The Latest Instagram Algorithm Update & How it Affects You

At the time of writing, PUPSTYLE has hit almost 11,000 followers on Instagram (@pupstylestore) and as of today’s Instagram Algorithm Update, only 5% of those followers will actually see our posts showing in their feed, provided they scroll far enough down their main feed to see them.

As an example of this, our Instagram post from one day before the algorithm update is currently sitting on 670 likes with 117 comments. Granted, yesterday’s post was ah-mazzzzing if we say so ourselves, but today’s post that features a gorgeous pupper loving life in her Fresh Blooms harness has only reached 200 likes and 14 comments. BIG Difference, and we know it’s got nothing to do with our followers not liking the gorgeous Dascha in her harness.

So, what are the updates and how can you manipulate them to work best for you? We’ve done all the digging, including finding forums and secret videos filmed from Instagram HQ with the recent algorithm changes and we’ve got the suggestions on how to make sure Instagram shows you the posts you want to see in your feed and also how to make sure Instagram shows your own posts to others in their feed.

How does the new Algorithm work?

Instagram’s main intention for their recent update was to freshen up the users’ feed and completely personalise your experience. Have you ever noticed that you see a post in your feed, only to read the caption and realise it’s from 3 days ago? Well, that’s no longer – the timing of posts, rather than the popularity of posts are being prioritised in the update and you’ll no longer have ‘stale’ posts sticking around in your feed for longer than their expiry (as determined by Instagram).

They’re also completely personalising your feed and experience with Instagram. Even if you follow the exact same accounts as another user, you’ll both see a different feed based on how you interact with those accounts. Instagram say that you’ll now see at least 90% of posts from your closest friends and family, as opposed to seeing 50% of their posts from before the update.

So, as a completely made-up example, say you follow Ryan Gosling on Insta… You’re going to like and comment on most, if not all of his posts, including liking and interacting with any posts that he’s tagged in. Instagram’s new update recognises this, knows you like seeing his face show up in your feed (duh!) and will make sure to show you him more often, whether it be his own posts or another’s posts with Ryan tagged in them (thankyou, Instagram). Because we always need more Ryan Gosling. And we’re totally fine with Instagram thinking Ryan’s part of our family.

Oh, hey Ryan. Nice to see your face again… and again…. and again…..

The 3 main features of the Instagram Algorithm

The newest features of the algorithm take into account three specific factors when deciding whether or not to show you a post in your feed:

1. Interest

How much are you going to care about a particular post? This is based on the posts you have liked and commented on in the past. Comments are always worth more than likes, so if you realllllly don’t want to miss out on someone’s posts in your feed, make sure to give them a like and a comment. This is basically teaching Insta what you want to see in future.

2. Timeliness

How long ago was a photo or video posted? Instagram will prioritise more recent posts that still meet the other requirements, so you’re not likely to see posts from a week ago.

3. Relationship

How do you know this account? If you comment on a lot of posts from a certain account or are regularly tagging each other in posts or stories, this tells Instagram that you’re good friends, so it will continue to show you both photos from each account. More on this soon…

There’s three more features that drive the algorithm but are less important than the first three:

3. Frequency

How often do you use Instagram? If you check your feed morning, midday and night, Instagram knows that it can structure your feed knowing that they still have an opportunity to show you more posts later in the day. If you only visit once per day, you’ll just get the day’s highlights.

4. Following

How many accounts do you follow? If you’ve got a big list that you follow, Instagram has a lot more posts to choose from. Make sure your valuable feed space isn’t getting taken up by accounts you don’t really care about by doing a bit of an Insta-cleanup and removing any accounts that you don’t want showing in your prime home screen real estate.

5. Usage

How much time do you spend within the app each time? If you only give yourself a small amount of screen time each day, Instagram is going to be VERY selective with the posts they show you. The more time you spend in the app will determine the way they sort your feed for you.

Important man, Julian Gutman, from Instagram at their algorithm announcement

A few extra things to note

Business vs. Personal Profile

Neither account type takes preference over the other, and as far as Instagram say, they’re not trying to force business accounts to pay for Instagram advertising just to get seen. Apparently.

Videos are no longer more valuable than photos

Previously, Instagram rewarded accounts that posted valuable content and they deemed videos to be more valuable than photos. Not anymore. Whilst videos won’t be ranked higher than photos in your feed purely for their format, Instagram will know your personal preference for watching videos over interacting with photos, so you will still be the deciding factor that tells Instagram what you’d like to see more of.

Insta Stories and Live Videos don’t give you bonus points

Until now, accounts that used all of the features of Instagram were rewarded with more exposure to their followers. Now, only accounts that produce great content have the biggest opportunity to grow and be seen by their followers, providing their followers engage with their content.

How to manipulate your Instagram feed to see what you want

1. Make sure to reward accounts that you want to see more from

Love their content, love their products, love the things they stand for, don’t want to miss a sale or you just want to steal all the funny quotes they post? Make sure you’re liking and commenting every time they post, or you won’t see anything in your feed from them.

2. Tag each other in posts or stories regularly

If you’re friends and family, this isn’t too hard to do. If you don’t want to miss out on seeing PUPSTYLE posts, tag us every time you post a photo or story in your harness, collar, lead, bow tie or bandana. We try and repost as many stories as possible, so you’ll get a tag back from us and Instagram will know we’re a close-knit fur-fam. And of course, we’ll always tag you in the photos we repost of you (we wrote our last blog post about how to make your photos and your feed look amazing here), and then everyone will like and comment on them, and then you’ll show up in their feeds as well because Instagram starts realising that we all love each other SO DAMN MUCH!

3. Post quality content yourself

Even if you don’t post photos and prefer stories (or the other way around), make sure you’re posting quality content. You don’t need to have the most amazing photographic skills for it to be ‘quality’, but it could be funny, informative or helpful for your followers to make them want to engage with you and see more of what you’ve got to share.

Instagram algorithm updates are always scary in the beginning when you see your numbers drop instantly and you run around in a panic trying to figure out what you did to deserve such a terrible reception from everyone you thought loved you. Never fear – with these tips and information, we’re sure this update will be one of the better ones, and we’ll all feel like an even closer Instafam than we already are in no time!