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The Instagram Algorithm Explained

Here is everything you need to know about the Instagram algorithm.

© Asaf Liberfroind via Instagram

The Instagram algorithm has been a relative mystery, until now. It was recently revealed that Instagram monitors user behaviour to create a unique feed for everyone. Users are given a personalised feed based on how they interact with the accounts that they follow, which means that everyone's feed is different even if they follow the exact same accounts as someone else.

Read on to discover the five main factors that determine what you see in your Instagram feed and why.


Based on past behaviour, Instagram predicts how much you’ll care about a post. The platform's algorithm analyses the content of an image or video, and determines how likely you are to engage with it based on past interactions. The aim is to increase the ranking of photos and videos that matter to you.


Instagram prioritises timely posts over older content. How often you open Instagram will also have a bearing on the content that you see. Instagram will aim to show you the best posts since your last visit.


If you've interacted a lot with a particular user on Instagram, by commenting, tagging or replying to their stories, Instagram will prioritise their content in your feed.


The number of people that you follow will also determine how much of a particular person you see in your feed. If you follow a lot of people, Instagram will be selecting content from a wider breadth of users so you're likely to see less of certain people.


Brief or long browsing sessions will determine if you’re just seeing the best posts from a short period, or if Instagram is sharing imagery from deeper in its catalogue.

Words by Daniel Flay

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