If there is one thing that has affected influencers, bloggers and celebrities who depend on Instagram for their living, it is the platform’s change in algorithm. Instagram and various other social media platforms are known to keep upgrading their algorithm so that the user experience can be enhanced. However, keeping up with these changes in the platforms’ algorithm does not always go down well with brands, businesses of different scales, and influencers who make a living out of them. This is primarily because decoding and understanding these changes can seem like a challenging affair. But if brands are to increase their reach and businesses are to thrive, especially now that the world has been toppled over by the pandemic, it is vital that they invest some time and energy in working through the changed algorithm.
In this article, we shall discuss all the important metrics and ranking factors that you would ever need to know to leverage the perks of Instagram to the best of your efforts in 2021. Now, it might seem a little cumbersome to wrap your head around the diverse and nebulous metrics that we are about to lay bare in this article. However, rest assured that once you sit patiently through the length and breadth of this discussion, you shall be able to gain more visibility for your content on Instagram amidst all the hullaballoo and confusion. Therefore, without any further ado, let us work our way through the rest of the article and see how we could use the prevailing algorithm to our advantage.
What We Know About Instagram’s Recent Changes in Algorithm:
The new Instagram algorithm calls the shots regarding who gets to see your content and how far it shall reach. This is pretty frustrating if you think about it. Artists create art based on their spontaneity, and we all know that you cannot force spontaneity. However, in order to survive on Instagram, it is necessary that you conform to its metrics, follow a content calendar and constantly churn out content. Therefore, it is understandable if you feel the pressure to create and stay at the top of Instagram’s metrics. However, it is what it is, and if you have to make a living out of your art or help your business thrive, you better get to work. Make sure that the device you use to make content works optimally. For instance, if you find your macbook pro sound not working, get it checked and repaired so that you can analyze the quality of your content before posting the same. Here are a few things that Instagram decides while combing through all the content that goes on it.
- Instagram decides the posts that show up on the top of the newsfeed. It also decides the order in which they appear.
- Instagram also decides the posts that shall be featured on the Explore tab.
- The platform also decides the order in which Stories, Reels, Live videos and IGTV videos appear on the feed and the tabs.
Therefore, it can be very well understood that Instagram’s new algorithm determines the course of your online career. Of course, Instagram has been receiving quite a lot of flak because of this change. However, there is nothing we can do about it. Therefore, you might as well want to take these updated metrics seriously.
The Algorithm’s New Ranking Signals:
In this section of the article, we shall look into the ranking signals that Instagram’s new algorithm takes a tad too seriously. An understanding of the same shall help you decide better on how you could go about creating the kind of content that conforms to the metrics of Instagram. Of course, this could seem especially challenging for artists because art cannot always cater to everyone’s needs but the artists’. However, as we already mentioned, there is little that we can do, and if you want to make your content visible on Instagram in 2021, you have to follow the metrics.
Relationship of the Brand/Creator with the Users
The first way Instagram ranks content at present is by analyzing if you interact with the user as much. That is how the platform decides if the user needs to see your content and if it will enhance the user experience. Businesses, brands, influencers and artists of sorts have little control over this metric. This is because you do not always interact one-on-one with every user.
The Interest of the Users
The second factor that is responsible for the ranking of the posts on Instagram is the interest of the users in the type of posts. Instagram checks if the users engage with the types of content you create. Commenting on the post, liking the post, sharing and saving the post are some of the ways that decide user engagement.
Timeliness of the Post
Instagram checks if the posts are recent and relevant. If you create content that is outdated and does not go well with recent times, Instagram shall not rank your content the way you want it to be. Therefore, while creating something, ensure that your posts are timely and relevant.
Frequency of Use of the App
Instagram also shows posts on the feed and Explore tab of the users depending on how frequently the user engages with the app. If you have followers on your account who open their feeds more than you can count, they are naturally more likely to find your post.
If you have followers who follow tens of thousands of people and accounts, they are more likely to miss out on your post. They shall have a lot to catch up on and hence, depend on Instagram’s algorithm to curate the content that they see first.
Session Time of the Users
The final ranking factor of your posts depends on the amount of time a user invests in one session. This is simple logic. If your followers spend more time on their feeds, they are more likely to see your posts than the ones who do not browse through Instagram much.
Tips to Make Your Content More Visible on Instagram in 2021:
The factors that we discussed in the previous section shed some light on how you must create content so that Instagram can rank them better. Now you might not have control over each of these factors, but here are some quick tips that you can follow to make your content more visible on the platform in 2021.
Post More Carousals
Instagram has not mentioned that carousal posts shall earn you a better rank. However, posts that elicit more engagement definitely rank better. It has been studied that carousal posts earn better engagement because they are more informative. According to Hootsuite, carousal posts have thrice as much engagement and 1.4 times more reach than other posts.
Post Frequently and at Regular Intervals
Do not give up on the algorithm. You must create content and post consistently. However, that does not mean that you must post every hour. Too much of anything is bad. Strike a middle ground and check the hours at which your target audience is the most active. A minimum of 2 posts per day will help you reach out to your audience better.
Explore and Experiment with the New Features
Instagram loves it when you explore and use its new features (the most recent being Reels). Therefore, one way to quickly make your content more visible is by creating content using these features. The algorithm is boosting this new Reel feature at present. Thus, using it for your content might make all the difference. While using Reels, make sure that –
- you are shooting in vertical
- using the filters and sounds generously
- not rehashing material from TikTok
Optimize Your Hashtags
Relevant hashtags shall always help you get traffic and make your content visible. However, make sure that your hashtags are significant to your posts and describe them. This means, using generic hashtags like #love and #life shall get you nowhere. Use hashtags that are directly related to your posts.
Finally, Beware of the Myths:
Instagram neither wants to limit the reach nor believes in shadow banning accounts. This is just a myth that you have no reason to believe in. However, if your posts violate the protocols and community guidelines laid down by the platform, they might be taken down, and your account might also be suspended. Instagram believes in creating a safer space for everyone while helping creators and brands thrive on the platform too. Therefore, follow the guidelines, bust the myths right at the roots and check these ranking factors to leverage the platform to your advantage in 2021.