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Although it was in 2016 when  Instagram  decided to order the publications on its  timeline  through an  algorithm , and not in chronological order, as it had been doing until then, little or nothing was known about the factors that affected said indexing. However, thanks to a  meeting with the media  starring Julian Gutman, product manager of the  social network , we have been able to learn the ins and outs of  the Instagram algorithm .


In general,  Instagram  opted to eliminate the chronological order to give greater prominence to the  engagement  of the  contents,  fighting the operation of the automatic models, to the buyers of “Like” / comments and users of  bots .

However, behind this decision is a pre-eminently economic motivation, although the  social network explains it in a different way  facing the gallery : people spend more time in the application because the new  algorithm  justifies that people see in this way. the most important posts (otherwise they would be overlooked).

With the new   algorithmic feed ,  Instagram  claims that people view 90 percent of their “friends and family’s” posts, almost double that compared to the 50 percent percentage from the previous   chronological feed .


Therefore, users of the platform spend more time browsing the application through an algorithmic rather than a chronological combination. Although that time has not been quantified at the moment, it is a round business for Instagram that carries out a simple rule of three: the longer the more ads seen and, therefore, the more  income for Instagram .

With this step Instagram goes further ahead when determining and establishing who these people are based on certain clues that we give them from our account such as the frequency with which their publications are commented or if notifications are configured in them. It also uses some data linked to  users’ Facebook accounts  to help determine these relationships, Gutman’s own words, although he refuses to make that information public

Did you also know that although there is a single algorithm, its operation differs depending on whether it is stories , employee hashtags or feed ? Despite everything, knowing the changes in approach in the  Instagram algorithm  can become an opportunity if you have a personal account but, above all, if you have a   corporate  Instagram profile and want to develop  digital marketing strategies  . Below we explain why.


Three are the most relevant actors in the new  Instagram algorithm  that determine the order in which publications appear: interest, news and  engagement  (recently published images, those that have received the most  likes  and those that have attracted the most attention ).

Although the new algorithm of Instagram is not a dish of good taste for all its users, the social network considers that offering the possibility of choosing between the new order and the old   inverse chronological feed would increase the complexity in the use of the platform. In addition, it justifies that this new option is valid for users who spend little time in the application, since they get to see the most relevant things quickly. To reaffirm itself, Instagram announces that it will not penalize users who post too frequently or hide content from people who include too many  hashtags .

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The social network establishes results of outreach and visualizations based on the ‘mix’ of different interaction variables between your account and your followers. Below we detail these variables:

  • Publications, stories and accounts in which you have shown to have interest (all based on the number of views on your part)
  • Accounts , posts and stories with the highest number of interactions
  • Users with whom you have maintained some type of communication (through comments, private messages …)
  • Number of followers and followers of your account
  • Frequency of your posts in the feed or in stories
  • Instagram usage time per day
  • Hashtags : which are the most and least employees and how many do you usually use in your publications?
  • Post frequency of your followers
  • Most published time of your followers
  • Type of posts you follow

What does all this mean? Well, simply that the Instagram algorithm takes percentage data of all the variables detailed above. For this reason, we highlight the importance that the important thing in Instagram is not to have a large number of followers, but rather the fundamental thing is that those followers are of quality (that they interact and participate in your publications).


How we advance you to the beginning of the post, the algorithm of Instagram not only influences the feed, it also determines which stories will appear to certain users as well as their order of visibility at start. As you are surely imagining, new variables come into play again :

  • Hashtag employees in the stories
  • Number of views of the stories
  • If the visualizations are partial or total : the visualizations that last a few seconds is ‘penalized’ as it is classified as uninteresting
  • Time it takes for a user to switch to other stories
  • Messages generated as a result of a storie
  • Users mentioned in stories

By way of conclusion of this section, it is important to highlight that the stories that are viewed in their entirety will have priority over the stories that are skipped by users or are only displayed for a few seconds. Make good use of the stories will help you put the algorithm Instagram in your favor !


The hashtag on Instagram, are an excellent factor that helps us get traffic in our publications. Thanks to them we will be able to better position our content on the social network… make use of them! Any user who minimally reasons the operation of the Instagram algorithm , will know the hashtags are essential .

The variables that determine the order of featured posts based on specific hashtags are:

  • Post time range
  • Interaction and display rate
  • Hashtags to position: it will be necessary to have a number of interactions in a certain time, in relation to the number of followers of the account.

These publications will base their order in relation to the importance among the detailed variables.

Although the new algorithm of Instagram is not a dish of good taste for all its users, the social network considers that offering the possibility of choosing between the new order and the old inverse chronological feed would increase the complexity in the use of the platform. In addition, it justifies that this new option is valid for users who spend little time in the application, since they get to see the most relevant things quickly. To reaffirm itself, Instagram announces that it will not penalize users who post too frequently or hide content from people who include too many hashtags .

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In addition to this chronological change in the algorithm, Instagram includes the “new posts” button so that each user can decide how their own feed is updated (similar to “seeing new tweets” on Twitter ). In this way, he prevents the social network from doing it for him. But this does not end here because the social image network ventures new surprises in the coming months, such as the recent launch of IGTV … and all with the aim that users interact and find the publications that are most interesting to them …


Changes to Instagram’s algorithm raise questions like Do people post less in the feed due to Instagram Stories ? According to Gutman himself: “Although we do not break it down, sharing on Instagram in general has ended.” This confirms the idea that Stories is cannibalizing the Instagram feed . Did you know that Spain is the most active country regarding the use of Instagram Stories ?

Does the Instagram algorithm favor videos over photos? “You could prioritize videos if Instagram thinks you, the user, prefer videos.” But ” feed classification does not universally favor the video or photo format,” says Gutman.

Does the algorithm prioritize posts from users who use Stories or Instagram Live more often? “No, we don’t prefer accounts that use different parts of the application more than others. The only way to get top-rated content is to produce great content, ”says Christina d’Avignon, product designer for Instagram. Of course, there are other ways to increase the likelihood that people will find your post like adding tags or a location sign, which means your post will appear in more search results.

Can you be in the lower ranking for posting too much on Instagram? “No, we don’t rank people for posting frequently. We make sure their feed is diverse so we can split posts, “says d’Avignon, adding that people do this less than they should now that Instagram includes the feature where you can share multiple photos at once .

Do verified users or business accounts rank higher in feed than regular users? No, according to d’Avignon. “We treat everyone the same way,” he explains.

If I post a video, will it work better on the Instagram algorithm? No longer. While this may have been true in the past, when videos were new to Instagram, “the ranking of feed not universally favors the picture or video format” replies d’Avignon.

Does using new Instagram features help your posts perform better on the Instagram algorithm? No, using Instagram Stories or Instagram Live will no longer help posts in the feed . According to Recode, designer of Instagram products: “we do not prefer accounts that use different parts of the application more than others. The only way to get better-ranked content is to produce great content. ”

What about the Instagram shadowbang ? Can I use Instagram hashtags to keep my posts from appearing? A year ago, many accounts were affected by a mysterious “bug” in the Instagram app that considered a post to be clandestine if it used the same hashtags over and over again. Something that Instagram classified as ” spam ” behavior . Since then, accounts with fake followers and fake engagement are declining at an alarming rate on the platform.


The change in the algorithm of Instagram generates our first suggestion: if you want to get more participation you must find your best time to post on Instagram. Also, if you are not sure that the new feed shows the accounts that you really want to see, you can mute those that do not interest you. Here we list many more:

  • Use the platform to run contests that enhance tagging, likes , comments, and save and republish options. With all this interaction, Instagram interprets the content as relevant to the community. The new algorithm favors the engagement of the publications during the first 20-30 minutes and penalizes automated counterfeits.
  • The images and videos of professional quality are still the protagonists of the new Instagram. Photos of people or products taken with originality, in unique settings and from different angles continue to attract the platform.
  • Use Instagram Live to transmit because it is very easy to activate with a simple scroll. With this functionality you will get the attention of your followers (as long as they have notifications activated). This option is ideal for marketing strategies because it gets 100% attention from tuned followers.
  • Create a hashtag strategy establishing a scale of minimums and maximums. Do not overdo it with hashtags and use them correctly because Instagram allows up to 30 per post, although with 5 it is more than enough. When you use them, put yourself in the place of the user who is really going to look for them and so you can define them better.
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  • Be very active on Instagram Stories because getting more people to use this feature for Instagram takes you away from Snapchat . The ideal is to publish a couple of stories a day at different times and, thus, check which one has received more visits. When you have discovered the hours of publication, create Stories with fun messages and content that encourages the action of your followers.
  • Take advantage of the popularity of Instagram to channel promotional actions and discounts that attract new customers. If you sell physical products, ask your followers to take a photo of your product and tag it in the photo and in the description. It is a kind of free advertising with which you can also retain your regular followers.
  • Consider an action with influencers . The new algorithm loves big account engagement and influencer marketing works pretty well. Ask the influencer to get involved with your account posts, comment on them, include likes, etc. If this happens during the first 30 minutes of publication, you will extend the scope even further.
    • Schedule publication times and content. Pre-test and experiment to find out when your audience is most active. When you know the hot weather, schedule your posts in advance and generate new content.
    • Finally, take advantage of IGTV , the video broadcasting application that aims to dethrone YouTube.

    Taking into account these first changes in the algorithm of Instagram we advise you to do tests with your publications, segmenting the audience and analyzing the engagement they obtain with your followers. If you are an Influencer or an expanding brand, do not forget that, despite these variables, content is still the secret to succeed in the image social network . Be original, use creativity and ingenuity and publish to be seen. If your content falls in love with your audience and reaches new followers, you will have found the secret formula of the Instagram algorithm.

    If you need additional information related to the Instagram social network , such as how to carry out advertising on Instagram Ads , or simply need advice on online marketing , remember that at  , digital marketing agency in Madrid , we have a multitude of services to make them available to you: web analytics , digital marketing training , content marketing , influencer marketing

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