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How Does Instagram Algorithm Work?

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Few people have asked me to do a blog post on the Instagram algorithm and how it really works. I am going to keep this post-beginner-friendly used less technical Digital Marketing words so you understand it. Previously getting followers, like and comment on Instagram was easy as a walk in the park. As more users started joining, and platform growing. Facebook the Instagram parent company had decided to update its algorithm to help users share contents that are more relevant, meaningful, and push brands to pay for their content to be seen.

Genius market tactics right!

Well, the big question is how does the Instagram algorithm work? Special for those who are trying to increase their number of followers and build their influencers or blogger/business accounts. I am going to break it down into 4 main attributes on how it really works behind the scene okay. #DigitalMarketer insights.


Here are 4 Major things that the Instagram algorithm takes into consideration to show your image or video post.


Who Are You Engaging With?

By far the biggest factor which influences the Instagram algorithm I would say is your audience interest. Taking into account your past behaviours and patterns it will then curate Instagram feed based on that. Most importantly, the feeds are specific to post you've recently generated with such as comment, like, saved, share in your stores. The Instagram algorithm will show you more of them.

For example, if you keep liking a shoe picture, double-tap on that cute baby photos, visit wedding dress Instagram pages and watch cooking IGTV stories. The algorithm system notice how long you stay on those taps, how often you like a similar post. It will then curate content that is similar to those images or an Instagram account you have interacted with.

Online Relationship

Who are your followers?

The Instagram algorithm is tuned to show you more posts from people you care about and share a relationship with – like family, friends, brands and people you admire.


There are two types of Instagram users the one who lives there 24/7 and the ones who come often to do check-in.

  • TYPE 1: For those who are on the app frequently, the Instagram algorithm will produce a chronological feed update based on their interactions.

  • TYPE 2: To the ghost account holders or dropper users, the Instagram algorithm will try to curate the most relevant posts based on it thinks you would like or react to.

Seriously though, can you wake me when I am famous? :D All jokes aside let's get to our last point on how the Instagram algorithm works.

Peak hour

How Long Ago Was Did You Share A Photo Or Video Posted?

The algorithm is set to give priority to new posts over old published images or videos. The best way to beat this and get in front of your audience is to understand when they are online. Stats show early morning during peak when people travelling to work, lunch hour or after work gives more engagement. This is the time when most people are on break or on their cellphones.


The Artificial Intelligence (A.I) algorithm of Instagram has been smarter and harder to crack. In the past, you can spam your post with over 30 irrelevant popular hashtags to get your content noticed by others. The recent changes and signals that the algorithm is using make it hard to rank up with hashtags spam.

How do you crack this system you might ask?

Well first let's understand how the hashtag and Instagram algorithm work by providing you with a real-life example.

The A.I scans your images or video and text along with hashtags used on the post. It will then try to identify if the hashtag matches the post descriptions and content you are sharing.

Let's assume the above picture you posted on your Instagram with the following hashtags #pastalover #lunchwiththegirls #beachbody #instafood

Since the post has no view of the beach or someone's body that is a red flag because you posting irrelevant hashtags.


Avoids using the same 15 hashtags with the same order across all your post. This action will flag the system as your post are spammy which can result in your account being blocked or your post hid from people seeing by Instagram,

Time to go post LIKE A BOSS!

For more information on Instagram and social media marketing visit my E-learning tap or youtube tutorial today.


SHER Blog.png

Sher Shares Blog

Great tips, I need to think about what kind of branding I want to convey.

nilcole cooking

Nicole's Cooking

Hi Neecee, This is Nicole, Such a wonderful sharing! Great Job! All the best! 

faith adodo

Faith Adodo

Thanks for this wonderful Interview. I love the questions and enthusiasm. 

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