If you want to find out about growing your audience on Instagram, you need to understand how the algorithm works – here are the factors that influence it.

Instagram has changed a lot since it first started, and these changes have not gone down well with everyone involved on the site. For one, it has become significantly more difficult to build visibility on the platform, especially when your audience is still small, or you are just starting out.

However, the platform remains one of the most valuable resources you can use to grow your brand and expand your audience. If you use it correctly, it can build your influence significantly. The best social media plugins can only help you go so far with this site – but there are tips you can implement and strategies you can use.

If you are confused or genuinely curious about how the latest version of the algorithm operates, it is a good thing because it will help you utilize the power of the site more effectively. Read on to find out more about it, as well as how you can ‘beat’ it.

How does the algorithm operate?

This remains one of the major questions people want to get answers to. Even though you might not understand the intricacies of the algorithm completely (which is understandable), there are some factors that will highly determine how well your post performs on the platform. In addition, it will also determine the number of people that will see your post. In order of importance, there are seven major factors.

The engagement each post gets

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The changing face of Instagram means that posts that have higher levels of engagement – the shares, comments, likes, views, and so on – will rank highly and will be the first posts someone sees when they log in. When you post something, and it gets a ton of comments and likes, the platform sees that the post is of high quality, so it shows it to a greater number of users (even those that do not follow you).

However, the amount of engagement your post gets is not the only factor. Sometimes, posts that get higher engagement levels quickly will get higher ratings on the site. A good example would be the case of trending hashtags on Instagram. Even though it is important to get plenty of engagement, do not always rely on getting the posts liked and commented on quickly; sometimes slow and steady winning the race is the best approach to use.

This makes it important to figure out the best time you can post on the site, and then making a proper schedule for these times. The more people will see your posts, the more chances you will have of getting free Instagram likes for one post, as well as boosting them.

How long does your audience spend in viewing your post?

In this way, Instagram has become very similar to Facebook, as both of them measure how long people spend looking at your content. Instagram actually uses this as a major factor in deciding how much it will boost your post.

Beating this aspect may seem impossible, but take a cue from the people that know how to do it in the first place – and the way is using captions effectively and greatly. The more engaging your caption is, the more people will spend time looking at it and clicking the ‘read more’ button, as opposed to skimming it over. That will automatically add the time they will spend on your post, which boosts its overall visibility.

Another great way is to use videos (or boomerangs, as they are posted in the format of videos). This is because they will encourage the audience to view them longer, and therefore boost the time people take on your content. In addition, using a slideshow format in posting encourages viewers to check more of your content, making it a useful strategy to try.

What are your favorite accounts, as well as your family and friends?

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One of the best aspects of the changing Instagram algorithms is that it quickly knows the accounts you enjoy frequenting, including those of your family and friends. It will, therefore, deduce that you enjoy checking content from these accounts, and it ends up showing more of that content in your feed.

This is the reason when you begin to see the posts of your favorite accounts more often, instead of just the people who you follow (which are probably many). It is able to narrow down your choices, regardless of whether the account you follow has few followers or a multitude of an audience.

The same will apply in your case. If people enjoy your content and find it entertaining, as well as liking and commenting regularly and sharing it, chances are higher that more of your content will be shown to them.

When did you post your photo?

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The algorithm will also consider the timeliness of a post to know whether it should boost it up. That means that it checks the time you posted it and then shows you more recent posts as opposed to older ones.

Another thing to keep in mind is your frequency of using the platform. If you log off for a few days and then open it later, the site will bring you any top posts you missed. The general rule is that the site now allows for a longer time period for viewing posts, which means you can view posts from the day before.

The kind of content it is

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The type of content you want to see will definitely play a role in what you will view, not just engagement levels. It will determine the type of posts you deem relevant, such as sports, music or movies, and then bring the accounts that post these things regularly into your timeline.

Searching for the account

This will alert Instagram that you enjoy a particular account and you want to see more of their posts on your feed.

Sharing it in DMs

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This is a form of engagement, even though it seems minor. The more people share your content, the better your posts will perform.

Final thoughts

Even though getting your posts higher up seems impossible or difficult, you can actually beat the algorithm through understanding how it operates.