Instagram Hacks

Natalie Myers

Natalie Myers



8 min read


8 min read


Date Publish: Jun 25, 2024


Last Modified: Jun 25, 2024

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work? Explain

Table of Content

Do you want to grow on Instagram? By 2025, Instagram will have 1.44 billion active monthly users. So, the competition is continuously increasing. As a result, you need to know how the algorithm actually works. 

Social media managers, content curators, and anyone who uses social media want to know how they can grow on Instagram and become more visible. 

Reels, Explore, and Feed—Instagram's three pillars have specific guideline measurements, owing to which content is ranked periodically. 

Let's understand how the Instagram ranking algorithm actually works across different forms and how you can leverage it to drive engagement for your business and brand.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work?

Contrary to our popular belief, there is no direct concept of an algorithm on Instagram. The Instagram algorithm doesn't focus on overseeing what one sees or doesn't see on the app. 

With its advanced technology, Instagram focuses on personalizing the browsing experience for all via the algorithm feature. Their algorithm or browsing experience plays an important role in ranking the content. 

When Instagram was launched in 2010, it focused on only posting photos. However, as more people joined and times changed, there were better changes with stories, reels, and more coming in. Instagram’s feed feature, therefore, is aimed at ranking content depending on what you prefer the most. 

The Instagram algorithm concept is different for different parts. For example, the algorithm for Instagram Stories may not be the same as the algorithm for the Explore page, and so on. Thus, people may want to see content from their close friends on Stories. 

However, they would want to see something new on the Explore page. Therefore, the ranking of content is different on different parts of Instagram depending on how the person is using that respective part. 

How Instagram Ranks Content by Different Algorithms?

Instagram Stories, Feed, Explore, Reels, and Search are some of the most crucial parts of the platform. When you're using Instagram, you will have to understand how particular things are being ranked. 

Here's a look at how Instagram ranks content on different parts, thereby boosting the algorithm as per usage:

1. Instagram Stories Algorithm

Instagram usually prioritizes stories from the account that you interact with the most rather than its content. For example, you are likely to see Instagram stories of your close friends faster than those of others. 

Instagram Stories algorithm takes a look at different signals for ranking the stories, such as the following:

  • Viewing history: How often do you view the story from that particular account? 

  • Engagement history: How frequently have you engaged with that particular profile? 

  • Closeness: Is the account owner your close friend?

Comparatively, Instagram stories are short-lived, which is why they wouldn't have much of an impact on your algorithm. 

However, if there is not much engagement in the story after 10+ hours, there may be a negative impact. Thus, if you want to become more visible, share interactive and engaging stories to drive engagement. 

2. Instagram Feed Algorithm

In the past few years, Instagram's feed algorithm has changed rapidly, especially focusing on content aligning with interests. Instagram focuses on the type of content you interact with the most to include in the feed. 

Some of the major signals that Instagram focuses on for improving the algorithm on its feed are as follows:

  • Type of post: Instagram prioritizes depending on the type of post, like photos, videos, reels, and so on. 

  • Type of poster: Are the Instagram posters attractive? Do they capture attention, and so on?

  • Interaction history: The type of content you have interacted the most with- liking and commenting. 

  • Activity: What type of videos do you watch the most?

Instagram closely monitors the type of activity you do on your feed to improve your ranking chances. Additional factors that contribute to ranking across feedback include originality, watermarks, photos, videos, and violations. 

3. Instagram Explore Page Algorithm

The Instagram Explore Page thoroughly monitors the type of content you usually interact with to suggest specific pages. Your Instagram home feed usually has content from the accounts you follow, but the content on the Explore page will mostly be from newer accounts. 

Instagram agrees that they offer suggestions on the Explore page depending on your shares, likes, and saves. Some of the common signals Instagram looks into for ranking across the Explore page include:

  • Information: What type of information does the post offer? How soon do the users react to the content? Compared to feeds and stories, this signal works the strongest on the Instagram Explore page. 

  • Activity History: The type of content you have clicked upon or interacted with on your explore page. 

  • Information about the post owner: Instagram considers the profile and engagement details of the original post owner. The platform considers how many times users, including you, have interacted with their posts and profiles. 

The Explore Page on Instagram is constantly changing with a wide range of information. In recent times, there has been an introduction of search via keywords, relevant hashtags, and relevant content for a one-of-a-kind feed personalized just for you. Thus, Exploring page engagement considers both- the visual and textual elements of a post for algorithmic determination. 

Thus, make sure to optimize the Instagram profile by using relevant niche hashtags and constantly posting with stunning visuals and good captions. This will allow you to appear in the Instagram Explore page sections. 

4. Instagram Reels Algorithm

Instagram Reels has risen to fame as one of the best features of the platform. Knowing how to hack it will give you an edge, especially with respect to ranking higher as per Instagram algorithm. Similar to Feed, Reels also prioritizes ranking depending on the content you interact with the most. 

Instagram suggests the creators create engaging and interesting reels so as to drive more engagement. Creators may also use tools like cameras, filters, and more to create reels. However, avoid posting blurry or low-resolution Instagram reels that appear to be visibly recycled from another app. 

While posting the reels, make sure to use relevant hashtags and keywords to increase visibility. Make sure that you consistently share Instagram reels too to stay relevant and active.

5. Instagram Search Algorithm

Instagram search algorithm is one of the most important aspects to consider. If you want to appear in the Instagram algorithm, it is important to keep a check on it, especially in terms of signals. 

Some of the major signals that the platform considers for its Instagram ranking algorithm are as follows:

  • Query: Instagram helps in matching according to relevant captions, bios, usernames, and places. 

  • User activity: The platform monitors the accounts that users follow and how often they interact with them. 

  • Popularity signals: Different factors like shares, saves, likes, and comments are taken into consideration. 

In order to be found via a search algorithm, it is important to look for relevant keywords and hashtags and also use them in the bios.

How to Avoid Shadowbanning?

Instagram aims at increasing transparency so as to avoid the risk of shadowbanning. However, there are creators who seem to repeat the content or not provide value to the audience, which is one of the main reasons why most of them are shadowbanned. 

One of the easiest ways to avoid shadowbanning is to increase the overall reach of Instagram. Thus, create engaging content for the audience to connect with you. Even when you're using ads, make sure that they adhere to the community guidelines. 

Final Thoughts

Instagram has undergone massive changes in the past few years, and it has received many updates. It seems that with each passing day, there's a new trend or concept to keep up with with respect to the Instagram algorithm. 

If you want to become popular on Instagram, it is advisable to adopt what the algorithm is promoting. One common way to rank higher in Google is to create engaging and promotional content that the audience interacts with. 

Following the algorithm guidelines will allow you to stay ahead and offer the best to your customers. So, take the chance to beat the Instagram algorithm.


1. How does Instagram rank content?

Instagram ranks content depending on various factors, such as the number of likes, in-feed activity, shares, and number of saves. Instagram also takes into consideration the information about the person who posted the content for ranking content. 

2. How does Instagram rank likes?

Instagram does not take into consideration the sequence of likes but the number of likes. It arranges the likes on the content, considering how the user would want to view a particular content. 

3. What are Instagram ranking algorithms?

Instagram ranking algorithm means considering different factors to make the post more visible to the audience. Every part of Instagram- feed, explore, and reels have set algorithms to craft a unique experience for all. Thus, the Instagram ranking algorithm provides a personalized experience to all the users based on the content they want to see. 

4. How does Instagram rank content views?

If you are viewing someone's profile on a regular basis, liking their content or engaging with it in any form, Instagram thinks that you may be interested in their content. As a result, Instagram will then measure the likes, comments, and shares on the post and rank the content depending on the views on the Instagram account. 

5. Does Instagram pay for higher ranks?

No, Instagram as a platform does not directly pay for higher ranks. Instead, if you rank higher on Instagram and have a huge following, you can earn from collaborations, brand partnerships, and affiliate marketing via your Instagram business page.

Natalie Myers
Written By
Natalie Myers

Natalie has the strongest control on words. She is the content manager at GPC.FM with an avid experience in content marketing. Her biggest strength is her ability to express through persuasive words. She has been working in the content industry for a decade and now works with GPC.FM to strategize and plan content marketing. From curating social content calendars to strategizing content for social media platforms, she ideates a bespoke content roadmap at GPC.FM.