It’s something that creators have spent countless hours analyzing, working on, and trying to make work in their favor: 

The Instagram algorithm. 

This week, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri shared a video to spell out how the Instagram algorithm actually works (well, at least for now).

Algorithms, Predictions & Signals

It turns out, there’s not just one, but multiple algorithms at play on Instagram. These algorithms work to personalize your Instagram experience, crafting a unique platform tailored to your liking. 

The algorithms do this by creating predictions for each user, based on signals the user has given to Instagram in the past. In a nutshell, that’s how content gets ranked. 

Below, we dive into the predictions and signals that Mosseri discussed for Instagram Stories, Feed, Reels, and the Explore page, and give some BAM tips for how you can boost your content. 

Ranking Stories

To rank Stories, Instagram first takes a look at every Story a user might see, based on what has been posted in the past 24 hours. One of the algorithms then predicts which ones the user is most likely to be interested in. 

The algorithm starts with signals it has gotten from the viewer. These include:

  • Viewing history
  • Interaction history 
  • Closeness to the author of the Creator

From there, the app makes predictions based on what the user might do with Story:

  • Tap to open a Story
  • Reply to the Story
  • Like or react to the Story

The higher the likelihood the viewer is to open, reply to, or react to a story, the more likely it will show up when a user opens the app. 

BAM Tips for Instagram Stories

Make your Stories as interactive as possible, with polls, questions that engage the viewer, or a call to action that encourages the viewer to DM you. Check out these tips to help liven up your Stories:

Ranking Feed

The goal of the Instagram Feed, according to Mosseri, is to “catch you up on the very best that’s happened on Instagram since you used the app last.”

This includes showing the viewer posts from accounts they already follow, along with those from accounts Instagram thinks you may want to follow or engage with. 

Signals from the viewer:

  • History of interactions
  • Information about the post (i.e., is there already a lot of activity around it?)
  • Information about the author of the post
  • How much you have interacted with that specific author in the past

Predictions for Feed include how likely the viewer is to:

  • Like
  • Comment 
  • Share
  • Tap on the profile pic
  • Spend even a few seconds looking at it

BAM Tips for Instagram Feed

When it comes to your Feed, it’s critical to mix up the format of your content. If someone sees the same thing over and over on your Feed, they are going to find someone new to follow. Post Reels, Carousels, still images, tweets, raw videos, professional videos, and green screens.

Dive into more ways to improve your Instagram Feed:

Ranking Reels

There are a lot of Reels posted to Instagram every day. So how does Instagram make predictions? Again, it starts with signals the app has received from the user.

Signals Instagram uses for Reel predictions include:

  • What the viewer has watched in the past
  • Information about the Reel
  • Information about the author
  • How much the viewer has interacted with the author

Predictions are based on how likely the user is to:

  • Watch the Reel until it is over
  • Send the Reel to a friend
  • Go to the audio page for that Reel (signaling the viewer might be ready to create a Reel using that same audio)

BAM Tips for Instagram Reels

When it comes to Reels (and really any video), you want to hook the viewer from the first second and keep them watching until the end. 

We know, easier said than done. So, here are some resources to help you make more engaging Reels:

For an in-depth course to Create the Perfect Green Screen, check out The Broke Agent’s latest BAMx course:

Ranking Explore

Explore allows the viewers to peruse through photos and videos from authors they are not yet following. The goal of Explore is to help the viewer discover new things. 

Signals used to make predictions for Explore are similar to those used for Reels, but in a different order:

  • Information about the post (i.e., how popular the post is at the moment)
  • The viewer’s history of interactions
  • Information about the author
  • Any past interactions the viewer has had with the author

Predictions for the Explore page include how likely the viewer is to:

  • Like a post
  • Save a post
  • Share a post

BAM Tips for Instagram Explore

Landing on the Explore page is the ultimate goal for creators…but there’s no magic button to make it happen. But staying consistent with all your IG activity, and making sure you are creating content that adds value and entertains your audience, is a good place to start. 

For more, check out The Ultimate Instagram Course for Real Estate Agents on BAMx:

How to Grow Your Audience

Mosseri ended his video with some best practices to grow your audience:

    1. Experiment. Every audience is different, so experiment to find what resonates best with your audience.
    2. Check your Insights. This helps you figure out what’s working and what isn’t. Instead of focusing on outlier posts, look at broader trends. What type of content tends to do the best for your audience? The worst?
    3. Collaborate. Instagram loves to see users come together to create new and collaborative ways.
    4. Check your Account Status. This will tell you if you have any recommedability issues with your accounts, so you can address or appeal as needed.
    5. Create original and engaging content. Instagram continues to favor those who create original content as much as possible.

Well, that’s the latest from Instagram. We’ll continue to keep you updated on all things Instagram, content creation, and agent marketing here on BAM—and we show you how to do it all on BAMx

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