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Instagram Algorithm: Here’s How Your Insta Feed Actually Works

Instagram made noticeable changes to its feed structure in 2016 when it switched up the way it orders the pictures it presents when you open up the app. Back in the day, your Instagram feed was ordered chronologically, so that newest photos came up first. However, now your Instagram feed is ordered based on a ranking system. Instagram claims it moved to a ranked feed for a number of reasons. First of all, Instagram estimates the average person was missing about 70% of the feed on their content when posts were chronological, meaning they missed out on posts from their family and loved ones. With the update, now Instagram claims you only miss about 10% of content from the people most important from you.

Instagram uses an algorithm to decide which posts to show you first. This depends on your past usage, meaning it draws from knowing what posts you have liked or commented on in the past. The goal is to show more content from “family and friends”. Instagram classifies “family and friends” as the people for whom you like and comment on their pictures, direct message, and watch stories for the most. The more likely you are to “like” a post, the higher priority the post is given, and the higher it will appear on your feed. This algorithm makes sure that your personal network (those to which you have the closest and most positive relationships with), get priority when you are scrolling through your Instagram. This type of algorithm could even be related to the a “personal” page ranking system, somewhat like what Google uses to determine what comes up when you search a word or phrase. Similar to how Google displays links first that have the most relevance and linkage to the desired topic, Instagram displays pictures first that have the most relevance and linkage to you.


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October 2018