6 Factors that Affect the Instagram Algorithm

October 16th, 2020

Are you keeping up to date with the Instagram algorithm? Instagram is continuously evolving, and keeping up with these changes will help you perform better in the platform and create a unique bond with your Instagram community!

Instagram finally broke its silence and put some rumours to rest about how the algorithm actually works. Here are the 6 key factors, as broken down by our social media team at Treefrog:


Let’s learn more about these factors, so you don’t get left behind!

1. How interesting are your posts?

The Instagram algorithm is smarter than you think. The days of trying to trick it are over. Your feed is based on how likely you are to be interested in a particular post, and this is formulated on your actions within the app.

For example, if you are liking, watching, commenting and sharing dog content from your favourite dog influencer, then that type of content will be at the top of your news feed.

To sum it up, the friends that you are interacting with the most, the stories you watch, and even the pictures you are tagged in contribute to your behaviour in the app, which determines who and what pops up in your news feed.

Have you ever wondered why your top stories are always the same accounts? It’s because the same formula applies to Instagram stories as well!

2. Timing is, in fact, everything.

Consider Instagram as the cool kid in class, someone who wants to always be up to date with the latest news and trends. You won’t find them showing you a Halloween post when it’s Christmas season.

Group of friends looking at a smart phone outdoors in the city

That being said, using your Instagram Insights tool will help you see when your followers are the most active on the platform. That’s the time to release your content in order to set yourself up for success. It may seem like a small detail, but it is an essential piece of the Instagram algorithm puzzle.

3. Relationship Goals

Instagram doesn’t want you to miss posts from your friends and family, or favourite brands and celebrities. It values your relationships and doesn’t like one-night stands. Content from accounts you engage with more often will rank higher in the feed. For example, if you search for the same profile often, they will become one of your popular friends, and you will see their content more often.

For a content creator, that means it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get posting. You want your followers to engage with your content and form a relationship.

With this tactic, the more you post, the more followers will see your posts. Keep in mind; quality does trump quantity. The key is to find a happy balance.

We all don’t have the manpower of Gary V. So posting 3 times a week constantly while throwing Instagram Stories into the mix will help you see an increase in your engagement.

4. How frequently are you opening the app?

Take a look at your daily screentime. How many minutes, or should I say hours, have you spent on Instagram today? If you have some self-control and are on the app less often, your news feed will be sorted for what it thinks you will like best!

Close up of a young woman listening to music while riding in a bus

If you are a frequent Instagram visitor, your feed may start to look more chronological. This is because Instagram is trying it’s best to show you the best posts since you’ve last started scrolling.

5. No follower is left behind, well, not really.

Another thing to take into consideration is the number of people you follow. If you follow more people, the app has more content to choose from. This means, you’ll likely see fewer posts from each account, and for many accounts, you may not even see their posts on your feed.

As a business and content creator, the tricky part is to become a part of their Instagram family. That is easier said than done. By the end of this article, you will know how to achieve just that, so keep reading!

6. Usage: Daily or Hourly?

Do you open your Instagram app daily or hourly? It’s pretty straightforward, the more time you spend on the app, the more content you will see, and the deeper Instagram digs into it’s catalog of content to show you posts.

However, if you spend only a few minutes on the app each day, the algorithm will only show you highlights of the day’s posts.

Two restaurant workers take mobile photo of latte

Start Stepping Up Your Instagram Game Today!

Instagram is a great social media platform for visual storytelling. No matter your industry, it’s an incredible online community where businesses can connect with potential customers and grow their business organically. Whether you have a personal account, creator account or business account, Instagram could be the platform for you to grow your online presence.

The key is to educate yourself and stay up to date with trends.

Start applying what you learned from this blog into your Instagram strategy! We’ll help get you started with our free Social Media Calendar, now available for download! Plan out your Instagram content, collaborate with team members, research hashtags and track all your images all in one organized excel sheet.

Download Our Social Calendar Template

    Don’t Do Social, Be Social!

    At Treefrog, we believe that social media strategy is a delicate mix of both art and science. Our social media team combines compelling visuals with data-driven analytics to engage with the audiences of our clients in real time – so that their message gets heard and people are inspired to take action.

    If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Instagram experts at Treefrog! You can also connect with us via email, on our website or on social media to stay up to date on Instagram tools, tricks and tips!

    We can do all the dirty work for you, keep you informed and help your Instagram game reach a new level!

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