Instagram Algorithm Explained: Your 2024 Guide

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Written by Andra

Content Writer at SocialBee

The Instagram algorithm has long been a topic of intrigue, speculation, and sometimes frustration for both casual users and dedicated content creators alike. As we slowly wrap up 2024, understanding this ever-evolving algorithm is more crucial than ever. 

Recent statistics reveal that over 2 billion people use Instagram monthly, with 81% of users leveraging the platform to research products and services. With numbers like these, it’s evident that mastering the intricacies of the Instagram algorithm can be the difference between getting lost in the digital shuffle and achieving optimal visibility. 

Dive into this guide to unravel the latest nuances and strategies surrounding the Instagram algorithm!

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Short Summary

  • The Instagram algorithm aims to enhance the user experience, favoring posts with high engagement, recency, and strong user relationships.
  • There are different Instagram algorithms for the main feed, Stories, Explore Page, and Reels, each with its own factors influencing content visibility.
  • To succeed on Instagram in 2024, it’s important to respect community guidelines, create original content, post at optimal times, engage with comments and DMs, use relevant hashtags, and add location tags.
  • Tools like SocialBee can help optimize posting times, track interactions, and provide insights for a strategic approach to Instagram.

What Is the Instagram Algorithm?

The Instagram algorithm represents the set of rules and calculations used by Instagram to determine the order and priority of content displayed to users on their feeds, Stories, and other sections of the platform. Each section has its own algorithm.

This algorithm aims to present users with the most relevant and engaging content based on their behavior, preferences, and interactions on the app.

Here are a couple of elements influencing how the Instagram algorithm works in 2024:

  • Purpose: This algorithm aims to enhance the user experience by presenting users with the most relevant and engaging content tailored to their behavior, preferences, and interactions on the app.
  • User engagement: The algorithm favors posts with high engagement, including likes, comments, shares, and views, especially soon after they’re published.
  • Recency: Newer posts are given some preference, ensuring users see fresh content, though not in strictly chronological order as in Instagram’s early days.
  • Relationships: If a user frequently interacts with another account (likes, comments, DMs), the algorithm recognizes this relationship and prioritizes content from that account in the user’s feed.
  • Profile searches: Regularly searching for a specific profile indicates a strong interest, prompting the algorithm to showcase more of that profile’s content.
  • Content type & interaction duration: Depending on the type of content (photo, video, carousel) and the time spent by a user on it, the algorithm adjusts what type of content to show more of in their feed.
  • Direct sharing & DMs: Content shared through direct messages or stories suggests high engagement and might get a boost from the algorithm.
  • Frequency of use: The frequency with which a user opens Instagram can influence what they see; more frequent users might see a blend of recent and relevant posts.
  • Following count: Users following many accounts might not see all posts from every account due to the sheer volume of potential content.
  • Diversified content streams: Your main feed, Instagram Stories, Explore Page, and Reels have their own algorithms, with frequent interactions dictating which content gets prioritized.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work?

The Instagram algorithm aims to enhance the user experience, favoring posts with high engagement, recency, and strong user relationships. There are different Instagram algorithms for the main feed, Stories, Explore Page, and Reels, each with its own factors influencing content visibility.

Simply put, social media algorithms are the invisible hands that curate and guide our online experiences. Instagram, one of the most popular social platforms, continually tweaks its algorithm to ensure user satisfaction and engagement.

Let’s stay ahead of the curve and understand how Instagram’s multifaceted algorithm works and how you can adjust your strategy for better results.

1. How Does the Feed Instagram Algorithm Work?

The Instagram Feed is designed to showcase how many posts you’ve missed since your last visit. This feed curates a blend of posts from the people you’re following, and from Instagram profiles that might align with your interests, determined by predictive algorithms.

Since the very beginning of the year, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has announced that the platform will focus more on photos when it comes to Instagram feed content. 

Here are some other factors that influence the Instagram feed algorithm:

  • Your likelihood to engage with the post through comments, likes, or shares
  • The probability of you checking out the profile
  • The anticipated duration you’d spend reading a post

The sequence in which posts appear is determined by your past interactions, the post’s popularity, information about the person who posted, and your relationship with their account.

instagram story tab

To personalize your Feed, you can mark certain accounts as favorites, positioning their content at the forefront. Alternatively, you can switch to the Following Feed to view posts from accounts you follow in the order they were posted.

In 2024, effectively navigating Instagram’s algorithm requires more than simply sharing photos; it demands a strategic approach. To truly stand out and harness the platform’s potential, it’s essential to adapt to its current algorithm. Here are three tips for mastering the Feed algorithm: 

Tip #1 Post at the Right Time

To maximize the reach and impact of your content, it’s essential to schedule Instagram posts when your audience is most active. Understanding your users’ interests and behavior plays a crucial role in determining the optimal times to boost engagement.

It’s not just about posting frequently; it’s about posting strategically. Optimal timing can significantly enhance the visibility and engagement of your content.

With tools like SocialBee, not only can you optimize posting times, but you can also monitor Instagram insights and understand kind of content that resonates most with your existing audience. This data-driven approach takes the guesswork out of content creation and allows for a more strategic approach to Instagram.

Best day to post on Instagram Worst day to post on Instagram Best time to post on Instagram

Best day to post on Instagram Worst day to post on Instagram Best time to post on Instagram
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday
  • 6 AM – 9 AM
  • 12 PM – 2 PM
  • 5 PM – 6 PM

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In a landscape that’s continually shifting, leveraging advanced tools and staying informed about algorithm changes is the best way to ensure your content stands out and reaches its intended audience.

Tip #2: Craft Original Content

The Instagram algorithm loves unique, authentic content that engages users. 

Here are some tips to craft high-quality content:

  • Share photos and videos that give followers a glimpse of the day-to-day operations or the making of a product. This can humanize the brand and build a connection with the audience.
  • Create informative content that teaches something new related to your industry. This could be tips, how-tos, or even fun facts. Use carousel posts or Reels for step-by-step guides.
  • Utilize Instagram Stories’ features like polls, question boxes, and quizzes to interact directly with your audience, gathering feedback or just engaging them in fun activities.
  • Stick to a specific theme each month or week that aligns with seasonal events, product launches, or relevant trends. This helps in planning content and keeps the audience anticipating what’s next.
  • Share short documentary-style videos that tell stories about your brand, customers, or employees. These narratives can create a strong emotional connection with the audience.
  • Create or adapt popular memes that resonate with your target audience, reflecting your brand’s products or services in a humorous light. Parodies of famous scenes from movies or commercials that tie back to your brand can also be engaging.

Dedicating effort to original content not only satisfies the algorithm but also captivates and retains your audience’s attention.

Tip #3: Monitor Your Instagram DMs and Comments

Engaging with the responses you receive on your Instagram content is more crucial than many realize. The content posted on Instagram doesn’t just gain traction because of its quality or creativity; one of the most important ranking factors is user engagement. 

Algorithm ranking factors include how often users interact with your content, and a history of interacting with the person who posted plays a significant role. 

If someone frequently interacts with your content by leaving comments or sending DMs, and you actively respond, it tells the algorithm that there’s a valuable connection there. This, in turn, can boost the visibility of your future posts in their feed.

Managing and responding to these interactions can be a time-consuming task. To streamline this process, you can use tools like SocialBee, which allows you to track mentions, comments, and DMs, ensuring you never miss an opportunity to engage with your audience.

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By integrating tools like SocialBee into your social media strategy, not only do you ensure consistent and timely audience engagement, but you also free up valuable time, allowing you to focus on creating more compelling content and strategizing for further growth.

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2. How Does the Story Instagram Algorithm Work?

When you launch the Instagram app, prominently displayed at the top is a line-up of the most recent Stories from the profiles you follow. The Instagram Stories algorithm analyzes meticulously behind the scenes to curate this lineup.

Its purpose? To ensure you see Stories you’re most likely to engage with, based on a range of predictive measures or proxies.

Instagram assesses all the Stories from your followers over the last day to understand which ones capture your attention first. Instagram’s objective is not just to showcase any story, but to predict the ones you’ll potentially open, respond to, show emotions for, or even like.

The Instagram algorithm ranking factors are driven by various signals derived from your past interactions with Stories. These signals are pivotal in deciding the order in which Stories are presented to you or other Instagram users. 

Instagram Story

These are some of the factors that influence the way Story Instagram algorithm works:

  • Frequency of viewing: How often you watch Stories from a particular creator or account in the past few weeks.
  • Interaction level: The regularity with which you engage or interact with an author’s Stories.
  • Connection depth: Determined by how often you’ve messaged or communicated with the creator.

By aligning Stories based on these personalized proxies, signals, and predictions, Instagram aspires to prioritize Stories from those you have the deepest connections with or care about the most.

Here is how you can ensure that your Stories gain the view count and engagement you want:

Tip #1: Host AMAs

Hosting AMAs, or “Ask me Anything”, on Instagram Stories can work wonders for boosting your visibility within the Stories algorithm. When you engage your audience through AMAs, you’re not only driving high levels of interaction but also encouraging longer view durations—both of which are key metrics the algorithm loves. 

Regular updates through multiple Stories keep your profile active, increasing the chances of your content appearing at the top of your followers’ feeds. The use of interactive features like question stickers and polls fosters direct engagement, which the algorithm rewards. 

Plus, when your followers share your engaging AMAs, it signals to the algorithm that your content is valuable and worth promoting. 

Tip #2: Share Polls

Polls, like AMAs, drive high engagement by encouraging your audience to interact directly with your content. This increased interaction signals to Instagram that other users deem your stories interesting.

regular poll box

Polls also promote longer view durations as followers take the time to read the question and consider their response. The longer they spend on your polls, the more Instagram will favor your Stories. 

Instagram is constantly including new stickers and interactive options to their stories, and making use of them is an easy way to engage your audience while keeping them entertained. 

And, as a bonus, polls can help you collect valuable information about your followers’ preferences, which will prove useful for your brand in the future. 

Tip #3: Give Exclusive Offers

Offering exclusive deals through Instagram Stories is an excellent strategy to leverage the Stories algorithm for several reasons. Firstly, exclusive offers create a sense of urgency and excitement, prompting immediate engagement from your followers. This spike in interactions signals to the algorithm that your content is relevant. 

limited time promotions instagram stories

Secondly, exclusive offers encourage followers to check your Stories regularly, boosting your view counts and overall engagement metrics. 

The anticipation of special deals can lead to more shared and reposted content, extending your reach further. Finally, the limited-time nature of Stories aligns perfectly with the time-sensitive appeal of exclusive offers, driving higher participation rates and enhancing your visibility on the platform. 

Offering an exclusive discount code for your clothing line, for example, will encourage people to check your Stories more often so they don’t miss any future promotions you might share. The anticipation is increased by the chance that because Stories expire, users could easily miss other better promotions you might share in the future.

3. How Does the Explore Page Instagram Algorithm Work?

Instagram’s Explore page operates on an algorithm that seeks to usher users into a world of fresh and relevant content. 

explore page

This algorithm is informed by the same cues used for the feed and Stories, but its specialty lies in personalizing and ranking content that resonates most with individual users. Among the many interactions, the algorithm holds likes, saves, and shares in the highest regard.

Let’s consider a user who has a passion for gourmet coffee. Instagram’s algorithm might highlight posts about specialty coffee brewing techniques, reviews of local coffee shops, or even broader themes like tea or pastry pairings. This is all in an effort to cater to their taste preferences.

For content creators, to boost the chances of your posts landing on someone’s Explore page, it’s essential to integrate relevant hashtags and be in sync with current trends. For instance, if a particular coffee bean or brewing method is gaining traction, incorporating that into your content can elevate its chances of being showcased. 

Being in tune with what’s trending in the coffee world or even in the broader realm of gourmet foods can help your content resonate more with users and the Instagram Explore page algorithm.

Here are three tips for raising the possibility of your posts being featured on the “Explore” page:

Tip #1: Use Relevant Hashtags and Keywords

Using relevant hashtags and keywords is more than just a way to categorize your content; it’s about providing essential information about the post and ensuring it reaches the right audience. 

By incorporating pertinent hashtags, your photos and videos become discoverable to a broader target audience thanks to hashtag pages. This means visibility to those who might not be your followers but share similar interests.

Instagram’s algorithm ranks content based on its relevance, and one way it gauges this is by evaluating the hashtags used in relation to users’ interests and behavior. 

Adam Mosseri also mentioned in an Instagram Story that using hashtags doesn’t necessarily boost a post’s reach compared to posts with few or no hashtags. However, he did commend the proper use of hashtags. Therefore, strategically selecting hashtags that align with your content increases its chances of appearing in user feeds.

Tools like SocialBee allow you to easily generate hashtags tailored to your posts without hassle. All you need to do is:

  • Add your post in SocialBee using the Post Editor. 
  • Have at least a caption or a visual for the post. 
  • Click on the Hashtag Wand to generate hashtags.
  • The hashtags will be generated based on your caption or image.


To keep your hashtags organized, SocialBee allows you to create Hashtag Collections! Compile hashtags for different platforms or content categories, and add them easily to your posts directly from the Post Editor.

SocialBee's hashtag collections

Find your neatly categorized hashtag collections under the “#” symbol in your post editor

Tip #2: Add Location Tags

Geotagging, or adding location tags to your posts, provides valuable information about the person who posted and the context of the content. This feature is especially beneficial for photos and videos that have a location-centric appeal. 

By geotagging, you cater to a local audience or those interested in that particular location. 

The Instagram algorithm often factors in location-based user activity across the platform, making it more likely for your content to reach users who have shown interest in that specific area or locale.

Instagram states that tagging locations triggers what they call signals: “our algorithm relies on ‘signals’ based on how you interact with the app, and how other people interact with you.”

The SocialBee tool allows you to easily add locations to your posts on Instagram Business Profiled. All you need to do is:

  • Create your Instagram post in the Post Editor
  • Click on “Customize for each profile”
  • Find the geolocation icon, click on it and select your preferred location

Adding locations to posts with SocialBee

You can see what your location will look like in the post preview. Keep in mind that you can only add the location of the Facebook Pages you manage to your Instagram post. Facebook owns Instagram, so to add a new location on Instagram, you must first add it to Facebook.

Tip #3: Collaborate with Others

Instagram Collab posts involve two or more accounts partnering to create content, thereby engaging both of their follower bases. This means:

  • The header of each post will display the names of all accounts.
  • Everyone involved will have their followers updated on the post.
  • This post will be visible on every profile grid.
  • Every account will be able to see the views, likes, and comments.

Collaborative Instagram posts are great for boosting your visibility and engagement. When you team up with someone, you get to share your post with their followers too, reaching way more people than you would on your own.

Plus, when both of you promote the post on your profiles and Stories, it brings in even more views and interactions. This is a smart way to get more eyes on your content and encourage more engagement.

4. How Does the Reel Instagram Algorithm Work?

The Instagram Reels algorithm plays a pivotal role in shaping the user experience on the platform. Its primary function is to curate and present compelling content within users’ feeds, ensuring that audiences are consistently exposed to fresh and engaging short-form vertical video content.

text over reels

Here’s a breakdown of how the Instagram Reels algorithm works:

  • Diverse discovery: Unlike the regular Instagram feed which mainly showcases posts from followed accounts, the Reels algorithm aims to introduce users to new, compelling short form video content from a broader range of creators.
  • Sound popularity: When you post Reels, you can add an audio track to each one of them. The sound’s popularity can also boost the visibility of your Reel content.
  • Interaction history: The algorithm takes note of the Reels users have previously engaged with (viewed, liked, commented on, or shared), using this data to predict what they like and recommend new videos.
  • Similar user preferences: By observing what similar users like or engage with, the Instagram Reels algorithm decides what to recommend.

Mastering Reels is crucial for any Instagram strategy, as they generate twice the reach of other Instagram posts. While a video-only strategy is not enough for an entire Instagram strategy, knowing how to create Reels that get views is a huge step forward.

These are three proven ways to post consistently successful Reels on the platform:

Tip #1:Participate in Trends

Trends are a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy, and for good reason. They’re catchy and make people want to engage. By participating in trends, you can make the Instagram Reels algorithm work in your favor.

Trending content naturally attracts more views, likes, comments, and shares, which are key metrics that the algorithm favors. When you participate in trends, your content is more likely to appear in the Reels tab and on the Explore page, increasing your chances of being discovered by a broader audience. 

Instagram’s algorithm often promotes content that aligns with current trends. Additionally, trends make your content more relatable and timely, which can resonate better with viewers and prompt more interactions. This leads to more shares, which further extends your reach beyond your immediate followers. 

One great example of a brand that keeps up with current trends is Duolingo. 

Duolingo uses their famous owl mascot quite a lot in their Instagram marketing strategy to participate in different trends. Their content often goes viral and is very popular especially among Gen Z users due to its unique humor and relatability. 


Instagram’s @creators account always provides updates on best practices when it comes to their algorithm. From creators to Instagram employees, a variety of people share their expertise on everything algorithm-related to keep you informed.

Here is what Chiru, an Instagram employee, has to say about whether one poor-performing post will lead to worse performance on your account in the future:

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Instagram’s @Creators (@creators)

Tip #2: Remix Other Reels

Remix on Instagram is very similar to TikTok’s duet tool, which you might be familiar with. In order to react to Reels from other creators, any Instagram user—personal accounts or businesses—can participate in a video that plays side by side with the original.

Though its original intent was to promote dancing collaborations, humorous reactions, and challenges, smaller creators or companies can now use the remix Reels feature to add more value to popular videos by showcasing their own insights and expertise.

Using the feature to create your own Reel is easy. Simply hit the three dots from the bottom-left corner of the video you want to duet, select “Remix,” and then select either “With original video” or “After original video” as the format. 

remixing a reel

Similar to other apps, you can choose to have the original video play next to yours or play it for the first few seconds before your video appears. The original creator of the Reel you remix will be tagged in your post.

Reposting Reels has a number of benefits:

  • When you remix a Reel, your version is linked to the original, allowing you to tap into the original content’s viewership. This connection increases the chances of your Reel being discovered by a broader audience.
  • Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content that fosters community interaction and engagement. Remixing promotes collaborative content creation, which aligns with these goals.
  • Remixing allows you to add a unique twist or perspective to existing content, keeping your profile fresh. This can help improve your visibility.

Tip #3: Grab Attention in the First Seconds

Starting your video with a good hook is important to capture attention. The initial few seconds set the tone for the rest of the Reel. A strong opening can pique curiosity and interest, encouraging viewers to continue watching and engage with your content.

Instagram Reels as short form video content

The competition on social media platforms is high, and attention spans nowadays are shorter than ever. When people encounter your video on the Reels feed, in order to pay it any attention, they need to be intrigued by it from the very beginning.

You can make sure your video is catchy from the beginning by starting it with a question, or a statement that can generate a strong reaction from the viewer. Moreover, a well selected audio can make all the difference.

When your video has the same song or sound as other videos, it gets added to a dedicated audio page and can gain even more visibility from there. Trending sounds can open your content to a new audience.

Important: Respect Community Guidelines

Abiding by Instagram’s community guidelines is not just a matter of principle but also has a direct impact on the visibility and popularity of a post. The platform has set rules that rank content based on its adherence to these guidelines. 

For instance, video content that violates any of these norms might not only get lower engagement but could also face penalties or removal. 

Instagram accounts, especially business accounts, need to be particularly vigilant. Ensuring that their content aligns with these guidelines is paramount not just to maintain a good reputation but also to encourage engagement and reach on the platform.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is the Most Important Thing to Keep in Mind about the Instagram Algorithm?

The most important thing to understand about the Instagram algorithm is that it prioritizes engagement. The algorithm is designed to show users content that they are likely to engage with, based on their past interactions.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

  • User engagement: Content that receives higher engagement (likes, comments, shares, and saves) shortly after being posted is seen as valuable and is therefore more likely to be displayed prominently in users’ feeds. Similarly, content that keeps users on the platform longer, such as videos or carousel posts that require more time to view, may also be favored.
  • Relationship with the poster who posted: If a user frequently interacts with an account (e.g., liking, commenting, DMing, or tagging), the algorithm interprets this as a close relationship and is more likely to show content from that account to the user.
  • Profile searches: If a user searches for your profile repeatedly, Instagram considers your content highly relevant to that user.
  • Content recency: While engagement is vital, the algorithm also considers how recently the content was posted. Newer posts are generally prioritized over older ones.
2. Why Is the Reach on My Instagram Feed Posts So Low?

The diminishing reach of Instagram feed posts can be attributed to several factors:

  • Feed algorithm: Instagram now prioritizes content based on user engagement and relevance rather than post time. If your content isn’t deemed engaging, it might be shown less frequently.
  • Platform changes: Adjustments to Instagram features or the algorithm itself can influence post visibility.
  • Content competition: With millions of daily posts, standing out is essential. If users often skip your posts, the algorithm might reduce its visibility.
3. Why Are There Different Algorithms for Feed, Explore, and Reels?

Instagram uses distinct algorithms for Feed, Explore, and Reels due to their unique purposes:

  • Feed: Prioritizes updates from accounts you frequently interact with.
  • Explore: Suggests new content based on your interests and past actions.
  • Reels: Focuses on trending short-form videos for entertainment.

Different user engagements and content types in each section necessitate these specialized algorithms for an optimized user experience.

2024 Instagram Algorithm Solved: Time To Make the Most Out of It!

Getting a handle on Instagram’s algorithm can really boost your content’s reach and engagement. It’s all about knowing what to post, when to post, and how to engage with your audience.

If you’re looking to make the process easier while maintaining a consistent posting strategy, try SocialBee. See how simple it is to create, publish, and monitor your Instagram presence from one place. Start your 14-day free trial now!

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