5 ways to anticipate on the Instagram Algorithm

  • Luna van der Windt - Junior Content Manager
  • May 19th, 2023

Instagram is an app that has about 1.2 billion users in the year 2023. This number seems to be growing daily. So more users also means more posted content. But how does Insta ensure that their users only see relevant posts on their Feed? And the real question, how do you make sure you end up on people's Feed?


There are 5 factors that play a role in what you get to see on your Instagram Feed:

1. Engagement:

First, Instagram considers the popularity of the post. How many likes does the post get, who posts a comment, how often is the post forwarded, and to whom?
All factors that influence who's Feed or Explore Page a particular post comes on.

Components such as a caption, hashtags and locations also play a big role. Based on these, Instagram can categorize a post into the most accurate category. And thus forward the post to people who are interested in it.

2. Usage/Frequency

Instagram looks at how long and how often people look at the app. At the top of your Feed, the "most important" posts are put. The post that Instagram thinks you will be most influenced by, by liking, commenting, sharing, you name it. The type of content is different for everyone. Here you can see how diverse that can be

Source: survey on @paraplunaa

3. Following:

Who you follow also plays an important role, but more importantly, how many people you follow. If you only follow 30 accounts, then it is very easy for Instagram to show all recently posted content. But if you follow 3,000 accounts, then a selection must be made. This falls a bit back to 'Usage' but Insta will then determine which posts are most relevant to you, and the more you scroll down the less the content is actually relevant to you.



For Instagram, it is important that you spend even more time on the app.

It looks at what relationship you have with a person, do you DM a lot with a person, like each other's posts, or tag each other often? If so, their posts are more likely to appear higher on your Feed. Insta also looks at where your interests lie. Do you watch a lot of fitness videos? Then chances are you will see more sports content on your Feed and Explore Page.

Source: Explore Page Artist

Source: Explore Page Positive

Here you can see how big the difference can be between different Explore Pages. So based on preference, Instagram determines what is the most interesting content for you. And thus what you would click on the fastest.


5. Timelines:

What time you post also plays a role. This is because Instagram sees more recent posts as more relevant. Therefore, a post that does not have as much interaction in the first hour will not be placed higher on someone's Feed. That's why, you should first find out what time your followers are online the most. This can be done by means of a survey, for example:

Source: survey on @paraplunaa

This is what process Instagram checks every time you post something. But how do you make sure your posts get on as many people's Feed as possible?

  1. Stay consistent within your target audience:

This has to do with Engagement. Do you post a lot of art? Then Instagram will "subdivide" your page into this category. So if you keep posting art, you're more likely to get on someone's Feed faster.


  1. Make sure the post is interactive:

With a call-to-action, people are more likely to be triggered to respond to your post or story. 'At 3000 likes I will announce my new song', 'Want to win a speaker; like, comment and share this post'. Of course, there doesn't have to be a prize behind every post, you can also make it simpler.

For example, by asking a question in the caption; "What is your must-have at a festival?", "How are you entering 2023?". More Engagement will make your post more relevant and land on more people's Feed (Timelines).


  1. Make your posts 'category-ready':

When posting, Insta has the option to add an Alt text. Describe your post in this as literally as possible.

This way, Instagram can flawlessly assign a 'category' to your post and you can be sure it will end up on a Feed or Explore Page of someone interested in it.


  1. Hashtags are king:

Don't underestimate the value of relevant Hashtags either, as this will help your posts appear on as many Explore Pages as possible. First, find out what your category is. Look at other creators to see which hashtags are popular and make your own selection.

Make sure you don't use Hashtags that are too generic. Tags like #Inspiration, #Food or #Love are used so much that there is little chance that your post will be filtered properly on them. On a post about food, for example, you can use Tags about the origin, ingredients or about the occasion. 


  1. Keep an eye on your Insights:

Ultimately, it's important to know what your followers like best. Which posts work, and which don't? Based on that, you can make a plan about what you want to post in the future.


Looking at last month's Reels on the Positive account, we see that funny videos are doing better. They have the most Engagement. So now we know that upcoming posts should be less commercial and a little more casual. This is probably due to the target audience Positive has on Instagram. As you can see here, the average age is between 25-34. This is a young group, who generally don't feel like looking at serious commercial content all the time..

Source: Screenshot Insights Positive account


The first two posts you see are both photos that have people in them. So from this we can see that more personal photos do better. The first post is a photo taken on Purple Friday. A national day that many people are familiar with. I don't want to call it a trend, so let's stick to Trending. Conclusion, keep a close eye on what is Trending and respond accordingly..




Source: Screenshot Insights Positive account

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