Day 2: The Instagram Algorithm

Most people’s immediate word association with “algorithm” is a negative one.

The Internet is continuously littered with complaints about how “the algorithm” is hiding their posts. OR the algorithm is constantly changing and impossible to keep up with. Or that Facebook (who also own Instagram) are trying to force you to pay for ads to get people to see your posts.

The truth is, the algorithm isn’t designed to hide your posts intentionally or to force ad spend at all. It also doesn’t change very often, and if it changes dramatically, it’s usually to address a problem on the app (for example, the last significant change was to combat a spam problem).


The algorithm is designed to prioritise great content above less-great content

Because great content is what keeps people on Instagram longer, the longer they stay, the more ads they’ll see, and the more money Facebook will make.

So when posts are being “hidden” (not reaching many people), it’s typically only because the content itself isn’t good enough. It’s not resonating with followers, and it’s not standing out amongst all the other content on the platform.

You must remember that content is always the most important thing on Instagram and the algorithm acts as an invisible complementary set of rules, to push that content further and ensure as many people see it as possible.

All the algorithm does is use a set of tendencies (a little more lenient than “rules”) to determine which content is “best”. It wants to know this because great content is what keeps users on the app (so they can be served ads and thus earn Instagram/Facebook revenue). Naturally, it’s going to prioritise showing the “best” content to more people first to maximise the chances of them staying on the app.

It determines what the “best” content is through engagement rates, specifically the percentage of your followers who engage with your post. Followed by, the percentage of people who viewed your post (through hashtags, shares, and so on) and engaged.


Why isn't my content showing up on the home feed?

Where your content sits in the home feed of your followers – can depend on how much they’ve interacted with you in the past. So if you have a follower who regularly engages with your content, the algorithm will know that follower likes your content. This means that the next time you post, that post will show up high in their home feed. Your aim is to have this happening with a high percentage of your followers, the more, the better.

As you can see, the algorithm heavily prioritises those who are “social” over those who are not. One of the core values of Instagram is “community first” and will reward users who engage socially by responding to comments or engaging with other content on the platform.


Engagement on Instagram takes many different forms. Engagement includes:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Direct Messages
  • Clicking your website link
  • Story views
  • Interaction with story stickers (e.g. voting on a poll, answering a question, answering a quiz)
  • Scrolling through a carousel or guide
  • View time or reading time

If a user takes any of those actions on your account, it tells the algorithm that they enjoy your content. It then becomes more likely they will see more of your content high up in their home feed in the future.


The more engagement you get in the first hour or so of posting, and the more “social” you prove to be – by responding to comments and messages – the better the algorithm will rank your post. As a result, it will be pushed higher into the feeds of your other followers AND rank better in hashtags. This means more views, more engagement, and more growth for your account.

Now for the best part - you can build up ‘favour’ in the algorithm. So if your posts consistently do well, the algorithm will trust you more and require less overall engagement to push your posts further. Over time, your posts will reach more and more people (especially using hashtags) with less effort.

However, the inverse is also true. If your posts consistently get low engagement, they’ll be shown to fewer people over time. That is why quality content that has high appeal to your target market is a non-negotiable for Instagram. You must consistently be checking in with your engagement rates and adjusting your content strategy according to what your audience is responding to the best.



In general, it is best to thoroughly understand your audience and post content that is valuable to them. If you do this, you don’t have to worry about the algorithm. However, there are a few little tricks you can use to get a boost in the algorithm:


1. Try to post at times when your audience is most active

You can find this in your account analytics by going to your profile, tapping the menu icon in the top right corner, and going to “insights”. Your audience section will give you a breakdown of what times your followers are active.


2. Engage for at least 15 minutes before and after you post

You want the algorithm to know you’re participating in the Instagram community, so it’s usually best to engage around the time you post. Stay active and respond to any comments that come in straight away.


3. Get Interactive on stories.

If your stories get low views, start including interactive stickers like the poll, slider, and quiz. All you require is that your audience taps the screen. This builds up ‘engagement’ in the algorithm, so over time, your stories will then be shown to more people.


4. Take advantage of any new features – immediately.

Instagram will occasionally release new features, like new story stickers or post types. Use these as much as you can when they are first released because Instagram HQ has confirmed the algorithm will prioritise posts that use new features in the algorithm as a way to promote them.


Overall, remember that good content is what matters most in the Instagram algorithm. You don’t need to “beat” the algorithm, or find a way to trick it, work along with it by posting quality content and staying active on the platform.

This is only Day 2 of 7 Days of Instagram Education!

You won't want to miss out on all the juicy Insta-tips, concepts, ideas and those great marketing tips we are known for!

So, what are you waiting for – add to your subscriber list to master Instagram! We will see you again tomorrow to educate you on Competitors & Aligned Accounts (keep an eye on your inboxes!).

Day 1


How you can use Instagram, where it can fit into your overall sales and marketing strategies, and how to set your IG goals.

Day 2


Exactly HOW the algorithm works and how to use it to your advantage.

Day 3


How to find your target market on Instagram and conduct competitor research to help inform your own IG strategy.

Day 4


How to use hashtags to reach more of your target market easily (and the killer mistakes everyone makes that you must avoid!).

Day 5


EVERYTHING you need to know to create on-brand, highly relevant posts that your audience will love.

Day 6


Developing your story strategy to deepen your audience relationship and increase brand loyalty.

Day 7


Find out the BEST strategies for growing your Instagram community, and reach your Instagram goals.

Day 8


We give you an exciting exclusive offer, only our Instagram education subscribers can get! It is not available anywhere else!