Understanding the Instagram Algorithm

What is a social media algorithm?

By definition, an algorithm is ‘a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.’ Which is exactly how social media platforms run.

Social media platforms use algorithms to define the order their newsfeed is displayed in. Whether it be based off the content type, user, or based off a prediction of what it thinks you want to see, platforms are constantly analysing our online behaviour.

What does the Instagram algorithm actually mean?

In very basic terms, the Instagram algorithm shows you posts in a particular order by trying to predict what you’ll be most interested in.

If you regularly comment and like someone’s posts, chances are their posts are going to be high in your feed.

And vice versa. Users you don’t interact with, and accounts that Instagram can’t see you having a relationship with (such as been tagged in the same photo), are going to drop to the bottom of the feed.

There’re other factors such as how often you use Instagram, and how many people you follow, that will affect how you see new posts, but overall, it’s down to who you engage with the most.

How will this affect my Instagram?

While you may have noticed that engagement figures have declined, Instagram does not hide posts and you’ll see posts from everyone you follow – you just have to keep scrolling for them. This means that in reality, your posts should still be getting pretty similar engagement figures.

However, this is dependent on how many accounts your followers follow (and whether they spend all day scrolling). Realistically, accounts following a high number of users will have a larger number of posts on their feed to scroll through, so if your posts aren’t engaging, you’re going to drop down their feed.


While it may seem like Instagram is working to make less people see your posts, it’s just highlighting the importance of engagement. It’s all about knowing your followers, keeping them engaged, and staying engaged with other users.

If you’re needing guidance on your Instagram strategy or other social media channels, get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help you.