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How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work? [+2024 Changes]

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work? [+2024 Changes]

July 3, 2024
8 mins
Allan Martyr
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Allan Martyr
5 min read
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Instagram continues to evolve, and understanding how the Instagram algorithm works in 2024 is crucial for content creators and businesses alike. This guide delves into the intricacies of the Instagram algorithm, including how it affects Instagram Reels, Stories, the Explore page, and the best times to post. Let's break down the key components and strategies to leverage Instagram's algorithm effectively.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work?

The Instagram algorithm is a complex system that determines the visibility and reach of your posts. It considers various factors such as engagement, post frequency, and user interactions. In 2024, the algorithm focuses heavily on engagement metrics like shares and watch time. Here’s a detailed look at the main elements of the Instagram algorithm:

Engagement Metrics

Engagement metrics are paramount. Shares and watch time play a significant role in boosting your content's visibility. Likes and comments are less influential compared to shares, which indicate that your content is valuable enough for users to share with others.

Content Types and Their Impact

Different content types are prioritized differently by the algorithm.

For example:

  • Instagram Reels Algorithm: Reels are favored due to their potential for high engagement and viral reach. Short reels often perform better as they are more likely to be watched in full.
  • Instagram Story Algorithm: Stories rely on regular interaction and the immediate engagement of followers. Posting consistently and engaging with viewers through polls, questions, and stickers can enhance your story reach.
  • Instagram Explore Page Algorithm: Content on the Explore page is shown to a broader audience, including non-followers. This is driven by engagement metrics and the general appeal of the content.

💡Related read: Get 4x Engagement on YouTube and Instagram using

Instagram Reels Algorithm

The Importance of Reels

Instagram is in fierce competition with TikTok, making Reels a focal point. To maximize the benefits of the Instagram Reels algorithm, consider these tips:

  1. Post Daily: Consistency is key. Aim to post at least one Reel per day.
  2. Engaging Hooks: The first few seconds are critical. Ensure your content grabs attention immediately.
  3. Quality and Originality: Use high-quality, original content. Avoid watermarks from other platforms like TikTok, as they can reduce your reach.
  4. SEO and Hashtags: Fill your Reel captions with popular keywords and use a mix of high and low-tier hashtags.

💡Related read: How to Add Multiple Styled Text to Instagram Reels?

Best Practices for Reels

  1. Use All 30 Hashtags: Contrary to some advice, using all 30 hashtags until you have a substantial following can be beneficial as per this Reddit thread.
  2. Engage Quickly: Respond to comments and messages as soon as possible to boost engagement.
  3. Create Relatable Content: Focus on authentic, relatable content that resonates with your audience.

Instagram Story Algorithm

Maximizing Story Reach

Stories offer a unique opportunity to engage with your audience. Here’s how to make the most of the Instagram story algorithm:

  1. Consistency: Post Stories regularly to stay at the top of your followers' feeds.
  2. Interactive Elements: Use polls, questions, and quizzes to increase engagement.
  3. Cross-Promotion: Share your posts and Reels in your Stories to drive more traffic to your main content.

Tips for Engaging Stories

  1. Personal Touch: Share behind-the-scenes content to create a personal connection with your audience.
  2. Immediate Engagement: Respond to story replies quickly to foster a sense of community.
  3. Highlight Features: Use Highlights to categorize and save your best Stories for new followers.

Instagram Explore Page Algorithm

Getting Featured on the Explore Page

Being featured on the Explore page can significantly boost your visibility. Here’s how to leverage the Instagram Explore page algorithm:

  1. High Engagement: Focus on creating content that encourages likes, comments, and shares.
  2. Quality Over Quantity: Ensure your posts are visually appealing and of high quality.
  3. Relevant Hashtags: Use hashtags relevant to your content to reach a broader audience.

Strategies for Success

  1. Engage with Top Creators: Interact with popular accounts in your niche. Comment on their posts within the first hour to gain visibility.
  2. Community Building: Follow and engage with active followers of your competitors.
  3. Share User Content: Repost content from potential clients or relevant users to build relationships.

Instagram Algorithm Best Time to Post

Finding the Optimal Posting Time

Posting at the right time can make a significant difference in your content’s performance. Read our post on how to determine the best time to post on Instagram.

Practical Tips

  1. Morning and Evening: Typically, posting early in the morning or late in the evening yields better results.
  2. Weekends vs. Weekdays: Experiment with weekend posts to see if they perform better than weekday posts.
  3. Regular Updates: Continuously review and adjust your posting schedule based on your latest engagement data.

Engaging Effectively

Building a Loyal Following

Engagement is the cornerstone of growth on Instagram. Here are some tips to keep your audience engaged:

  1. Quick Responses: Reply to comments and messages within the initial hour of posting.
  2. Interactive Posts: Use questions and prompts in your captions to encourage comments.
  3. App Engagement: Perform most of your content editing within the Instagram app to avoid platform biases.

Authentic Interaction

  1. Genuine Comments: Comment meaningfully on posts by top creators and followers.
  2. Community Content: Share content from followers and potential clients to build relationships.
  3. Highlighting Content: Use story highlights to showcase your best and most engaging content.

Strategies to Optimize Your Instagram Performance

1. Consistent Posting Schedule

Consistency in posting is vital. While some suggest daily posts, it’s essential to find a frequency that works for you. For instance, posting 5 times a week consistently has worked well for many, while others succeed with 3 posts per week.

2. Manual Posting Over Scheduling

Many users have found that manually posting content, rather than using Instagram’s or Meta’s scheduling tools, results in better reach and engagement. Scheduling tools have been known to be glitchy and may not post at the desired times, leading to reduced visibility.

3. Avoid Deleting and Reposting

Deleting and reposting content on the same day can negatively impact your reach. Instead, consider archiving posts and reposting them later. This approach helps maintain your post's performance and avoids algorithmic penalties.

4. Experiment with Posting Times

While some users report success with scheduled posts, others find better results by posting manually at strategic times. For instance, scheduling posts for peak traffic times, such as 1pm EST, can increase engagement. However, it's essential to experiment and find what works best for your audience.

5. Effective Use of Hashtags

Hashtags still play a role in content discovery. Instead of using the maximum 30 unique hashtags, focus on 10 relevant ones, including a few popular hashtags. This targeted approach can help increase your post's visibility without appearing spammy.

6. Patience with Post Performance

Instagram’s algorithm can take a few days to push your content. It’s common for a post to start with low views and gradually increase over a few days. Patience is key, as initial low performance doesn’t necessarily indicate a failed post.

7. Analyzing Viral Content

If a reel or post performs exceptionally well, analyze the factors contributing to its success. Often, content featuring animals, old archive footage, or universally appealing themes tends to go viral. Use these insights to inform your future content strategy.

8. Adapting to Algorithm Changes

Instagram's algorithm changes frequently. As of now, there’s a shift towards prioritizing content for non-followers in the initial 10-20 minutes after posting. This change aims to give smaller accounts a fair chance to compete with larger ones. Stay updated with these changes and adapt your strategy accordingly.

9. Building a Personal Network

Starting from scratch on Instagram has become more challenging. Building a personal network through meaningful connections and engagement is crucial. Focus on creating a strong community rather than relying solely on hashtags.

10. Community Engagement

While reels can help you go viral, they can also lead to ghost followers if not managed properly. Brands and collaborators prefer a strong, engaged community. Use trending sounds, high-quality videos, and fast cuts to enhance your reel's performance.

11. Balancing Reels and Photos

Despite the popularity of reels, photos still hold value. Maintaining a balance between reels and photos can help cater to different audience preferences and keep your content diverse.

12. Encouraging Followers to Add You to Close Friends

Encourage your followers to add you to their close friends list. This ensures your posts are seen by more people, increasing engagement and visibility.

13. Managing Hashtag Usage

Some users find that avoiding hashtags altogether improves their post performance. This varies from account to account, so experiment to see what works best for you.

14. Dealing with Account Flags

If you receive a terms and conditions warning, it’s best to go offline for 1 week. This prevents further penalties and gives your account a chance to recover.

15. Being Authentic and Having Fun

Authenticity resonates with audiences. Be yourself, have fun, and your content will naturally attract like-minded followers.


All of this guidance might appear intimidating, and growing your Instagram account amid the changing Instagram algorithm can indeed be challenging. However, there is a bright side—the cumulative effect of growth becomes more pronounced over time. Moving from 1K to 2K followers takes less effort than going from 0 to 1K, and progressing from 100K to 200K followers is faster than from 10K to 20K. is a social media autopilot tool that caters to agencies, marketers, and small businesses. You can crop , trim and add subtitles to your Instagram video in a jiffy with our AI-powered tech. We see hundreds of thousands of videos posted on social media, driving us to focus on adapting with the changing social media landscape. Try today to create, edit and publish videos on Instagram on the go for garnering higher engagement.

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