All you need to know about the Instagram algorithm

If you have a love-hate relationship with the Instagram algorithm, you must read this article. After all, you can’t invest in digital marketing strategies without understanding the potential of such a tool – and learning how to use it to your advantage is pivotal to your business’s success on social media.

The Instagram algorithm is nothing more than an intelligent data-gathering system responsible for determining the order of posts that appear in each user’s feed. But you already know that, don’t you? Well, keep reading for further, useful tips in commercial relations.

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The Instagram algorithm

You’ve probably noticed that Instagram somehow seems to know what interests you. You see, that’s exactly what happens – through complex math equations and time metrics, the platform measures which posts are most interesting to each user, always aiming to improve their overall experience.

As entrepreneurs, this is not always so beneficial if you’re starting out. That’s because you might have some challenges in expanding your reach unless you accept the progressive, gradual nature of this task, which shapes itself as time goes on.

Understanding how the Instagram algorithm works is the first step to not being sabotaged – making it work in your favor instead.

How does the Instagram algorithm work?

The Instagram algorithm works based on some basic criteria and assigns different weights to each of them. It’s starting to get easier, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, no secret could magically bypass these patterns and take your reach from 100 to 1,000 users in a few days. However, some behavioral patterns can be learned from the platform and used strategically in your posts, stories, and even brand awareness practices.

Let’s go over the main ones, shall we?


We couldn’t start with anything else. You’ve certainly noticed that when one of your posts receives comments and likes shortly after publication, it naturally increases its audience reach.

In fact, likes and comments are the only two key engagement metrics for the Instagram algorithm that are visible to everyone. It’s simple: the more likes and comments you get, the higher the chance your post will appear at the top of someone’s feed.

Other engagement factors are also worth mentioning, such as:

  • Sharing;
  • Video view time;
  • Clicking “see more”;
  • Saves to collection;
  • Direct sends;
  • Tags;
  • Profile visits;
  • Number of views (story);
  • Bounce rate (story).

Profiles your page follows

Instagram analyzes the pages and posts that interest the people you follow, especially those with whom your profile interacts the most, and believes that some of them may be relevant to you.

From a broader perspective, it’d be right to say that your profile’s content is shown to friends of users who engage more with it.

General interest

If you’ve ever boosted a specific post or have previous experience with Meta Business (former Facebook), you know exactly what we’re talking about when it comes to interests.

Suppose you sell a business management application, for example. In this scenario, the Instagram algorithm will show your posts to people who share a greater interest in business management, entrepreneurship, and leadership influences. 

But how will this be measured, you may wonder? By evaluating factors such as the type of pages users follow, the posts they like, the stories they interact with, and the hashtags they use and follow, among other criteria. The main goal is to reach people who don’t follow you through the “explore” tab, turning complete strangers into loyal fans, clients, or consumers.


Now, you’ve probably wondered about the ideal posting frequency. Even if indirectly, it’s easy to notice that a certain rate is relevant to the algorithm.

What we have to say about this is that posting too little will limit your growth, but posting too much will make your posts compete with each other, which won’t help either. The secret is to find the right balance – but how so?

Well, by keeping an eye on the data collected by the Instagram algorithm itself!


While this may be the aspect with the least practical applicability, you must learn its details, and you’ll understand why soon.

Instagram’s news feed hasn’t been chronological for a long time. Nevertheless, older posts continue to lose traction in favor of recent ones, meaning their viewing frequency is reduced gradually over time.

If you want to continue being seen, you should post regularly – or you’ll never gain prominence on the social network amidst all the competition.

How to use the Instagram algorithm to your advantage?

What used to seem like a barrier to your growth is about to become a tool that enhances your results. Now that you know how the Instagram algorithm works, we’ll share some practical tips to make it your ally.

  • Produce relevant content: Even if you do everything right, your efforts will be in vain if your content doesn’t provide value to the user. Quality matters as much, if not more than quantity when it comes to social networks like Instagram. Don’t create random posts – think strategically, plan ahead, and most importantly, study and understand your target audience.

  • Discover the best time to post: Analyzing the best days and times for posts is easier than it seems; the Instagram algorithm generates metrics in this regard. Have you ever looked at the times your followers are online? Now is the time. The more people online, the greater your chance of getting comments and likes, thus increasing the engagement of your posts.

  • Focus on image and video quality: Content is important, but it will only be consumed if the audio-visual part of the post captivates the audience. So be discerning about the quality of the images and videos you use; use higher resolutions and pay close attention to the audio in your videos. No user wants to make an effort to understand what you’re saying.

  • Frequent story posting: If possible, as we mentioned before, never leave your Instagram without stories. Post regularly! This is one of the keys to interaction. Although we recommend posting every day, it’s not advisable to post more than 8 or 10 stories at once; excess will only cause users to mute your profile if anything.

  • Share content from other profiles: This will not only help keep your story filled with valuable content but also stimulate user-generated content (UGC), increasing the organic reach of your brand. Sensational, isn’t it? Always remember to tag the owner of the post and request mentions when something produced by you is shared!

  • Respond to comments and inbox messages promptly: Responding quickly is the secret to keeping the user engaged. It’s important to have a good response time, and Instagram knows how to evaluate that.

  • Use hashtags and geolocation: Hashtags and geolocation are strategies used by the Instagram algorithm to assess which posts are interesting to which users. Moreover, they are the simplest way to increase your engagement in a certain area.

  • Optimize your bio: Finally, define your company so that Instagram understands what your business is about and that users have no doubt whether your page interests them or not. We have 5 basic tips that will help you with this: include a self-description; provide as much contact information as possible; use keywords that accurately describe your business; always include a call-to-action (CTA) in your posts; add a view-all link to your website; and put these tips into practice for at least 30 days. You’ll certainly see the difference.

Need help? Laços can help you anytime

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Schedule a free online meeting with us – we want to get to know you better, discuss your ideal strategy live, and present our proposal to execute it. Laços is a digital marketing agency based in Brazil that is always ready to launch your plans off the paper and make you profit with them.


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