Instagram Reveals How Its Algorithm Works
Jun 11, 2018
Jun 11, 2018
In July 2016, Instagram rolled out a new algorithm-driven feed, replacing the popular reverse chronological feed to the surprise and dismay of many users. Although most users have now adapted and gotten used to this new format, the explanation behind how this algorithm actually works has only just been revealed.
So it’s been almost two years since Instagram implemented the switch from a reverse chronological order for its Feed to a newer machine-learning algorithmic software. But what exactly has changed and how did it alter people’s experience on the social media platform?
Well, in order to clarify the clouds of uncertainty surrounding the manner in which Instagram prioritises which posts get seen by users, the Facebook-owned platform organised an information session in San Francisco, California. This managed to clear up some of the confusion amongst Instagram’s loyal users by offering an insight into how the algorithmically driven feed works.
Rather than seeing the newest posts in a reverse-chronological timeline, Instagram now displays content and posts that it thinks you want to see, based on your previous behaviour i.e. likes, comments etc. So, for instance, if you have a history of liking or commenting on football related posts, this type of content will be more likely to appear on the Feed the next time you log into Instagram.
The way Instagram is displaying content nowadays may not be news to you, however revealing insights on how this algorithm works is new. It’s been revealed that there are three main factors which will determine what Instagram users get to see on their Feeds:
Julian Gutman, the product lead for the Instagram Feed, also dispelled the notion that Instagram’s algorithmic Feed generally favours videos over photos. However, it may prioritise videos for your feed should your online behaviour indicate that you prefer watching videos and spend more time watching videos than looking at images and vice versa.
Besides these three main elements, there are three more additional supporting factors that can influence the ranking of the way you see certain posts:
According to experts, the reasoning behind these algorithmic calculations is that it is in Instagram’s best interest to show engaging and relevant content to its users, as it will encourage them to spend more time on the platform, meaning they will be exposed to more ads, thus increasing Instagram’s revenue. This also plays to the companies’ advantage who are advertising their products or services on the platform.
The following statistics that were revealed back up these claims:
Despite all this, some traditional Instagram users remain unhappy. They demand to at least have the option of reverting back to the previous reverse chronological Feed. However, Instagram has made it clear that it has no such plans in mind. Considering the statistics they have revealed, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
What do you make of all of this? Do you like this algorithmically driven feed or do you miss the old school chronological Feed that Instagram used to offer? One thing is for sure, in general, sharing on Instagram is on the increase and people are spending more time on it than ever before. That means Instagram should be an indispensable part of your social media strategy. Want to hear about this from our team of experts? Sign up for our free trial and reap the rewards!