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Understanding the Instagram algorithm and how to use it to your advantage

01/09/2018 | Share:

Most social media channels regularly update their algorithm’s so their users receive the best experience possible. The means that often your marketing strategy has to change with it in order for your content to be shown to the right people.

In this blog, we look at how you can succeed in Instagram marketing and what has changed in the recent update.

Instagram has defined 3 important factors that determine if your content shows to an individual. Interest, Timeliness and Relationship.


Using machine learning, Instagram will now show you more of the content it thinks you will like based on your previous behaviour. For example, if an individual has liked and commented on more travel videos, travel-related content will appear higher up the newsfeed.

So even if this individual follows your shoe brand, your content will appear lower on their feed. In order to combat this and get more people to view your content, you should look back at your old posts to see what worked well and try to emulate that in your new content. Use popular hashtags and captions to boost your posts. You should also look at your competitors and see which of their posts are getting the most engagement. You need to give your followers what they want to see.


The new Instagram algorithm prioritises more recent posts. Rather than focussing on the amount of engagement a post receives like it previously has done, you will be more likely to see recent content. Gone are the days where your feed was full of week-old content.

To optimise your marketing, take a look at the analytics section of the app and find out when your audience is most active. It will take some trial and error to find the perfect time but it will definitely be worth doing. You should post regularly so your posts are considered ‘recent’ and therefore qualify to show higher up the feed.


As mentioned before, Instagram is putting the focus on making your newsfeed more relevant to you. As well as timelines and Interest, It will take into account the relationship you have with other accounts. Ie. if you are tagged in a lot of someone’s content or comment on it regularly, Instagram assumes that you are, therefore ‘friends’ and will prioritise their content over other accounts.

As a business, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are at a disadvantage. Encouraging your customers to tag you in their posts, tag users in your posts, always reply to comments and regularly comment on peoples posts, whether they are an influencer or just a regular customer. Not only will this build brand relationships, you will also be increasing the chance of your content being seen.

By keeping up to date with any social media algorithm changes, you will be able to act fast when it comes to making changes to your marketing strategy. The worst thing you can do is ignore them as you will be left behind. The changes you will have to make may only be slight but they are definitely worth doing if you want to succeed on Instagram.

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