I’ve heard many rumours about how the Instagram algorithm works and I bet you have too.
Countless ‘theories’ from Instagram gurus and ‘growth accounts’ have been circulated on how Instagram works.
On Tuesday, Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri let us in on how the Instagram algorithm works and how it decides what you see on the app.
I bring this to you because it debunks a ton of rumours that have been propagated for a long time.
Firstly, the Instagram algorithm is not ‘one thing’. It is made up of several predictors and processes which sift through all the content on Instagram in order to show you what is relevant.
Here are the most important signals Instagram uses to show you content across your Feed and in Stories
- Information about the post. These are signals both about how popular a post is – think how many people have liked it – and more mundane information about the content itself, like when it was posted, how long it is if it’s a video, and what location, if any, was attached to it.
- Information about the person who posted. This helps us get a sense of how interesting the person might be to you, and includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.
- Your activity. This helps us understand what you might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts you’ve liked.
- Your history of interacting with someone. This gives us a sense of how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person. An example is whether or not you comment on each other’s posts.
Adam Mosseri also hinted on implementing in-app notifications that explain why users may have their posts taken down.
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Is ‘Shadowbanning’ real?
When people say they’ve been shadowbanned they usually mean that Instagram shows their content to a lesser number of their followers.
Well, Adam Mosseri says Instagram may remove posts that go against their Community Guidelines. He also added that Instagram will do a better job of explaining to users why their posts may have been taken down.
What gets showed on Explore?
For content that shows up on your Explore page, Instagram finds photos and videos you would possibly have an interest in.
This includes posts that you’ve liked, saved, and commented on in the past.
How does Instagram rank Reels?
With regards to Reels, Instagram focuses on entertaining content.
These are the most important signals Instagram uses to show you Reels.
- Your activity. We look at things like which reels you’ve liked, commented on, and engaged with recently. These signals help us to understand what content might be relevant to you.
- Your history of interacting with the person who posted. Like in Explore, it’s likely the video was made by someone you’ve never heard of, but if you have interacted with them that gives us a sense of how interested you might be in what they shared.
- Information about the reel. These are signals about the content within the video such as the audio track, video understanding based on pixels and whole frames, as well as popularity.
- Information about the person who posted. We consider popularity to help find compelling content from a wide array of people and give everyone a chance to find their audience.