We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again:

Instagram is a rapidly shifting social platform. it adapts, it transforms, it upgrades, and all in the blink of a hashtag.

What works today for marketers might not be just as hot in a year. But right here and right now, it’s important to get a firm hold of the very essence of Instagram. Because only by understanding what drives it you will be able to make informed decisions and adapt as you go.

Listen, we’re not here to tell you what rules to follow.

We’re here to empower you by offering the knowledge and tools to craft a marketing strategy that stays true to your brand and actually works. That means putting a bit of yourself into it.

What we know for sure is that following a bunch of rules blindly will leave you nowhere. Instead, if you understand how Instagram is built, you’ll be able to move among its jungle of features in a way that will benefit your business.

So, without further ado, let’s go straight into the very heart of Instagram: its algorithm.

I know, I know, even the word scares the thought of bigger engagement. Most of the times, we see Instagram’s algorithms as an obstacle in the way of us connecting with our target. However, it can become our greatest ally. If we only take the time to understand it. Truly understand it!

The algorithm’s sole purpose is to maximize the time users spend in the app

If you have to remember one thing, and one thing only about the algorithm, this should be it!

Whatever Instagram does, whatever new rollout it announces, whatever new feature it prioritizes are all decided by their potential to make users spend a bit more time on the platform.

The more time users spend on the platform, the more time Instagram has to offer advertisers.

Makes sense, right?

Good, we’re glad we agree. Then, abide by this way of the algorithm. How? To begin with, you could always be among the firsts to jump on the “new feature releases” wagon, because Instagram will almost always prioritize these rollouts to encourage adoption.

Next, you should consider doing tons of research. Ok, scratch that. You shouldn’t consider. You should DO tons of research. Become the follower of your followers and analyze the way they interact with family and friends.

  • What type of content do they post?
  • When do they post?
  • What type of content do they like and comment upon?

These are answers you should know by heart. And these should be deeply woven into the fabric of your social media strategy. Sounds too simple? Well, it’s often the simple things we overlook. So, whenever you feel like your strategy is not working to its full extent, consider revisiting the basics. You might be into for a surprise.

The algorithm cannot be tricked

We bet you’ve come across a bunch of articles that promise to reveal:

  • how to crack Instagram’s algorithm
  • top 5 ways to outsmart Instagram’s algorithm
  • how to gain thousands of followers by hacking the algorithm

Let’s be honest about it. With the Instagram algorithm, there are no cutting corners. It’s not a race to out-smart it, it’s a race to understand it, get to know its mechanism and create strategies and content that will leverage its benefits.

Yes, that’s a lot harder than finding a magic trick that will fix all your problems. But who said Instagram marketing is a walk in the park? It takes vision, creativity and a prone eye for seeing patterns and opportunities.

Thus, next time when you feel tempted to find shortcuts, buy followers, use #likeforlike hashtags, do yourself a favor and don’t waste your energy. Instead, focus on doing things the right way and building your profile one digital brick at a time.

Since the algorithm favors posts with high rates of likes, comments, views, saves, and shares, spend your energy trying to understand your customers and create content that’s relevant to their interests.

Acknowledge the fact that the algorithm simply analyses what genres of content users like and what other users they interact with. Once you do, you can also try to bring the community feel that so well describes Instagram into your content and posts.

Know that Videos currently work better than gallery posts and pics, but that the Instagram algorithm prioritizes new releases so make sure to use those as well.

There’s a new algorithm in town: Instagram’s Explore Page Algorithm

While Instagram revealed little about how the Instagram’s Explore Page Algorithm actually works, one thing they cannot hide is that it exists. Joke aside, it appears this algorithm is very similar to the one it governs the feed, with the difference that it also displays posts to users who are not following you.

Now, if you didn’t yet get the scoop on what the Instagram Explore Page is and how it can help your business grow on Instagram, make sure to check it out.

In a nutshell, the Instagram Explore Page comes to wash away the stain the Popular Page left on Instagram when it failed to be relevant for users. Now, the Explore Page presents itself as a personalized version for each user, tailor-made to their preferences and interests. The main lesson here: establishing behavioral patterns represents a key mechanism for Instagram’s mechanism.

So what does the new Instagram Explore Page mean for your business? it means that you should try very hard to get on that page and gain exposure to a whole new target audience. How do you do that, you’re wondering? Analyze the way the Explore Page behaves on your profile. Once you have some solid notions about how it works, turn to researching the way your followers interact with it.

The algorithm is built upon a tit-for-tat mindset

We talked about how careful analysis and research can help you better understand the algorithm. However, there’s no greater way to learn its insights than by participating in its game.

That means: don’t be a bystander, be part of the conversation.

If you want to be taken seriously by your followers and if you don’t want to appear like an old-fashion brand who’s talking unilaterally, then you must also participate in their conversations. Sure, draw them into yours, but be interested and take action when your users interact with each other.

Conclusion: help the algorithm so that the algorithm can help you

Improving your marketing strategy on Instagram means paying close attention to its inner workings and latest updates. There’s no way around it. No schemes, no hidden games, just good old fair-play and loads of creativity. So, whenever in doubt, go back to the drawing board and draw your inspiration from what Instagram is at its core. Don’t fight the game. Play it as well as you can. And don’t forget to have fun!


Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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