Instagram User and Algorithm Updates

As Instagram continues to evolve with regular updates, the fundamental nature of the platform changes in subtle and unexpected ways. As a result, you may wonder what changes will impact your feed as an active user or brand page manager. In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into the new Instagram updates and how Instagram now ranks its content.

Instagram Story and Reels Update

Stories Updates

Instagram is slowly introducing a new convenient feature that enables users to upload Instagram Stories that are up to 60 seconds long, without interruptions, every 15 seconds. This feature is incredibly useful, as it ensures that the playback of your Story clip is seamless, and you can include all user mentions, tags, locations, links, and more in a single, longer Story without having to repeat the process every 15 seconds.

Reels Updates

The popularity of Reels has been rapidly increasing since Instagram introduced them in 2020. In July 2021, the platform doubled the maximum duration of Reels, demonstrating its commitment to enhancing the feature. The latest update offers users a range of features such as adjusting the music to video sound ratio, new text, voiceover, drawing over videos, and new stickers. Instagram is currently testing new features, including a new video layout to capture multiple videos at once and double exposure to take photos while recording.

An image of a phone displaying Instagram on it.

How Instagram Now Ranks the Feed

The Feed is made up of personalised content such as accounts users follow, recommended content and new content as well as ads that Instagram think is suitable for the user. The platform organises the Feed by showcasing the latest posts from people that users follow and posts from accounts that users may find interesting but haven’t followed yet. To determine what might catch the audience’s attention, Instagram considers several factors, including recent follows, likes, and engagements. This balances the content of accounts users follow, and accounts users may find interesting.

Instagram has developed a system that analyses user preferences called signals to determine their preferred format. This means that if you prefer a certain type of photo, Instagram will display more of them in your feed. The signals range from when a post was shared, whether you are accessing the app via a phone or the web, and even how often you engage with specific content.

The most important signals are:

  • Post Information – The signals that determine a post’s popularity include the number of likes, comments, shares, and saves it receives, as well as the speed at which these engagements occur.
  • Content Creator Information – This information provides an indication of how interested the user is in the content creator.
  • Interacting History with Someone – how many times you’ve commented, liked or shared their post.
  • Activity – posts users have liked, shared, saved or commented on.

How Instagram Now Ranks Stories

The stories visible to you come from accounts that you have decided to follow, along with advertisements. Just like with your feed, Instagram prioritises stories by identifying all the stories from the accounts you follow.

Instagram uses various factors to determine which stories to prioritise on a user’s account. These include the user’s viewing history, which shows how frequently the user views an account’s stories, and the user’s engagement history, which indicates how often they interacted with their content. Additionally, the platform also considers the closeness of the user’s relationship with the account author, including factors such as whether the users are friends or family.

How Instagram Now Ranks Reels

Reels are intended to assist social media users in exploring and finding new and engaging content. Similar to the Explore tab, most of the content users encounter is from accounts that they do not follow. Therefore, users follow a similar process of sourcing Reels that Instagram believe they would enjoy and then arranging them based on their level of interest to the user.

To find out what makes an interesting reel, Instagram conducted a survey and asked individuals about what makes a reel worth their time. From this information, the survey results concluded that the most significant Reels signals are:

  • Interactions – The social media platform analyses recent activity, such as reels users have liked, saved, reshared, commented on, or engaged with, to determine which content is the most entertaining for the user.
  • Content Creator Interactions – The social media giant considers your past interactions with the person who posted the video. Even though you may not know them, if you have previously engaged with their content, it helps them identify the user’s level of interest in what they have shared.
  • Page Engagement – Instagram takes into account popularity indicators like follower count and engagement level to ensure a variety of individuals have the opportunity to share their content and connect with their audience.

For more information about how Instagram’s algorithms work, visit the link here.

If you are searching for a social media marketing strategy, we highly recommend contacting our experts at Odyssey New Media. We are well-known for our exceptional expertise in this field and can help you maximise your online presence through various social media platforms.

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