top of page

understanding the algorithm

understanding the algorithm

In this section we will talk all about the elusive 'Instagram Algorithm', how it works, and how you can hack it!

how the algorithm works

You When you post, instagram's algorithm will automatically show your post to some of your existing followers. These will most likely be either new followers, or those that have engaged with you the most in the past. Once instagram shows it to this 10% (who are most likely to engage), it will judge the validity and quality of your post by how many of those 10% take the time to engage with it (comment, like, save, share, etc.).


If the percentage of the initial 10% do engage, instagram will take it as a sign that it is the type of content more people will want to see, and so will start to show it to more people. If this second round of people decide not to engage, instagram will redeem is as less engaging and therefore stop the growth of that post to many other people's timelines.



However if this second batch of people enjoyed your post enough to engage with it, instagram will show it to more people, and it is likely that your post will be put on the explore page and rank highly on the hashtags you've used!


When you reach the explore page or start to rank highly in hashtags, this is when you will reach new users, and you will begin to see organic, healthy follower growth! To ensure that your post makes it to this stage, you have to make sure your content is high quality and relatable, makes your followers want to engage, and will be attractive to an entirely new audience! We will learn how to do these things throughout this course




How it Works

[video] using the algorithm to grow

Three Pillars

the three pillars of instagram's algorithm

In order to talk full advantage of Instagram's algorithm, it's important to understand what Instagram considers to be a well performing, high quality content post. Instagram's algorithm goes further than simply engagement rates - by ensuring that each post you publish scores highly against the algorithm's three pillars - it is far more likely that your content will get shared, engaged with and even make it onto the explore page (more on that in a little bit), so now let's have a look at those pillars; Interest; Timeliness; and, Relationships!






How relevant is this to your ideal followers? This is calculated by looking at the similarities between your post and what your audience normally likes. Relevancy and interest is also calculated by looking at whether the audience interacting with your posts also follow other accounts that post content similar to yours!


Instagram's algorithm exists to serve the right people the right content. Instagram will want to show each user fresh, original content that they are likely to engage with when they open up the app. To improve your timeliness, make sure you are posting at the best times of day for your audience (we will talk more about how to find these times later on in the course) and that you are regularly posting to your story and gathering engagement that way throughout the day.

How often does your audience engage with your content? Are your audience engaged and loyal, or are they passive and occasional? Having an audience that frequently and consistently engages with your content shows that your account is a high-value account with algorithm-busting worthy content! Instagram wants to see that your audience are interacting with you more than just liking your posts - are they actively clicking on your profile, commenting and saving, DM-ing you? The more they interact with you the more they'll see your content!

Explore Page

getting on the explore page

The explore page is a wonderful little section of Instagram, that if you master the algorithm, can get you discovered by a wealth of new accounts that are interested in exactly what you post!


The explore page is a page full of content to discover, that is customised to every single instagram account, based on what they have liked or shown interest in in the past - you can tell a lot about someone from looking at their explore page (the fact that mine is mainly online shopping, tattoos and memes surely says a lot about me!) Getting onto this page is important, as it will expose your content to people who have already shown interest in similar content in the past, and therefore are likely to engage with and follow your account too! So now let's talk about a few top tips to getting you onto this coveted page!

  • Instant Engagement

  • Make Sure it's Interesting

  • Share to your story



Do all that you can to get maximum engagement within the first 5-10 minutes of your post being live! As we learnt in the previous few pages, early engagement will in turn get your content shown to more people, and eventually the explore page!


Make it something that people want to click on! Make it bright, colourful, high quality, not too messy or confusing, and easy to understand for a wide audience (not just people that know you personally!)


By sharing to your story, more people will click on your post when it first goes up - and ultimately engage! Consider using a gif to partially cover your post and drive curiosity!

bottom of page