Instagram’s Algorithm — Hacked!

Just when we had a small shrivel of hope that Instagram would revert back to the old-style chronological feeds we all took for granted, our dreams were crushed. “There’s just too much content now!” Instagram executives cried aloud. But, on the bright side, they did let us in on the secret recipe for the all-knowing Algorithm. Attempting to quell our frustrations, IG gave us a little taste of the factors that decide when a post shows up on our audience’s feeds.

The six main ingredients of the insta-algorithmic-cake are:

  • Interest
  • Recency
  • Relationship
  • Frequency
  • Following
  • Usage

Of these six, the first three make up most of the batter. And thankfully, ARTRPRNR has some tasty ideas on how you can get the most flavor out of those components.

Bringing the Spice out of Interest

The best bakers in the land already know it’s customer’s favorite pastries when it whips up goodies for the day. Instagram, with this new algorithm, also has a clear idea of what it’s users like, based on what they’ve interacted with in the past.

On Instagram, interests are measured in ‘likes,’ comments under posts, what stories a user views, and that user’s own content. These measurements are also known as ‘engagements’ in the influencer world. Using this data, people who tend to engage with pictures of cookies, for instance, will have tons of ooey-gooey chocolatey-chips to scroll through when they open the app.

The best way we, as content creators, can take advantage of this is by taking a look posts that have been successful in the past, and attempting to make upcoming posts similar to those. Do your followers engage the most with pictures of cute puppies? Great, maybe you should stop posting those (almost as cute) baby sea turtle pics.

The Flaky Crust of Timing

The best time to post is between 2pm and 5pm, and for some reason more people are at the insta-bakery on Wednesdays than any other day at that time. Instagram factors in the recency of posts as it loads up user’s feeds, so by posting during these times you’ll be sure to get maximum engagement. Just remember to post constantly. Only opening up the bakery on Wednesday afternoons isn’t really a very effective way to drive sales, nor is a marathon of content and then a period of nothing. Think about it this way: when you open your feed, you want to see what’s going on right then, and catch up on what you’ve missed since the last time you checked in. Keeping your posts timed to when everyone is scrolling is the only way you can manipulate this factor. And to stay relevant, you gotta be what’s going on!

Busy schedule? Don’t worry. You don’t have to walk away from the huge line that just walked in as you pulled those red velvet cupcakes out of the oven. Software like Schedugram and TakeOff let you create content, and then post it for you at whatever time you choose.

A Sugary-Sweet Relationship

And I bet you didn’t know, Instagram keeps track of how many times each individual account interacts with yours. The more posts of yours they like, the most posts they see. People who comment on your posts, for better or for worse, will see your content before other pages they follow. And story views produce the same results. Your regulars will show up for their daily cannoli before the skinny accountant who only eats vegan gluten-free banana crackers shows up for his monthly sugar-fix. So now it’s more important than ever to build an ‘engaging’ relationship with your followers.

But don’t forget, there’s more than one way to slice the cake!

Engagements can come in many forms, from the traditional “likes” and “comments” to answering a question on your Story, or watching your live videos. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, as the old baker’s proverb says!