The Updated Instagram Algorithm 2018


Summer is finally here and Instagram decided to bless us with a new algorithm. A couple of months ago Instagram had announced that they would be updating their algorithm. Rumors began circulating as to what some of these updates could be. One of them being that Instagram will be going back to a chronological feed. I for one was definitely on that bandwagon. Those were the days! Well the wait is finally over and Instagram decided to address everything earlier this month with the new algorithm changes and a better understanding of how it works.  Thanks to TechCrunch for giving us this piping hot tea because I am here for it. So let’s break it down!


The Foundation of the Algorithm

            Let’s review again how the algorithm actually works. The algorithm organizes the posts in your feed based on how often you interact with them. So it really doesn’t matter who you follow, what matters is who you are interacting with. Whatever images you are liking and commenting on, the algorithm is going to drive similar content to the top of your feed. How does the algorithm determine this? According to TechCrunch Instagram relies on a machine that tracks your past behavior to create a more personalized feed for the user. Even if you are following the same accounts as somebody else your feed is going to be totally different from theirs because the post’s you are engaging with is different from what they are engaging with. So again, it is all about making true connections with your audience. 

There are 3 core factors the algorithm uses to determine you Instagram Feed. 

1.    Interest

·     Based on the Instagram machine that tracks your behavior, Instagram will bring up the posts a person is most likely to care about based on the individual’s past behavior.  The more you like or comment on a post, Instagram will show similar content on the top of your feed. For example, if you on a post of dogs, based on that behavior the algorithm will then place similar content so other pictures of dogs at the top of your feed and in your explore page will pop up. This gives Instagram a more personalized feeling. 

2.    Timeliness

·     How recently the post was shared. Instagram will show posts that are more recent and fewer posts that were posted over a week ago. This shows that timing is still important when it comes to posting on Instagram. 

3.    Relationship

·     If you interact with a certain person’s account often such as commenting on their photos or being tagged in their posts, you will then see their posts more often. Instagram provides higher ranking for the people you have interacted with. 

Besides these core factors there are still other factors that influence the algorithm. 

4.    Following

·      The more accounts you follow, the more options Instagram has to diversify the posts you see. So if you are following a lot of people this gives Instagram more options to choose from when providing what content they would like to show you. 

5.    Frequency

·      How often you open the app plays a factor in what posts you will see as well. Every time you open the Instagram app it will refresh your feed and provide  you with new, and relevant content since your last visit. 

6.    Usage

·      How much time are you spending on Instagram? If you are spending a short amount of time on the app you are going to see the most relevant posts during that short period of time. If you are on the app for longer periods of time you will see a wider variety of posts. Instagram does not hide posts in the feed, the more you scroll you will be able to see posts from everyone. 

Not only did Instagram provide us with information about the algorithm they also addressed some rumors and common questions that we have all been wanting to know. 

Is the chronological feed coming back?

·     Instagram officially confirmed that the chronological feed will not be coming back because they do not want to over complicate things for their users as they may forget what feed they are set to. *Sigh*

Videos vs. Photos which is better?

·     Doesn’t matter it is all based on what you interact with.  According to Instagram if you tend to look at photos more often instead of videos you will see more photos and fewer videos and vice versa. Again, Instagram is all about providing a unique user experience by providing the content they think you are more likely to care about. 

If I take advantage of all of Instagram’s features will it help the algorithm to work in my favor?

·     No, Instagram does not favor users who utilize all the features the app has to offer. The only way for the algorithm to work in your favor is to post content that truly connects with your audience. 

Will I be penalized for posting too much on Instagram?

·     Nope, If you post quite a bit on Instagram such as multiple times a day Instagram will break the times in between your posts by putting other people’s content in between. They do not “down-rank” users who chose to post multiple times a day. 

What can I do to prevent being Shadow-banned?

·     According to Instagram shadow banning is not a real thing. If you don’t remember Shadow banning is when your hashtags are not found and therefore you will not show up in the hashtags feed of people who are not following you. This decreases your engagement and makes it difficult to reach new people. However, Instagram explained that they do not hide people’s content for posting too many hashtags or using any other specific actions. Since Instagram has confirmed this, it would be a great idea to update your hashtag strategy. 


There you have it! No matter what, Instagram along with other Social Media platforms will always change. It is awesome to keep ourselves informed but don’t let these changes freak you out or consume you. Use these changes to your advantage and have fun. I always like to remind people to remember why they wanted to be on Instagram in the first place. To feel a sense of belonging and community. So don’t let these changes hinder you! Continue being the bad ass that you are by being your true self. The right people will want to connect!