The State of Instagram Algorithm 2018

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Working in the digital media industry, I can understand the myriad backlash and the far-reaching effects social media algorithms can have on the organic execution of the posts. This article will help you know about the current state of Instagram Algorithm Update.

Up until now, Instagram’s feed was something of an enigmatic mystery. However, recently Instagram unveiled how it organizes users’ feeds, including how it considers the various factors in its algorithm.

Facing flak from its previous change of user-favorite chronological feed which resulted stunting the growth of many content creators, the current Instagram only prioritizes content which is popular and relevant to a user.

To help you understand on how the new Instagram algorithm works, let me explain with a simple example:
Goldy looks at a lot of dog lover accounts and follows to dog related hashtags on Instagram. That means his feed will show dogs and pet related content if he routinely interacts with such form of content. Nonetheless, Goldy can’t be limited to just one type of content. For instance, he also likes sports and fashion related content. Thus, the content shown on his timeline would also change.

Keeping Up with Instagram’s Changing Algorithm
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Instagram product lead Julian Gutman recently explained the algorithm to the media at its San Francisco HQ. Instagram depends on machine learning based on your past behavior on the platform to create a unique feed for everyone. The three main factors determining what you see in your Instagram feed are: Interest, Recency and Relationship.

Interest: How much Instagram thinks you’ll you’ll care about a post, with the most high ranking obviously taking the top spot.

Recency: How recently the post was shared, where Instagram prioritizes newer posts and your relationship to the poster is also taken into consideration.

Relationship: How proximate you are to the person who shared it? The ranking is higher for people with whom you’ve interacted a lot in the past on Instagram. This activity is taken into account with factors such as commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.

Instagram further takes three additional factors also into consideration that influence rankings. They are: Frequency, Following, and Usage.

Frequency: How often you open the Instagram app, as it will show you the best posts since your last visit.

Following: If you follow a lot of people, Instagram will fair-play to choose from a wider spread of authors. This way it will show you less posts from one specific person.

Usage: How much time you spend on Instagram determines that you’re seeing the best posts during the sessions. It also decides whether you’ll see less important posts.

Instagram Busts the Myth

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Instagram’s team also busted the myths and addressed the pressing questions about the effect of its its algorithm. These were:

  • Instagram is not considering the option to go back to the old reverse chronological feed. Although it will take feedback from users who dislike the algorithm.
  • Instagram doesn’t hide any posts in the feed. You will see everything posted by everyone you follow if you keep scrolling.
  • Instagram does not give extra feed presence to either personal accounts or business accounts. Thus, switching won’t help your reach.
  • Instagram does not grant any special favors to users who use Stories, Live, or any other feature of the app.
  • Instagram’s feed ranking does not patronize the photo or video format universally. However, people’s deeds are tuned based on the kind of content they engage with.

This clarification from Instagram directs that it will first show you posts from people you care about. That’s how a proficient algorithm is supposed to work. But given the fact that as more users and businesses join the Instagram and produce an ammunition of posts often, and as the feed browsing time stays constant per user, the average post will go down and receive fewer views. People will accuse that Instagram is trying to make room for more advertisements, which is a debatable question.

The more Instagram can elucidate the problem by pushing surplus content to stories and educating the users on how the feed operates the less they will complain. With this, it can be hoped that Instagram retains its popularity as a cool social media platform.

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