Whether you meticulously study the Instagram algorithm until your eyes bleed or not, you’ve probably noticed quite a few changes - some obvious, like Instagram Reels and where you go on your account to post - but what about the changes you can’t see? We’re dissecting the changes to the Instagram algorithm for 2021 so you don’t have to!
Welcome to Part 2, the last in our blog series, The Instagram Algorithm In 2021! If you haven’t read Part 1, we recommend giving it a read first.
In Part 1, we spoke about the Instagram algorithm in regards to Feed posts. Part 2 is focusing on
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The following information is useful for all users: infrequent app users, frequent app users, average accounts, influencers, and brands/businesses.
If you’re wondering why you’re seeing certain accounts at the top of your stories feed and not others, it’s because those are the accounts you engage with the most. And that includes any type of engagement!
When it comes to the Timeliness factor in Stories, the algorithm is similar to the Instagram Feed, to show you the latest and greatest from your favorite accounts - you’re now not just a follower, you’re a fan! Which is Instagram’s goal: to determine who’s an actual fan of certain accounts.
Instagram Stories, in my opinion, is one of Instagram’s most intelligent features. It can be used by any type of account in any capacity:
If you’re a creator, you can get very creative with content even in your Stories.
You can do an entire series of...anything! Whether you’re a product-based company, a service-based company, an influencer, or simply establishing a brand presence, Stories are geared to all.
You can post as much as you want, however you want. Personally, I prefer to post creative photos on my stories, and don’t often do video. So if you don’t love being in front of the camera, the Stories algorithm doesn't mind!
You can highlight your stories (but you should be strategic in what you highlight or else things can get lost), and reference people to them without overwhelming your feed with promos, graphics, or whatever you’re chatting about.
However, when posting on Instagram stories, it IS important to post consistently. It really doesn't take much (unless you’re getting SUPER creative) and it will help your ranking. Make sure you’re posting content that is relevant to your brand. Your followers/viewers are watching your stories for a reason, therefore consistency with the type of content you post is important as well.
Stories are also a great place to repurpose content. Say you did a really awesome photoshoot and you’ve picked the photos you want for your Feed, but you want to utilize others within the same look. Just use an app (or Canva...we LOVE Canva) to help you create a killer Instagram Story and upload as a teaser or a way to signify you have a new post!
THE EXPLORE PAGE
When you land on the Explore page, you’re probably a little curious about how almost everything that populates for you is something you might be interested in…
It works similarly to your Instagram Feed. Your Feed shows you content Instagram thinks you might be interested in, from accounts you’re following.
The Explore page shows you content Instagram thinks you might be interested in, mostly from accounts you’re not following. If you follow accounts that post Reels, you’ll notice a few of those in there as well.
You’ll probably notice some tweaks here and there to the Explore page. In 2020, Instagram introduced the ability for you to search the Explore page for posts with certain hashtags and keywords. Given this, it’s safe to assume that the Explore page uses the same data as the Feed algorithm, just for accounts and content you’re not following.
If you’ve been actively using your Instagram for a while, you probably know it used to be much more difficult to have your content appear on the Explore. However, it’s getting easier! Instagram wants to show your content to new people (no matter how much it seems like that’s not true).
So if you’re looking to grow in any capacity on the ‘gram, make sure your captions are on point and content is fresh, and don’t forget about finding hashtags that work for and are relevant to your brand. And don’t forget about Instagram Reels! I know so many of us, even content creators, prefer photo over video but Reels are a fantastic tool for growth.
And that brings us to…
INSTAGRAM REELS & IGTV
Similar to the Instagram Feed algorithm and the TikTok algorithm, Reels & IGTV show you content from accounts you’re a fan of. Are you interacting with a baking account on Instagram? You’ll probably notice their videos come up more and more in your feed.
When posting videos (Reels and/or IGTVs), we recommend sharing them to your Feed. IGTV allows a 1 minute preview on your Feed, and Reels gives you a minute (maximum, and time varies per user) total that you can choose to share to your Feed.
If you’re not posting to your Feed, sure they may show up for accounts who aren’t following you, but you want to continue to capture the attention of those who do follow you...your fans! Make sure you’re using hashtags on everything you post as well - even Reels! All of these tactics will help boost your discoverability.
This is a LOT of information to take in, we know. Comment and let us know if this was helpful for you and let us know what you’d like to read about next!
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