Beating the Instagram Algorithm: The Instagram algorithm is constantly changing and making it difficult for marketers to keep up. In order to avoid scrambling, it is important to stay up-to-date with the app’s algorithm and stay ahead of the game.

How can you make the algorithm work for your brand and continue to drive engagement and gain followers? Check out these 8 strategies to beat Instagram’s algorithm.

How Does Instagram’s Algorithm Work?

In 2016, the Instagram algorithm changed from a reverse-chronological order to a more sophisticated and personalised algorithm similar to the one Facebook uses.

This algorithm instead prioritises posts that are timely, recent, and relevant to the interest of the user. Instagram has since specified its algorithm, giving marketers six key signals to focus on. These are:

  1. Interest: A user’s interest in new content is based on their engagement with content of similar topics.
  2. Timeliness: New posts are prioritised over older ones.
  3. Relationship: Content from accounts that the user follows and interacts with are prioritised.
  4. Frequency: How often users use Instagram affects what content will be at the top of their feed.
  5. Following: The number of accounts a user follows impacts what content they see on their feed. If they follow a lot of accounts, they will see less content from each account.
  6. Usage: Users who spend more time scrolling through their feed are more likely to see posts that the Instagram algorithm pushes for them.

Once you understand these six signals, you can begin breaking down how to hack Instagram’s algorithm.

Beating the Instagram Algorithm

8 Strategies To Beat the Instagram Algorithm

Although there isn’t a perfect strategy for gaming the Instagram algorithm, growing your reach and engagement is easily achievable thanks to what we do know about what Instagram prioritises.

In order to guarantee that your audience will see your content, make sure to use these tried and true strategies.

Up Your Image Quality
Beating the Instagram Algorithm

While this may seem obvious, Instagram has directly stated that better content leads to ranking higher in your audience’s feeds.

The question is: what is good content? It depends on the user.

No matter what content you’re posting, it is good practise to share images that are visually appealing and capture your audience’s attention. Try posting beautiful sceneries or using bold colours. These kinds of things are what makes someone stop scrolling and like your photo.

Even if you’re in a “boring” industry, you should be using these tactics to make your content pop! If you’re struggling with ideas, check out some of your competitors’ pages, and try using editing apps to give your photos a professional look.

Post Consistent Stories

Although stories do not influence the Instagram algorithm, they are still very powerful for marketing on the platform.

Stories are located at the top of your follower’s feeds, which can put you front and center as soon as they open the app. If they’re seeing your content first, your brand will be on their mind.

Push More Video Content

Even though Instagram does not directly prioritise video content over photos, there’s no denying that video is just as, if not more, important.

Video content is uniquely eye-catching for audiences because video automatically begins playing as they scroll past the post. This alone can make video content better than images at making consumers stop and look at your content.

If you’re looking into adding more video content to your strategy, Instagram is already one step ahead of you. The platform has continuously been adding new video features such as IGTV and Reels, which can appear in the general feed and on their own tabs within your profile.

Although creating video content may sound like a very time consuming process, it actually can be quite simple. While branded commercial ads need to be more professional and well edited, many audiences strongly prefer amateur looking content. It makes brands feel more human and relatable.

Go Live

Just like Stories, Lives don’t specifically impact the Instagram algorithm. However, the feature still has many benefits.

When you host an Instagram Live, notifications can be sent out to your followers to invite them to join the audience. Even if they don’t get the notification, Lives are shown at the very top of users’ feeds, in front of other pages’ Stories, which can put you front and center.

Similarly to video content, the great thing about Live videos is that they are authentic and build a relationship with your audience. Brands can use this feature to host Q&A’s digital events, and product announcements. All of these invite consumers to actually get to know the people behind the brand.

Create Interactive Captions

Interaction and engagement drives the Instagram algorithm. On the platform, likes, shares, and comments are very valuable.

One great way to drive engagement is to ask for it! Captioning your post with a question, or “tag a friend who…” will get your followers interacting with your content and boost your brand within the Instagram algorithm.

Make sure not to use these captions on every post, however. When it is overused, the platform may punish you for baiting engagement and not show your posts high in users’ feeds. Instead, use meaningful engagement captions and vary your copy for different posts.

Use Hashtags to Your Advantage
benefit of using Hashtags

Hashtags are what allows your content to be searchable on Instagram. By using branded, industry, and community hashtags, you can help new customers find your content.

Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags onto your posts. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Make sure the ones you use are relevant to your brand and not just spam.

When looking for the right hashtags to use, you may be drawn to ones that are incredibly viral and popular. However, using a hashtag that is also used on hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of other posts will cause your content to get lost among all the others.

Instead, try to find relevant hashtags with 10,000 to 300,000 posts. This means that people are interested in them, and will also be able to find your specific content.

Host Contests or Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are some of the most engaged with posts on Instagram – because who doesn’t love free stuff!

Contests on Instagram are a great way to reach a larger audience. To enter, have your followers post a photo with your branded hashtag or share your post on their Story. This way, their followers will see it, and may want to enter too!

If you are going to host a giveaway or contest, make sure you can handle the number of entries and produce whatever the prize is, whether it’s a giftcard to your shop or something more. Also, try to space these out so there is enough time to plan and generate excitement for your next contest.

A screenshot from @quizclothing on Instagram promoting their latest giveaway

Know Your Audience’s Schedule

One of the easiest ways to beat the Instagram algorithm is to post when your audience is online.

In order to figure out when your audience is using the app, check your analytics. If you have an Instagram for Business account, you can find this information on Instagram Insights on your profile.

While posting during these times does not completely guarantee that your audience will see your post, it will help you hit some of the five key signals that Instagram’s algorithm looks for, such as timeliness.

How To Crack the Instagram Algorithm

Although algorithms change frequently, they don’t have to ruin your current marketing strategy. Even with the new changes, there’s still many ways for brands to engage their audience and create unique, interesting content.

By taking note of the changes made, using the new features, and catering to your audience, you can take on the new algorithm in stride. You should also check out the blog on Instagram facts to stay up to date with current changes on the social media platform.

Cracking the Code: Decoding Instagram’s Algorithmic Puzzle in 2024

Forget the outdated four-factor mantra of engagement, relevancy, timeliness, and usage! The Instagram algorithm is a living, breathing beast, constantly evolving and demanding more nuanced understanding. Let’s delve into the intricate subcategories within each factor, showcasing how to optimize your content for maximum reach and engagement in 2024.

1. Relevance Unraveled:

  • Topic Clusters: Don’t just post about fashion; specialize in sustainable fashion, vintage finds, or street style. Instagram rewards focused content by placing you in relevant topic clusters, increasing discoverability for users genuinely interested in your niche.
  • User Intent: Analyze your audience’s search queries and engagement patterns. Are they seeking inspiration, information, or entertainment? Craft content that caters to their specific needs, boosting their satisfaction and encouraging interaction.

Real-world Example: A travel blogger who optimizes for the “sustainable tourism” cluster, utilizing targeted hashtags and captions discussing eco-friendly destinations, will attract an engaged audience with higher intent to book or visit those places, leading to organic reach and website traffic growth.

2. Timeliness Takes Flight:

  • Peak Engagement Hours: Research your audience’s timezone and preferred online times. Posting during these peak hours maximizes the chances of your content being seen and interacted with, organically amplifying its reach.
  • Trending Topics: Capitalize on current events and popular hashtags relevant to your niche. Riding the wave of trends ensures your content stays fresh and visible to users actively searching for related information.

Real-world Example: A fitness influencer posting workout routines during their audience’s morning gym hours sees higher viewership and engagement compared to random afternoon posts. Additionally, incorporating a trending fitness challenge hashtag into their content attracts new followers interested in the same topic.

3. Usage Unveiled:

  • Story Views: Prioritize captivating Story content with engaging polls, Q&A sessions, and interactive elements. High viewership signals Instagram that your Stories are valuable, potentially boosting their placement in users’ feeds.
  • Swipe-ups and Direct Messages: Encourage clicks and direct communication! Include clear calls to action and respond promptly to DMs. Increased user interaction demonstrates content relevance and can propel your posts organically.

Real-world Example: A food blogger sharing behind-the-scenes recipe stories with interactive polls for ingredient preferences and engaging in open DMs about cooking tips sees their Stories highlighted more prominently in viewers’ feeds, leading to increased website visits and recipe engagement.

Remember: The algorithm is a fluid entity, and these factors continuously evolve. Stay informed about platform updates, analyze your own data, and adapt your strategy accordingly. Continuous experimentation and audience-centric content creation are key to staying ahead of the curve and securing organic reach in the ever-changing world of Instagram.

Content Optimization: Crafting the Hook That Reels Them In

So you’ve decoded the algorithm’s hidden language; now it’s time to craft content that speaks its native tongue! Let’s dive into platform-specific strategies for Reels, Stories, IGTV, and Lives, unlock the power of video, and unleash irresistible captions that spark conversation and ignite action.

1. Mastering the Microverse: Reels & Stories:

  • Reels: Embrace short-form magic! Focus on high-quality, engaging snippets under 60 seconds. Utilize trending music, jump cuts, and text overlays to capture attention. Experiment with trending dance challenges, educational tutorials, or behind-the-scenes glimpses to keep viewers hooked.
  • Stories: Don’t just post; be interactive! Polls, quizzes, Q&A sessions, and countdown stickers transform passive viewers into active participants. Host live polls on product choices or ask for recipe suggestions – the possibilities are endless!

2. Video Takes Center Stage:

Forget static squares; Instagram is a video kingdom! Prioritize video content across all formats. Utilize Reels and Stories, but don’t neglect IGTV for longer-form narratives or Lives for real-time engagement. Invest in good lighting, audio, and editing to polish your video productions and grab viewers’ attention.

3. Hashtag Heroism: Research, Relevancy, and Refinement:

Ditch the generic, embrace the niche! Conduct thorough hashtag research using Instagram’s search function and tools like Later or HypeAuditor. Identify relevant hashtags specific to your content and target audience. Avoid overused or banned hashtags and curate a mix of popular and niche tags to maximize discoverability. Remember, quality over quantity!

4. Caption Craft: The Art of Conversation Starters:

Captions are more than just pretty words; they’re conversation catalysts. Go beyond “stunning view” and craft compelling narratives. Ask questions, tell stories, share insights, and add humor. Use emojis strategically to break up text and inject personality. Encourage comments and replies by ending with open-ended questions or calls to action.

Bonus Tip: Utilize location tags on Stories and Live sessions to tap into local audiences and boost visibility within your geographic area.

Remember, content optimization is an ongoing journey, not a one-time destination. Analyze your insights, identify what resonates with your audience, and adapt your strategies accordingly. By mastering platform-specific nuances, harnessing the power of video, and crafting irresistible captions, you’ll create content that speaks the algorithm’s language and fuels organic engagement on Instagram.

So, unleash your inner storyteller, refine your hashtag prowess, and watch your audience be captivated by your content!

Building Bridges, Not Walls: Fostering Genuine Connection on Instagram

In the Instagram landscape, it’s tempting to chase followers and likes like fleeting butterflies. But true success lies not in numbers, but in cultivating authentic relationships and fostering a vibrant community. Forget the follow-for-follow charade; embrace genuine engagement and watch your online world blossom.

1. From Followers to Friends: Authentic Interaction is Key:

  • Respond with Heart: Treat comments and messages with care. Respond promptly, thoughtfully, and personally. Show genuine interest in your audience’s thoughts and questions. This fosters a sense of connection and encourages further interaction.
  • Comments are Conversations: Don’t just drop one-liner replies. Ask follow-up questions, share anecdotes, and spark discussions. Make your comments feel like two-way conversations, not robotic pronouncements.
  • Polls and Q&A Sessions: Engage your audience actively. Use polls to gauge their preferences, host Q&A sessions to answer their burning questions, and encourage them to participate in shaping your content.

2. Collaboration: A Community Multiplier:

Don’t go it alone! Partner with other creators and brands in your niche. Host joint Instagram Live sessions, create collaborative Reels challenges, or swap shoutouts to your respective audiences. This cross-promotion expands your reach, exposes you to new communities, and fosters a sense of collaboration within your industry.

3. Community Champions: Empower Your Fans:

  • Host Giveaways and Contests: Reward your loyal followers with engaging contests and giveaways. This incentivizes active participation, increases brand awareness, and creates a sense of excitement within your community.
  • Highlight Fan Content: Share user-generated content on your Stories or feed. Tag the creators, give them credit, and celebrate their contributions. This encourages further content creation and strengthens the feeling of belonging within your community.
  • Respond to Direct Messages: Don’t neglect the DMs! Take time to respond to personal messages, answer questions, and offer support. This personalized touch builds trust and loyalty, turning casual followers into dedicated community members.

Remember: Building a community takes time and dedication. Be patient, consistent, and authentic in your interactions. Show your genuine interest in your audience, value their opinions, and foster a space where they feel heard, seen, and appreciated. When you build bridges of genuine connection, you’ll witness the magic of a thriving online community that propels your Instagram presence to new heights.

Bonus Tip: Organize virtual or in-person meetups with your online community. This strengthens offline connections and personalizes the online interactions, solidifying the bonds you’ve nurtured in the digital space.

Beating the Instagram Algorithm FAQ

Q: How often should I analyze my Instagram Insights?

A: Aim to review your Insights at least weekly, but ideally analyze them after each post or campaign to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Q: What if my engagement is really low?

A: Analyze your content, audience demographics, and posting times. Try A/B testing different strategies and hashtags, and ensure you’re creating content that resonates with your audience’s interests.

Q: How can I track my A/B testing results effectively?

A: Use spreadsheets or note-taking apps to document your tests, along with the specific changes you implemented and the resulting data. Compare results across the various tests to identify the most successful strategies.

Q: Where can I find more resources on Instagram marketing?

A: Check out websites like Social Media Today, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social, as well as blogs and social media accounts of leading marketing experts and influencers in your niche.

Q: How can I stay motivated to consistently analyze and adapt my Instagram strategy?

A: Celebrate your successes! Track your progress over time and highlight areas where you’ve seen improvement. Remember, consistent adaptation and learning are key to long-term success on Instagram.


In the ever-evolving world of Instagram, success doesn’t just happen – it’s cultivated through data-driven insights, continuous adaptation, and a relentless pursuit of understanding your audience. By leveraging the power of Instagram Insights, embracing A/B testing, and staying informed about industry trends, you can transform your data into actionable strategies that propel your account towards lasting engagement and growth.

Remember, Instagram is not a static platform, and neither should your approach be. Embrace the opportunity to learn, analyze, and adapt. Invest in understanding your audience, create content that resonates with their passions, and continuously refine your strategy based on data and feedback.

By approaching Instagram with dedication, curiosity, and a willingness to experiment, you’ll unlock the platform’s true potential and build a thriving online community that fuels your brand and ignites your success.

To learn more about improving your digital marketing strategy, contact ProfileTree today.

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