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How Instagram Ranks Content in 2023

Instagram's 'algorithms' may seem hard to understand, but if you look closely enough, you'll see that Instagram actually happily reveal how they work on a regular basis!


In this blog, I'm going to break down the latest revelations to do with the Instagram algorithms, and teach you the strategies that go with them to supercharge your growth and engagement!



how Instagram ranks content in 2023
Understanding the Instagram algorithm


Inside the algorithm and how it ranks content


One of the biggest misconceptions, is that there's an 'Instagram algorithm'. Many people believe that there is one overarching rule-making piece of code that decides who gets seen, and who doesn't. This isn't true. In fact, there's actually many different algorithms, all working in tandem with each other! Each has their very own little job, helping Instagram to be the very best place it can be for its users. Let's have a little look at the different ways you can train these algorithms to favour you.


Growing with the explore page


The Explore Page can often be overlooked, however it offers insane potential for maximum growth on the platform. In fact, I'd warrant to say that some of me biggest growth has come directly as a result of it!


Instagram has coined the Explore Page at the 'Place where you discover new things'. It is made up of recommendations of photos and videos that the algorithm finds for people, based on the topics they show interest in.


How it works:


The algorithm will base what you see on the explore page by looking at the content you already like, and what other people with similar interests to you also like.


So say you are a big fan of a creator called carl [see diagram above] you like all of carl's posts, and engage with him often. Carl owns a bakery account, and bakery is something both you, and Carl's other followers all have an interest in.


Let's say a majority of carl's followers also follow and like the content of tow other bakery creators, Jeff, and cat.

How the Ito rank on Instagram: how the instagram Explore Page works in 2023
How the Instagram Explore Page works in 2023

The algorithm will put two and two together, and assume if you like carl's account, and you also like bakery, then there's a high chance you'll like Jeff and cat's posts too, so these will be pushed to your explore page!


This process is repeated to make up a photo 'set' - this will consist of 1000s of photos Instagram *thinks* you will be interested in


These will then be ordered by how likely Instagram thinks you are to be interested in each post, based again on different 'signals'

how the Explore Page Algorithm works
Ranking on the Explore Page

The most important signals for the Explore Page:

The most important Instagram Explore Page signals
The most important Instagram Explore Page signals

Supercharging story views


Instagram ranks stories based on the ;closeness factor'. i.e., how 'close' it believes your relationship is with each of the people you follow. The stronger it deems your 'relationship' is with that person, the closer to the front of your page you'll see their story!


In order to get more views on your stories, you need people to have closer connections to you. This can be done by: creating engaging content people will interact with, uploading content regularly so people engage with you often, replying to comments and DMs, using conversation starting promts in your posts and captions, and engaging with your followers in ifferent ways!


Decoding Reel Secrets


When it comes to reels, shares are one of the most important factors. Instagram will show your reel to more people, if it's a reel that has been shared often. This proves that the reel is valuable, and even more importantly: entertaining or emotion-evoking. To boost reels visibility, avoid low-quality video content, don't post overdone content, be original with your ideas, incorporate humour or emotion into your reels, and use CTAs in your captions to prompt others to share!


The most important Reels algorithm signals:

How Instagram ranks reels in 2023
The most important Instagram Reels signals


Optimise 'watch time'


Another super important aspect that Instagram looks at when deciding how to rank your reels, is total watch time. This means, how long people stayed on your reel for. The aim is to make people watch it all the way through, and the way to super success, is to make people watch it multiple times! There are a few different ways you can achieve this:


  • Make your reels longer (40-60 seconds long) - if you use this strategy, don't forget to include a hook, keep it interesting the whole way through, use movement, transitions and different clips to keep it engaging, and save the best information til the end of the video!

  • Make your reels shorter - super short reels (3-5 seconds long) are likely to be watched multiple times over!

  • Put more value in the caption - when you put more value in the caption, people will read the caption whilst the reel plays over and over in the background!

  • Encourage Conversations - when people are interested in what the comments are on a post, they may spend time reading them whilst the reel repeats itself over.


In conclusion, Instagram’s algorithms are drastically different, and far more advanced than they were just a few years ago. Understanding how they work is the key to success on the app! Keep up to date with all the algorithm changes, by subscribing to our newsletter!

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