There’s nothing more infuriating than investing a ton of time into creating content to share on the ‘gram, only to have it tank. Trust me, I know. You spend hours perfecting the latest dance trend and it only gets a couple of hundred views and a few measly likes. It’s gutting. But it’s all down to the Instagram algorithm; just as the Google algorithm is god when it comes to where you appear on SERPs, the ‘gram has an algorithm that decides how many and which people see your content.. 

In 2024, the Instagram algorithm continues to be a crucial factor in determining how content is seen and engaged with by users. To make sure your content is seen, it’s important to understand how the algorithm works and what strategies can be employed to boost the visibility of your content. 

Understanding the Algorithm

In 2024, the Instagram algorithm continues to evolve, placing significant emphasis on user engagement to determine how content is seen and interacted with. This algorithm plays a critical role in shaping the experience on the platform, affecting everything from the regular feed to Reels, Stories, and the Explore page. Here’s a comprehensive look at how it works:

Engagement as a Key Factor

The Instagram algorithm in 2024 prioritises user engagement, which includes various interactions such as comments, likes, saves, and profile visits. This focus on engagement means that posts generating more interaction are more likely to be visible and higher up in users’ feeds. The algorithm assesses these interactions as signals of content relevance and quality, making them crucial for content creators who want their posts to be seen by a wider audience.

Special Focus on Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels, the platform’s response to the short-form video trend, has its own set of algorithmic rules. The algorithm favours Reels that are entertaining, inspiring, or experimental in nature. It also has preferences regarding the technical quality and originality of these videos. For example, Reels without borders, watermarks, or those that are not in low resolution are more likely to be promoted by the algorithm. This reflects Instagram’s focus on providing high-quality and engaging content to its users.

The Role of Stories

Instagram Stories, known for their ephemeral nature, are influenced by a user’s interaction history with an account. This means that the Stories from accounts with which a user frequently interacts are more likely to show up prominently. This aspect of the algorithm underlines the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with followers to ensure consistent visibility of your content.

Explore Page Algorithm

The Explore page algorithm is another critical component that is designed to help users discover new content based on their interests. It primarily focuses on user interactions such as likes, saves, and shares. The content on the Explore page is mostly from accounts that users don’t follow, offering a mix of posts predicted to be of interest to the user, based on their past interactions on the platform.

In summary, the Instagram algorithm in 2024 continues to prioritise user engagement across all its features – regular posts, Reels, Stories, and the Explore page. For content creators and brands, understanding and adapting to these algorithmic preferences is key to enhancing visibility and engagement on the platform.

Feed and Stories Ranking

In 2024, Instagram’s approach to content ranking in the Feed and Stories is a sophisticated combination of multiple algorithms, each intricately designed to enhance user experience. This system isn’t just one algorithm, but a series of processes and algorithms working in tandem to cater to different aspects of user interaction.

How Feeds Work

For the Feed, the algorithm’s primary objective is to display the most relevant and engaging content since the user’s last visit. It considers several factors to determine this, including the likelihood of a user interacting with a post through comments, likes, or shares, the probability of them visiting the poster’s profile, and the duration they might spend on the post. These decisions are influenced by a mix of signals such as the user’s interaction history, the post’s popularity, and information about the post’s author.

Instagram provides users with a degree of control over their Feed. This is achieved through features that allow users to mark certain accounts as favourites, which influences the algorithm to prioritise these accounts’ posts. 

Stories Ranking in 2024

When it comes to Instagram Stories, the algorithm prioritises content from accounts with which the user frequently interacts. The key signals that affect the order of Stories include how often the user views Stories from an account, the frequency of interaction with these Stories, and the closeness to the author, gauged by factors like direct messaging history. Instagram’s goal is to place the Stories from people the user cares about most at the forefront.

Additional Considerations

Instagram also considers factors like image or video quality, originality (avoiding already shared content), absence of watermarks, and adherence to community guidelines. Content violating these guidelines or labelled as misinformation is less prominently displayed.

Algorithm Changes and Tips

Recent changes in the algorithm have brought a more balanced focus between photos and videos, ensuring that both types of content have equal opportunities for visibility. Instagram is also emphasising content that sparks conversations and values original content over reposted material. To work effectively with the Instagram algorithm, it’s essential to respect the community guidelines, focus on creating engaging and original content, and post consistently when your audience is most active.

Reels Algorithm

Reels continue to be a central focus for the platform, with the algorithm tailored to enhance user engagement and content discoverability. Here’s an overview of how the Instagram Reels algorithm works and strategies for leveraging it effectively.

Key Factors Influencing Reels Visibility

User Interactions: The algorithm gives priority to Reels based on the likelihood of user interaction. This includes considering the Reels that a user has previously engaged with, such as those they’ve liked, saved, reshared, or commented on.

Content Quality: Instagram emphasises the need for high-quality, original Reels. Videos that are low-resolution, blurry, contain watermarks, or are visibly recycled from other apps are less likely to be promoted.

Entertainment Value: The Reels algorithm favours videos that are entertaining, fun, and likely to capture the audience’s attention. This could include content that is humorous, surprising, or contains a unique twist.

Creator Engagement: The algorithm also looks at the interaction history with the content creator. If a user frequently engages with a particular creator’s content, their Reels are more likely to appear in that user’s feed.

Strategies for Maximising Reach

Content Originality and Quality: Focus on creating Reels that are original, high-resolution, and free from recycled material. Utilise Instagram’s creative tools like text, filters, and camera effects to enhance your content.

Engagement-Driven Content: Develop Reels that encourage user engagement. This can include content that is relatable, starts trends, or inspires users to participate in challenges.

Optimal Posting Times: To maximise engagement, post your Reels when your audience is most active. This requires understanding your audience’s behaviour and preferences, which can be analysed through Instagram’s insights tools.

Diverse Content Creation: Experiment with various types of content within Reels. For example, blend educational content with entertainment, or mix in behind-the-scenes footage with more polished videos.

Additional Insights

Content Moderation: Instagram’s algorithms are designed to prioritise user safety and community standards. Content that violates Instagram’s guidelines, promotes regulated products like tobacco, or is politically sensitive may have reduced visibility.

Algorithm Evolution: The Reels algorithm, much like other parts of the Instagram platform, is continuously evolving. It’s essential to stay updated with the latest trends and platform changes to ensure your content strategy remains effective.

By understanding these key aspects of the Instagram Reels algorithm and implementing strategic content creation, brands and creators can significantly enhance their visibility and engagement on the platform in 2024.

Explore Page

In 2024, Instagram’s Explore Page continues to be a dynamic feature that helps users discover new content. This discovery is highly influenced by a user’s past interactions on the platform, with a focus on showing content from accounts the user doesn’t follow yet. Here’s an insight into how the Explore Page algorithm works and some strategies for increasing visibility on this page.

Key Factors of the Explore Page Algorithm

User Activity: The Explore Page algorithm takes into account a user’s past interactions, such as likes, saves, and shares. This helps in curating content that aligns with the user’s interests.

Post Popularity: The popularity of a post, indicated by rapid user interaction (likes, comments, shares), plays a significant role in its visibility on the Explore Page.

Interaction History with the Poster: If a user has previously interacted with an account, this can increase the chances of that account’s content appearing on their Explore Page.

Poster’s Engagement: The algorithm considers the overall engagement an account has received recently, suggesting that accounts with high recent interaction are more likely to appear on the Explore Page.

Strategies for Gaining Visibility

Analyse Your Own Explore Page: Understanding what types of posts, hashtags, and visual styles are prominent on your Explore Page can provide valuable insights for your content strategy.

Focus on Engaging Content: Videos often have an advantage as they autoplay in the Explore tab. However, all types of content, including static posts and carousels, can be effective if they are high-quality and engaging.

Experiment with Different Formats: Keeping up with Instagram’s evolving preferences, such as the focus on Reels, can help in gaining increased reach.

Post Timing: Posting when your audience is most active can significantly increase engagement, making your content more likely to appear on the Explore Page.

Use Relevant Tags: Strategic use of hashtags, geotags, and account tags can extend the reach of your content within the Explore ecosystem.

Community Engagement: Actively engaging with your audience and building a community can increase your chances of being recommended to similar users on the Explore Page.

Leverage Analytics: Regularly checking your analytics to understand what resonates with your audience can guide your content strategy towards more Explore Page features.

Paid Placement: While organic strategies are key, consider supplementing them with paid ads in the Explore feed for broader reach.

The Explore Page algorithm is constantly evolving, so staying updated with Instagram’s latest trends and changes is crucial for effectively leveraging this feature. By creating content that aligns with these insights and continuously engaging with your audience, you can increase your chances of being featured on the Explore Page, thus reaching new audiences and boosting your overall engagement on the platform.

2023 Changes to the Algorithm

In 2023, the Instagram algorithm underwent significant changes, adjusting its focus to create a more balanced and engaging user experience. Here’s an overview of these changes and their impact:

Balanced Focus on Photos and Videos

In response to feedback from its community, Instagram recalibrated its algorithm to treat photos and videos more equally. This shift was a response to prior concerns that the platform had become overly focused on video content, particularly after the introduction of Reels. This adjustment aims to ensure that both photos and videos have fair visibility in users’ feeds​​​​.

Emphasis on Original Content

Instagram’s algorithm now gives higher priority to original content over reposted or reshared material. This change underscores the platform’s commitment to fostering creativity and originality among its users. Content creators are encouraged to focus on producing unique and authentic content to maximise their visibility and engagement on the platform​​​​.

Encouraging Conversational Content

Another focal point of the 2023 algorithm changes is the promotion of content that inspires conversations among users. Instagram aims to differentiate itself from competitors by encouraging interactive and engaging content that goes beyond mere views and likes, placing a higher value on comments and discussions sparked by posts​​.

Increased In-Feed Suggestions

Users may have noticed more ‘suggested’ posts from accounts they don’t follow. This change brings an element of the Explore page into the main feed, offering content recommendations based on users’ interests and past interactions. This feature aims to expose users to a wider range of content and creators, potentially increasing visibility for creators outside their existing follower base​​.

Feed Customization Options

Instagram introduced options for users to customise their feeds, such as choosing between a chronological (Following Feed), algorithmic (Home Feed), or Favourites feed. This change gives users more control over what they see and how they interact with content, potentially impacting how creators strategize their content to cater to different types of feeds​​.

Prioritising User Engagement and Interaction

With these changes, Instagram continues to prioritise user engagement and interaction. Posts that generate significant engagement in the form of likes, comments, shares, and saves are likely to receive more visibility. This encourages creators to develop content strategies that foster high engagement levels​​​​.

The 2023 changes to the Instagram algorithm reflect the platform’s ongoing efforts to enhance user experience, promote originality, and encourage meaningful interactions. Content creators should adapt their strategies accordingly, focusing on creating engaging, original content that resonates with their audience while leveraging the new features and adjustments for increased visibility.

Game The Instagram Algorithm In 2024

Optimising your Instagram strategy to enhance visibility involves a blend of traditional methods and new trends. Here are the key strategies:

Understand Your Audience’s Wants and Needs: Tailor your Instagram content strategy to your followers to increase engagement and reach potential customers. Analysing Instagram insights or using third-party tools can help measure post performance and understand audience preferences​​. Gaining psychological insight into your audience and learning how they think will help you craft content that speaks to them. 

Create Visually Stunning Content: Instagram’s focus on visual content remains critical. To stand out, it’s essential to create visually appealing and unique content that captures attention in a crowded newsfeed​​.

Leverage Instagram Stories and Reels: Instagram Stories, with their 24-hour lifespan, create a sense of urgency and can be used for time-sensitive promotions or glimpses into your company culture. Reels, being short and engaging vertical videos, are favoured in the newsfeed algorithm, offering a great way to maximise reach and engagement​​.

Optimise Your Business Profile for Discoverability: Include keywords in your bio, add an eye-catching profile photo, and publish when your audience is most active. Utilising hashtags and geotags can also improve discoverability​​.

Utilise User-Generated Content for Social Proof: Reposting content created by your customers can add social proof to your profile, increasing brand trust and providing new content for your business profile​​.

Set Up an Instagram Shop: For businesses selling tangible goods, an Instagram Shop is an effective tool for capturing a ready-to-buy market directly on the app. Tag products in your Stories and Posts to facilitate easy shopping for your customers​​.

Experiment with Different Formats: Instagram now offers a variety of formats, including carousels, Stories, and Reels. Experimenting with these formats can help you discover what resonates best with your audience​​.

SEO and AI-Generated Tools: SEO is taking centre stage on Instagram, making it crucial to understand and implement SEO strategies for better discoverability. Additionally, the rise of AI-generated tools is reshaping content creation on Instagram​​.

Focus on Community Over Following: Prioritise building a strong and engaged community. Features like feed posts for Close Friends and Broadcast Channels are excellent for fostering this sense of community​​.

Live Streaming and Creator-Inspired Content: Live streaming is expected to make a comeback with enhanced features for a more engaging experience. Also, drawing inspiration from creators for storytelling and content creation is a trend to watch out for​​.

To ensure your content is seen on Instagram it’s vital to understand and adapt to the nuances of the algorithm. Engaging content, strategic posting times, leveraging new features, and influencer collaborations are key strategies to increase visibility and engagement on the platform. These strategies, combined with a clear understanding of your audience and consistent engagement, can significantly boost your brand’s presence and visibility on Instagram in 2024.

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