The Instagram Algorithm In 2020: Part 1

Updated: Jun 24, 2020


It’s time to fact-check what you’ve heard about the Instagram algorithm and engagement.

Do videos get less engagement? Do hashtags work? Why are my impressions so low? How can my posts get seen more?

It’s about time we debunked those Instagram myths and answered those questions, once and for all! We’re listing the facts about Instagram’s algorithm and tips for using the algorithm to your advantage.

Let’s break down the following:

  • Facts about the Instagram algorithm

  • Using the Instagram algorithm to your advantage

Facts About The Instagram Algorithm

The facts below have been confirmed by Instagram, most through a Live Q&A they hosted.

1. Photos and Videos Are Treated Equally

Engage with the content you want to see more of. Instagram learns what you engage with and shows you more of that content or from that account. If you engage more with photos than videos, you’ll most likely see more photos than videos on your feed.

Social Light Tip: Videos appear on the Explore page more often and larger than photos. Experiment with posting videos to see how that affects your engagement. Videos also attract a longer attention time than photos.

2. Fake Engagement, Followers, And Engagement Pods Don’t Count

Instagram can now tell (more often than not) where interaction comes from and if it’s authentic. If these methods are used and identified, Instagram won’t necessarily use them against you, they just won’t count them towards your overall engagement and ranking in someone's feed or for the Explore page. However, we do not recommend most of these methods, as they could get action-blocked and cause you to not be able to engage or post for a while.

3. Comment Length Doesn’t Matter

Rumor has it that a comment has to be 3 words or more to count as engagement.

False. All comments are considered engagement - even if it’s just an emoji!

Social Light Tip: respond to people who comment on your posts! It’ll up your engagement and people may be more inclined to comment if they know you’re listening and are willing to start a conversation.

4. Personal, Business and Creator Accounts Are Treated The Same

Another speculation about the Instagram algorithm: changing your account to a different type affects your engagement.