Instagram Algorithm in 2024: How to Beat it?

by Nawal Mansoor
13 minutes
Instagram algorithm

Did you know that in October 2021, over 1.16 billion people around the world were using Instagram? By October 2023 Instagram’s users doubled over to 2 billion expected to grow even more in 2024!

That’s a lot of the target audience that your brand can reach. But how can you make data-driven decisions to increase your engagement rate, reach, and traffic?

By figuring out how the new Instagram algorithm works – and making out the most of it!

So here’s the tea: Instagram wants to make sure the posts users see are the best ones perfectly suited for them. Let’s understand how.

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What is the Instagram algorithm?

Imagine scrolling through Instagram, but instead of seeing random posts, it’s like having a friend curate a feed just for you. That’s the magic of the Instagram algorithm, a sophisticated system, not just one algorithm, but a combination of them, cleverly adapting to how you interact with different sections of the app that learns your preferences and delivers the content you’ll actually enjoy.

Whether you’re catching up with close friends in stories or seeking inspiration on Explore, the algorithm personalizes your journey, ensuring no two users have the exact same experience.

By keeping up with the latest features and trends, you can adapt your strategy and keep your content engaging and relevant, ultimately reaching the audience you want. Remember, the algorithm is on your side, constantly evolving to provide the best possible experience, and with a little creativity, you can work alongside it to make your Instagram presence flourish.

How the Instagram algorithm works for Instagram feed posts and stories in 2024

Here’s what the Instagram team said in a series of tweets:  “What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc.

In a blog post announcement by Instagram, users are most likely to want to see stories and feeds from friends, family, and those closest to them.

Over the past few years, the Instagram feed algorithm has undergone significant change, shifting towards an interest-based paradigm.

However, how does the algorithm determine the kind of information you are most likely to engage with?

As stated by Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, “We add and remove signals and predictions over time, working to get better at surfacing what you’re interested in.” It’s a complicated process. These are the signals that Instagram prioritizes to rank your feed and stories:

  • Post information: Likes determine how popular a post is on Instagram. As well as timing, duration, and location (if applicable), it considers other minor details.
  • Information about the poster: It uses signals such as how often you interact with the person and whether those interactions are recent to determine how important the person is to you.
  • User activity: By analyzing factors such as how many posts you like and what types of content you engage with, Instagram tries to figure out what you might be interested in.
  • Interaction history: By looking at signals such as comments on a user’s posts, Instagram tries to determine your general interest in seeing content from them.

In a nutshell? To serve your content, Instagram tracks every interaction you make on the app, from the posts you like to the people you interact with.

How does Instagram show users’ feed content and assemble posts for them?

Six main factors play an important role in helping you understand how Instagram shows users’ feed content and assemble posts for them.

factors effecting instagram algorithm

Factors contingent on your Instagram activity

  • Relationship:

Instagram wants to make sure that the posts you see are from the ones you care about. That’s why it prioritizes posts from your friends, family, and the people you care about.

It evaluates who is closest to you based on:

  1. If you follow each other
  2. Regular interaction 
  3. People you send a direct message
  4. Whom do you search for
  5. Whose posts you frequently like, comment on, share, and like. 

But of course, if you’re a brand account, this differs for you: You aren’t best friends with your hundreds or thousands of followers.

(And they aren’t ready to be commenting on how amazing you look in the latest selfie you posted either.) 

That’s why you need to post relevant content that stands out to them, build meaningful relationships in your industry, and make it a habit to frequently engage with them. (and vice versa)

  • Interest:

This factor is determined by the user’s past behavior to predict if your post will be successful. How?

Instagram monitors the type of posts users have liked in the past, analyzes the content of your post, and ranks it accordingly. It wants to give you a healthy mix of diverse but relevant content.

It’s a combination of all the posts users have engaged with in the past. That’s how it’s able to highlight mouth-watering dessert recipes to foodies, or picturesque travel blogging posts to people who love to travel. 

According to Instagram, comments, likes, reshares and views are all essential to high ranking. 

That’s why it’s so important to show up to your feed consistently. To maintain a close relationship with your audience, to make them engage with your posts (likes, comments, reshares, saves interacting with stories – the more engaged your audience, the better!)

Of course, there’s no shortcut to this. It just requires you to maintain consistency in your posts, captions, and strategy. You can schedule your posts with the help of a social media scheduler like ContentStudio to plan ahead. 

Related Read: Social Media Algorithms 2024: Updates & Tips by Platform

  • Timeliness:

Instagram Algorithm also takes into consideration when your blog was posted. 

It wants to show you the most relevant content, which means the content posted most recently.

You can hack this by finding out the best time to post on social media. 

This is a combination of industry benchmarks, your audience demographics, and data analytics from your past publishing behavior.  

Pro tip: ContentStudio Analytics evaluates the best time to post to every social media based on your social media account’s insights.

If it turns out that your audience’s optimal time to post is at 3 am because you’re in an entirely different timezone than a major percentage of your audience, then we recommend using ContentStudio’s social media scheduling tool. 

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Other three factors impact your ranking on the Instagram feed but they’re more contingent on your audience’s behavior, rather than your actions.

Factors contingent on your Instagram audience’s behavior:

  • Frequency:

If you have active followers who frequently check their Instagram multiple times a day, they’ll likely see your posts on their feed. Their feed will almost look chronological since Instagram shows them the best posts since their last visit. 

On the other hand, if they check their social media less often, your post might be swallowed in the massive competition of what the algorithm thinks you’d like best. And they may not even scroll down enough to reach your post.

  • Following:

Your ranking on the feed also depends on how many people the user is following.

There’s a big difference between 100 and 1000. If they’re following a lot of people, it’ll hurt your chances of appearing on their feed. 

Similarly, users who follow fewer accounts are more likely to see relevant content from their friends, family, and the brands they care about. 

Related Read: The 2022 LinkedIn Algorithm Explained: How To Beat It?

  • Usage:

This refers to the usage patterns of an Instagram user. Do they have long sessions or short bursts?

If users spend more time on the app, they’re going to see all kinds of different content. 

If they don’t use Instagram all too much, there’s going to be a high competition to rank up in the first few slots.

Also Read: Guide to Instagram Collaborative Collections

How the Instagram algorithm works for reels in 2024

Understanding how to bypass the Instagram Reels algorithm could be extremely helpful to anyone wanting to grow their following on Instagram.

The Explore page’s algorithm and that of Instagram Reels are comparable. Users may discover new brands and creators by touching the video button at the bottom of the app, which opens the Reels feed. In this instance, having fun comes first.

Instagram recommends that brands and creators create Reels that are enjoyable, inspiring, or unorthodox and that they use features such as text, camera effects, or filters.

The important ranking signals for Instagram reels include:

  • User activity: Instagram uses the Reels you’ve recently interacted with to determine which content might be of interest to you.
  • Interaction history with the poster: You may be seeing videos from accounts that are unfamiliar to you. However, if you’ve already communicated with them, Instagram can gauge your potential interest in their posts.
  • Information about the reel: You may be seeing videos from accounts that are unfamiliar to you. However, if you’ve already communicated with them, Instagram can gauge your potential interest in their posts.
  • Information about the poster: The algorithm strives to provide each Reel creator an equal opportunity to reach their audience. To provide new and smaller creators an opportunity to flourish and connect with a larger audience. The popularity of videos is a crucial factor in enabling the algorithm to show information from a variety of sources.

You should also refrain from sharing low-resolution Instagram Reels as they can be blurry, or appear to have been reprocessed from other applications.

Such Reels will appear less frequently on the Explore Page as well as in the Instagram Reels tab.

Now that you understand exactly what the Reels algorithm tends to prefer, you can use this knowledge to improve content strategy and gain a competitive advantage.

Instagram recommends that brands and creators post Reels that are:

  • Entertaining and enjoyable (i.e. delights people, grabs their attention, makes them laugh, or has a fun surprise or twist)
  • Motivating (i.e. starting a trend that others can easily participate in)
  • Made using innovative tools such as text, filter, and camera effects.
  • Created using music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio from Reels that you created or found.

Are you daring enough to experiment with new things? Be your creative self, and see what kinds of reels work for you.

How the Instagram algorithm works for Instagram Explore page in 2024

For accounts that consumers do not currently follow, this is where things start to get interesting. The purpose of Explore, which can be accessed by touching the magnifying glass icon located at the bottom of the app, is to assist users in discovering new accounts. Read: make yourself visible to new audiences.

The images and videos in this grid-style feed are selected depending on the user’s previous actions, including posts that they have liked, saved, shared, and commented on.

Generally speaking, the Explore page and the feed algorithm seem to be very close in how they both serve up content that Instagram chooses to believe you’ll be interested in based on your interactions.

Unlike your Instagram feed, which is mostly made up of content from accounts you already follow, the Explore feed results would be almost made up entirely of content from accounts new to you.

“The most important actions we predict in Explore include likes, saves, and shares,” Instagram says.

The following are the most important signals for the Explore Page algorithm:

  • Post-specific information: What is the popularity of a post? How much — and how quickly did it reach the masses— did it really gain traction? If a large number of people like, comment on, share, and save a post, the post is highly likely to appear on the Explore Page.
  • Interactions with the person who posted: Have you previously interacted with this person or their content (even if you don’t follow them)?
  • User activity: What kind of content do you most often like, save, or share? How do you interact with Explore posts?
  • Information about the account that posts content: How many people have engaged with this account in the past few days or weeks?

With new topic categories and sophisticated search features added regularly, the Explore page is always changing.

For instance, you can use hashtags and keyword searches to find relevant information in a custom For You stream.

Related Read: How To Beat TikTok Algorithm in 2024?

How does Instagram deal with sensitive content? 

If a user’s content violates Instagram’s Recommendation Guidelines, it may be deemed ‘upsetting, offensive, or sensitive’, and the platform may limit its visibility in Explore rather than remove it from Instagram. They have admittedly limited content like this in Explore, but you can also use the Sensitive Content Control to see more or less content that could be troubling or offensive in Explore.
“Our Community Guidelines define what is and isn’t allowed on Instagram. These guidelines help keep Instagram an authentic and safe place,” according to Instagram

How you can tailor your Instagram experience?

  1. Pick your Close Friends.
  2. Mute accounts you’re not interested in.
  3. Mark recommended posts as “Not Interested.”

How does Instagram rank search results?

Search assists you in finding accounts and topics of interest. It differs from Feed, Stories, Reels, and Explore in that your feedback helps us decide what to show you. Your search tells us exactly what you’re looking for, and it’s obvious when the results aren’t relevant. 

You must get this right, so we try to organize search results based on what’s most important to you — whether it’s a close friend, a creator you admire, or vegan dessert recipes.

Assume you’re looking for health and fitness tips by experts or influencers. 

As you begin typing a word like “fitness,” the results show you accounts, hashtags, places, and audio matching the typed text in the search bar. In this case, results like @fitness and #fitness show up because “fitness” appears in their name.

The most essential signals that Instagram uses are as follows in order of importance as stated by Instagram:

  1. Your typed query in the Search bar. 
  2. Your activity in terms of accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past. 
  3. Information about the search results e.g. number of clicks, likes, shares, and follows

How to show up in search results on Instagram?

Use an appropriate username and profile name. Instagram matches search results to the text on your profile. Using an Instagram handle or profile name relevant to the content of your post is your best bet for appearing in relevant searches. If your friends or fans know you by a particular name, include it in your username or profile so that you appear when they search for you.

In your bio, include relevant keywords and locations. The same principle applies here as profile name and username. Make sure your bio contains keywords that describe who you are and what your account is about. If your account is location-specific, such as for a small business, including your location in your account’s bio can massively help people in your city, or state find you. 

Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. For a post to be found in Search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.

Want to learn more about Social Media Algorithms in 2024?

8 handy tips to make the Instagram algorithm work for you in 2024

The ever-evolving Instagram algorithm can feel like a complex puzzle, but understanding its core principles can help you reach a wider audience and achieve your goals on the platform. Here are 8 key tips to leverage the algorithm and boost your Instagram presence in 2024:

1. Embrace new features:

Instagram prioritizes content that utilizes its latest features. So, be sure to experiment with Reels, Live videos, and even the relatively new “Add Yours” sticker in Stories. This not only shows the platform you’re engaged in but also allows you to explore creative new ways to connect with your audience.

Read Up: Top Instagram Features for Marketers in 2024

2. Content variety is the key

Don’t stick to just one format! Posting a healthy mix of static images, carousels, Reels, Stories, and videos keeps your content fresh and caters to different user preferences. This variety can also encourage users to stay on your profile longer and engage with more of your content.

3. Find your posting sweet spot

While there’s no universal “best time to post,” analyzing your audience insights can help you determine when your followers are most active. Experiment with different times and days to see what generates the most engagement. Remember, consistency is also crucial – aim for regular posting to stay top-of-mind with your audience.

4. Hashtag like a pro

Hashtags are powerful discovery tools, but using irrelevant or overly generic ones can hurt your reach. Research relevant hashtags specific to your niche and target audience, aiming for a mix of popular and less competitive ones. Remember, quality over quantity is key here.

Related Read: Hashtag Marketing in 2024: Everything You Need to Know

5. Spark genuine engagement 

The algorithm prioritizes posts that generate real engagement, not just likes and comments.

Reels and posts both use engagement as a key ranking criterion. Therefore, you need to increase your Instagram engagement if you want your posts to appear higher in Explore, Feed, and Reels. Although likes are fantastic, comments are even more effective at increasing interactions and raising your profile’s likelihood of being seen on the Explore page.

Read Up: 15 Tips to Grow Your Instagram Engagement Rate

To get more people to comment on your posts, make the most of the space in your captions. Compose captions that enhance the material by providing background information or anecdotes. (An additional fantastic advantage of this is that it increases the amount of time viewers spend engaging with your posts as they peruse your caption.)

6. Post on optimal timing 

Within the first few seconds of uploading your content, you should aim to receive as many likes and comments as you can, as interactions play a significant role in the Instagram algorithm’s ranking system. Because of this, it’s critical to engage your followers with your posts and Stories at the optimal times, when they are most inclined to do so. If not, postings and stories from other accounts that are already receiving a tonne of interaction could bury your content.

In general, Thursdays are the best days to post, based on data from several studies. Additionally, between 11 AM and 1 PM is the ideal time to publish. In addition, Wednesdays at 11 AM and Fridays at 2 PM are excellent times to post.

6. Consistently share Instagram reels

Instagram’s algorithm continues to prominently push Instagram Reels throughout the platform.

Reels are a key strategy for growth and discovery on Instagram because they also receive twice as much real estate on the Explore page.

7. Use Instagram Analytics to monitor what’s really working

Looking into the details of your Instagram statistics is one of the finest ways to find out what your audience finds interesting and enjoyable to watch.

You can see which of your posts have received the most interactions by using Instagram insights. If you want to delve deeper into more specialized engagement metrics, you can also arrange posts by the majority of comments, likes, and saves. Try out this free Instagram competitor analytics tool!

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8. Encourage more interactions with Instagram stories stickers

Instagram Stories stickers are a fantastic tool for promoting audience interaction; the more interaction your posts receive, the more the Instagram algorithm will favor them.

Although there are many Instagram stickers available, the poll, emoji slider, and question stickers are the most effective at increasing user interaction.

HELP: To give yourself that extra push, put a sticker on your first story!

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Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Threads App

Outsmart Instagram algorithm: Key takeaways

Hopefully, we’ve persuaded you that Instagram’s algorithm isn’t a strange humanoid out there meant to frustrate you. As aforementioned, you can beat the Instagram algorithm by simply not taking it too seriously. Instead of getting preoccupied with it, consider your audience and what they want to interact with. Because that is what the Instagram algorithm seeks.

To summarize, just focus on three things:

1- Start understanding your target audience
2- Produce high-quality content consistent
3- Use state-of-the-art tools for Instagram

Once caught up with these, be sure to improve visibility and build an audience!

Do check out 30+ Instagram Tools for Marketers


Instagram determines which material is most relevant for each user by utilizing a mix of algorithms, procedures, and classifiers. It takes into account many signals, including user behavior, post details, interaction history, and content author information.

Increasing your engagement rate is the key to making your Instagram post appear at the top of the feed. In addition to producing top-notch material, ask readers to leave comments on your pieces so that a larger audience can view them in their Feed.

You can increase the number of Story views by promoting interactions with polls, emoji sliders, and question stickers, as Instagram gives priority to these types of interactions when sorting Stories.

Will posting Stories or Live videos affect ranking?

Although using Instagram Stories or live streaming won’t change how your material appears in the feed, experimenting with a variety of content can increase the likelihood that it will appear in additional locations on the app.


Nawal Mansoor

Meet Nawal, the savvy Digital Marketer from ContentStudio, who keeps up with the latest trends and technologies ready to elevate your social media and content marketing game. With a knack for crafting engaging and accessible strategies, she empowers brands to shine in the digital spotlight. Beyond the digital landscape, Nawal is an adventurous soul always travel-ready!

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