The Instagram Algorithm

How it works for you

Social Media Marketing Calgary

The Instagram Algorithm

There is a fact about Instagram that most businesses are blissfully unaware of. Instagram, the darling of social media marketing, is owned by Facebook. Facebook bought their biggest threat in the spring of 2012. It makes complete business sense, why fight them when you can buy them?

Social media marketers have been aware of this fact for five years, but it wasn’t until a year ago that Facebook started making its presence felt on the platform – when they introduced the algorithm. The algorithm is a big part of how Facebook makes its money. People don’t see the businesses they follow in their newsfeeds anymore unless the business pays to advertise or “boost” their content.

There is a worry that having to pay for your followers to see your posts will eventually happen with Instagram, as it is a model that has made Facebook an awful lot of money. That is definitely a distinct possibility in the not too distant future, but for now, this not the reality.

For now, the algorithm is there because users are missing 70 percent of the posts in their feed. The smart minds behind it want people to enjoy their experience more and get fresh content from the people and businesses they like most.

The current Insta algorithm is designed to make using the platform a highly personal experience which means a few different things.

The new rhythm is kind of like a less random version of the sorting hat from Harry Potter. This means that if you, the user, consistently interacts with a page it will show up higher on your feed. To make using Instagram more personal, they are making it so that you see more of the content (pictures) that you like and less of what you wouldn’t normally interact with. Before the algorithm was implemented, you only saw what was most recently posted since the last time you logged on. This is a win for both the end user and businesses alike.


When you are using Instagram, do you ever search for the profiles you like the best to see what they’ve been up to? Maybe there’s a profile that always has the most amazing pictures of the mountains, or an adventurer you like to keep up with. The new update to the algorithm means that the more you search for a profile, the higher it will be ranked on your feed. This works for your business because it means that if you regularly post enough quality content that people search for, they will see your photos before your competitors.

The amount of time spent on your posts.

This is where the insta rhythm has something in common with Facebook’s. The amount of time people spend on your updates will play into how high your future posts are ranked on their feed. This means that you want to frame that perfect picture and carefully craft captions in order to make people stop and stay on your post.

There are a host of other factors at play when trying to grow your social influence. While the time you post is no longer the most important factor, it does still play a role. The algorithm is also considering how many hashtags are used, and whether the post is a video or album. Keeping up with the algorithms used on the various social media platforms can be way harder than keeping up with those Kardashians. If you need help, give us a call. We’ll keep track of what is up with them, so you don’t have to.


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