Want to know why your Instagram looks like it has been hacked?

Being on top of your social game like the savvy business woman you are, you’ve probably noticed that your Instagram feed went a little haywire on you! The culprit? Instagram’s algorithm… Gone are the days of seeing all the profiles you follow in a nice, chronological order as they were posted. The name of the game is engagement, and this is a huge part of what Instagram uses to figure out what exactly you want to see.

If you want to see more of those gorgeous flat lays your photographer friend shares, or the delicious cocktail recipes from your favourite foodies, you need to engage with their content, A LOT!

What we appreciate about this update is the fact that Instagram is moving towards discouraging people from spammy behaviour like using comment bots and buying followers and likes. This means that even if you are a small business, you can still attract your ideal clients with great content and if you are a die-hard fan of a person or business, you can break through the clutter and catch their updates without being drowned in a sea of content that makes you go “meh”.

Figuring out how the algorithm works isn’t just for fans who want to see their favourite creators, it is also beneficial for creators. We’ll be covering the algorithm from a creator’s point of view in a following article, so stick around if you are interested in making the algorithm work for you as a content creator. But first, your feed explained!

How Instagram determines what you see

The shortcut to understanding the algorithm can be found in the way you use Instagram. What you see on your feed is largely based on your actions on Instagram. According to Instagram’s Info Centre (2018) their “…goal is to be the best place to share and connect with the people and interests that matter most to you”. If you’re not great at reading between the lines, this means that Instagram is aiming for real engagement, not spammy behaviour and if you want to see more of your favourite content, you better show them what it is you love.

Many creators in the Instagram community are in agreement about a few key factors that are influencing your feed. We’ll be adding their information in our sources list at the end of this post, but we want to give a quick note of thanks to The Buon Life and Jeremy Clyde (on Youtube) for the helpful tips they’ve shared on dealing with the algorithm changes.

Let’s have a closer look at how you influence your own feed with the new algorithm:

Your interests
Your likes and interactions determine what you will see, so if you are liking loads of fashion themed posts or puppy pictures, those will rank higher on Instagram’s radar as content they will show you. The goal with the update is to get you to spend more time on the app, so Instagram is trying to read your behaviour to figure out what exactly you want to see, ranked by importance (based on your level of engagement).
You might still see posts that are not totally tailored to your exact taste, but that is Instagram’s way of proving they’re not hiding posts (as some users in the community have accused Instagram of) and that they’re not biased towards one format over another (video vs image).

Recency of posts
Although the chronological order is something of the past, Instagram will show you posts that are fairly recent first. How active a user is will also determine ranking and more content might ensure that a user shows up in your feed more often (there are other factors to consider so don’t count on this alone). Some creators have accused Instagram of downranking users for posting loads of content in a short time, but this (according to some sources) isn’t true. We haven’t experienced this issue so be sure to keep an eye out to see if this might influence the way your feed personalises for you.

Relationship you have to person posting
With this feature, Instagram makes good on their promise to keep the app social. You will see more content from creators you have interacted with. Liking, commenting and tagging users in content will show Instagram that you enjoy the content from those users and their content will rank higher on your feed.

Frequency of use of the app
This means that if you spend more time on Instagram, the app has more information to tailor your feed specifically to you. It’s almost like dating someone- the more dates you go on, the more you get to know the person, the better you will understand their taste.

Volume of use
The more time you spend on a profile engaging with the user, the higher their content will rank. If you spend loads of time on a profile, commenting and watching their videos and stories you will see more of their content showing up in your feed.

Mute feature
And here’s a way to further personalise your feed- In May 2018, Instagram introduced the “mute” feature so you have more control over what you see. With this feature, you can mute the content from someone you are following, without unfollowing them. The user won’t know that you have muted them, and you’ll still be notified when you’re tagged in their content or comments.

We hope that this article has given you some valuable insights on how to better interact with content you really love, and in this way, personalise your feed so you don’t miss out on any of the good stuff!
Remember to support the content creators you love, because this will help them to keep doing what they are doing so you can keep seeing those adorable puppy pics and coffee art videos.

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