How does the Instagram algorithm work?  Explained by the creators

How does the Instagram algorithm work? Explained by the creators

Instagram decided to bet on transparency and “shed light” on how its mysterious algorithm works. To do this, its creators have published on their blog an article that aims to answer the question that many of us are asking: How does Instagram decide what content to show its users when they visit the app? If you want to know the answer, don’t miss this article!

How the Instagram Algorithm Works Explained by the Creators

How does the Instagram algorithm work?

According to the creators Instagram, one of the first misconceptions they wanted to refute with this post is the existence of “the algorithm”. Instagram doesn’t have a single algorithm that monitors everything people see and don’t see in the app, but uses one. variety of algorithms, classifiers and processes, each with its own purpose. The goal is to use technology to personalize the user experience and thus save you more time.

When Instagram first launched in 2010, users could see all the photos posted by their contacts in chronological order. But as more and more users joined and shared more content, most users weren’t able to see all of the posted content, which meant that the posts that were important to them were lost. In 2016, users were already missing 70% of the content of their feed, including almost half of the posts of their closest contacts. Therefore, Instagram decided to integrate a system to categorize and order content based on user preferences.

Today, according to data from the creators of Instagram, most users view less than half of their feed. Additionally, over the past few years Instagram has included other features like Stories and Reels.

Instagram users’ content consumption habits and preferences vary depending on the app site they are on. For this reason, Instagram has adapted its ways of ordering content on the different sites of the application. This explains why we do not find a single algorithm, but rather different content classification systems, i.e. the app classifies content in different ways on different app sites.

Finally, the creators of Instagram made it clear that their explanations have an expiration date, meaning that Instagram’s algorithms will continue to evolve and change over time, but they will always signal these changes. . Its goal is to put an end to rumors by allowing users to get this information straight from the source.

How does the Instagram algorithm adapt to the different functionalities of the application?

Feed y Stories

In food and Stories, users prefer to see the content of their friends, family members or people they follow in the app. To sort this content, Instagram’s algorithm takes into account information about the post itself (i.e. the time of posting and popularity) and the person posting it, including on the basis of interactions with her (likes, comments, direct messages, etc.).

To explore

The explore tab is designed for Instagram users to discover New content, the approach is therefore different from Feed and Stories.

Instead of focusing on who the user follows, the app takes into account the relevance of a post’s topics and content to a particular user and how people with similar interests to yours have interacted with. Instagram posts. . The goal of the Instagram algorithm in this case is to expand the network of things to be shown to the user.


Instagram’s algorithm for Coils takes into account aspects such as likes, comments and shares to determine the interest of a content for users. The goal is to show content that encourages the user to continue to interact.

As you can see, the treatment given to content varies a lot depending on the location of the Instagram app in which it is displayed. The obvious conclusion is that we need to adapt our content to take full advantage of the various features of Instagram and improve our visibility.

How does the Instagram algorithm decide which content to show first?

According to the creators of Instagram, the app uses a series of “panels“to determine the order in which each message is displayed. These are the most important signals,” more or less in order of importance “:

  • Information on publications. These signals are related to the popularity of a post, for example, the number of people who “liked”, the time it was published, the duration (in the case of videos) and the location, if you chose to add it.

  • Information about the person posting. These signals help Instagram gauge a user’s interest in a specific person and include, for example, how many times two users have interacted with each other in the past few weeks.

  • Your activity. These signals help Instagram understand topics that are of interest to a particular user and include, for example, posts that that user has “liked”.

  • Your history of interactions with a specific person. These signals allow Instagram to assess whether you are interested in seeing a particular person’s posts and to include, for example, if you leave comments on their posts.

Based on all of these signals, Instagram predicts how the user will interact with a post, such as liking or commenting. The more likely the user is to interact and the more Instagram values ​​this interaction, the more the post will appear first.

Finally, the creators of Instagram have also responded to accusations of silencing certain content and stated that in the future they would better explain why the content is being removed. For example, they develop in-app notifications that will tell users why their post was deleted.

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