responding with a DM to a story, then again this will push new content from the same people/brands to the top of your stories.

3. Closeness – if Instagram recognises that the profile is a friend or family, then it will presume you want to see that content more regularly.


The majority of videos you are going to see on Reels are going to be from accounts you don’t follow, but again signals are used to determine the ones you do see.

The same signals as those for grid posts are used here –

1. Your activity

2. Information about the reel

3. Information about the person who posted

4. Your history

Taking all of this into consideration, the top tips that came out of the video were –

  • Add friends and brands you follow to your favourites list. This lets Instagram know that you want to see their content more often and their posts will appear higher in your feed.
  • Snooze recommendations if you’re tired of seeing them or have no interest in seeing content on your feed from people you don’t follow.
  • Mute people you’re not interested in! Even better yet, unfollow them.
  • You might not want to, but respond to the questionnaires that pop up on Instagram. It wants to know what you like so let them know!
  • Start using the “not interested” button when it comes to content that is served to you through ads or suggestions. This helps Instagram know what you’re actually wanting to see.

Some of this may seem blatantly obvious – and it is – but from a business perspective, take these tips on board and consider WHY your audience would want to engage with you and the content you share.

Have fun putting this into practice and seeing how it performs for your business.

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