How the Instagram Algorithm Works - The Playing Field

Updated: Apr 13

It is here - the 2020 Instagram Algorithm. And people are angry.


If you are here because you are (rightfully) upset about crashing metrics, it's not your imagination. It has definitely affected the scores of businesses. Yet, you being here shows you are serious about your business. And it is possible to get back on track, even improve your results




Game on


Instagram needs to keep people engaged and to keep returning. This new update encourages engagement and time spent on the platform. All the magical elements of being the high-performing and popular platform they are.

This, in turn, helps you perform better, even if it does not feel like that is the intention at the moment. Look at it as being pushed out of your comfort zone. Yes, it’s not what you ordered, but it could be great!


So let’s discuss the playing field. We break down the elements of the new algorithm, so you can have a clear understanding of what you are dealing with.




Rule 1 - Engagement off course


This is not new. Engagement is the currency of social media leverage everywhere. Wherever you want to succeed, this will be the determining factor of ultimate success. But now it is extra important. So important, we placed it as #1. The more engaged followers are, the longer they stay on. Simple!

The algorithm seems to be geared towards reading engagement levels and using this as a key factor in how well you will be seen from here on.



Rule 2 - Time is of the essence


Not only the time people spend on Instagram, but also when they are on Instagram. Being there at a time when your audience is also, is a bit of a no-brainer. So now you are being nudged in the right direction. The algorithm is watching




Rule 3 - Frequency is a biggie


This is more focused on determining what to show on the feed. Frequent visitors see posts more chronologically than those who are sporadic. The algorithm would create a ‘highlight-like’ feed for these visitors. It may seem like there is not much you can do here as a marketer, but it is still a linchpin of the new algorithm. And there are some things you will need to do. More on this in the next post.


Rule 4 - The element of ego


Likes are hidden, but not discounted. This move was to protect the mental health of users, but this is too valuable a metric to discount in any social media algorithm. This is why you will keep seeing more of the kind of posts you liked - as a follower that is.

So it is not a secret that likes are still a big player in the algorithm field.


So what now?


It may seem like there is nothing new to these elements when viewed individually. We need to stress, though, that there is a lot more emphasis on these elements than before, and they are a lot more fine tuned. The good news is, you are already geared for improvement. You only need to fine tune your strategy! In the next post, we will discuss specific actions you can focus on to steer your metrics upward and beyond.




Create Beautiful Content with our team at 360° Sensomedia.