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How Instagram Algorithm works and How to Beat it in 2020 and Beyond

How The Instagram Algorithm Works and How To Beat It in 2020 and Beyond

Let’s decode the Instagram algorithm shall? It’s not so difficult,  if you put yourself in the shoes of the Instagram platform. 

Welcome to AG Speak’s Digital Marketing Talk Show.  Here we share with you, cool tools,  tips and tricks and lots of useful information and insights to help you get more leads and  customers for your business. 

Let’s say,  I’m the creator of Instagram platform.  So what is my number one interest? I want more people to use my platform and stay on it for as long as possible,  because the more people stay on my platform and the longer they stay,  the more revenue I earn. 

 So if I wanted you to stay in my home for longer and I wanted more people to come and stay in my home what would I do? 

Well, here are a couple of things that I would do to keep you on my platform or my home. 


I will serve you the content that you probably like that you’re interested in,  that you want to see more of. I serve up the dishes that you really enjoy eating.  isn’t it? That’s what Instagram’s algorithm does. It actually tracks what you’re interested in so the number one factor about Instagram’s algorithm  is interest. What you like,  what is the kind of content you engage with, what is the kind kind of stuff that you are seeing more of, or you are showing interest in. 


I want to keep you  for a longer time in my house. What would I do?  I will probably get you to hang around with your friends, your family.You are interested in people who you are related to. You are  curious to know what’s happening in their lives. So if I invite you home and call your friends and have a nice good party,  you stay longer. Won’t you?  That’s what Instagram does. It tracks your relationships.  it sees who could be possibly your friends and family and it serves up the content of those people. And how does Instagram track that?  Well it watches who are the people whose content you engage with more.  Who are the people you are tagging in your photos? Who is tagging you in their photos?  All of this data, Instagram has, and it tracks that. 

If you’re having a long conversation with somebody on the comment thread,  well that’s telling Instagram that these people are having a long conversation they must really know each other. They must really be good friends with each other and so you are in the inner circle of the friends and family and so you will get to see more of that person’s content in your feed. 


What else will I do to keep you in my home?  I will talk to you about the latest gossip that’s interesting.  Right.  Who wants to talk about stalel news that is hardly interesting.  So what does Instagram’s algorithm do? They give you the most fresh content. Timeliness of the content. What this means is that it will serve you the latest and greatest. 

 It’s super important to keep people’s interest alive on the platform. So it matters that your content is recent and you’re coming up with some updated new content. Because Instagram’s algorithms want to serve the latest and greatest. 

Those are the  three things we have already uncovered about Instagram’s algorithm. 

  1. Interest 

  2. Relationship 

  3. Timeliness 

So what are the other factors that I can do to keep you happy, satisfied and stay for longer in my home? 


Let’s assume that you come to my home ever so frequently. What will I do to keep you happy?  I fill you up on all the gossip that has happened in the last two days since your last visit. Isn’t it? I will tell you all about what happened in the past two days and I’ll update you on everything and so that’s what Instagram does. It actually serves you the content based on your frequency of usage. 

If you are a frequent user of the platform your feed is likely to look like the chronological feed, because it will serve you the most recent and the latest information that has been uploaded on the platform.  Of course, of the stuff that you are interested in. 


Now let’s assume that I know that you have 20 people you are interested in and you came to meet me at my home.  I’ll probably fill you up on all the news that I have about all these 20 people.  Won’t I? Because I know that you want to know what’s happening in your friend’s circle. Now, let’s say you don’t just have 20 people in your circle, you have, more than a 100 people you are interested in. So next time you come to my home, I may not be able to talk about all 100 people, but what I’ll do is serve the top content to you.  I talk about only the top level friends and folks that really matter and share interesting bits of news that you will find  super fun and interesting. 

So I will not  talk about all the hundred but I choose the top 10 and talk about those. And that’s what Instagram’s algorithms track next, your follower count. So if you are following just a hundred people, Instagram’s algorithm will keep you caught up on those hundred people. But if you’re following a large number of people, then,  Instagram will serve you the content of the top few people. Not all the  thousand people that you follow, but  the top that matter, that are important, and juicy, that they think you might be more interested in. And that’s how it works. 

App Usage

Now let’s continue the home analogy. If I know yet that you keep visiting my home every now and then and when you come you stay for a really long time in my house. How will I keep you interested and happy and engaged? Well I will not only talk about those people you are interested in, I will dig deeper and give you all the download about those people.  Like, You know this about the person,  and you know they went to that place,  and they did this and you know they’re having trouble with whatever… 

So I will just go deeper and deeper and deeper and tell you all that I have to keep you informed about those people. And  that’s what Instagram’s algorithms do.  They track your usage. If you’re a very frequent user it will serve you up more posts,  more and more content because it has to dig deeper from its catalogue; but if you’re a scarce user of the platform you will only get the top level content. The highlights. It will just update you on the top happenings.

Well there you have the six key factors of the Instagram algorithm. 

Let me repeat. 

  1. Interest 
  2. Relationship – remember friends and family 
  3. Timeliness –  latest and greatest 
  4. Frequency – how often you visit my home 
  5. Followers – how many people you are interested in 
  6. App usage –  how often you come to my home and how long you stay every time you come to visit my home. If you come for a longer time I need to dig deeper and give you all the downloads that I have of those people that you’re interested in and give you all the information. 

That’s  what Instagram Algorithm is all about.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage. Because we humans are smarter than algorithms. Aren’t we? 

All you need to do is do the right things to keep people on your profile and your page. Instagram will work in your favor because if you can keep people on your profile, on your page and your content, it ultimately means you’re keeping those people in the bigger house of Instagram and that’s what Instagram wants. 

And Instagram algorithms are actually designed to help you to keep people longer in your home. I hope that makes sense. I hope after reading this, you will never worry too much about the algorithms.. And do what you need to do to attract and retain people in your little home on Instagram Universe! Your Account and Your Profile Page. 

I value your feedback and if you found this post useful and others you know can benefit from it, please share your thoughts with me in the comments section and share it with your network. 

Do follow me on Instagram for more such cool tips, hacks and insights related to building your influence on Instagram. Here is the link to my profile.

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  • Anjuli Gopalakrishna

    I am digital marketer who is passionate about helping small businesses with 'out of the box' ideas to acquire new leads and customers leveraging digital marketing technology. I have a background in the fashion industry in marketing and merchandising with leading brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, J C Penney, and Li and Fung. I am a certified facilitator with ACTA certification from Singapore WDA. I provide consulting, digital marketing and training services to companies to help them make the most of digital marketing.

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