Instagram Algorithm Updates


Let’s talk about the ever-changing Instagram algorithm. Our Lead Social Consultant, Krissy, is always getting questions directly related to this, so she’s breaking it down for us today. As of September 2023, here’s what you need to know. Take notes! 

While Instagram rolls out new features and updates, one thing remains consistent: the goal is to keep you on the app for as long as possible by generating a personalized feed of content you find interesting. 


Feed posts

You’ve probably noticed when scrolling Instagram that you see a lot more content from accounts you don’t even follow but sometimes miss out on posts from people that you do. What’s the deal?

Instagram considers your past activity and shows you content based on how likely you are to like, comment, share, save, or visit a person’s profile after viewing their post. This is why we’re constantly stressing how important engagement is! However, not only is engagement taken into account, but the amount of time a user spends looking at your content is a factor as well.

It’s also really important to remember that Instagram users treat the platform as a search engine. This is why using strong keywords in your captions, as well as hashtags, will make a difference and increase your chances of showing up on someone’s Explore page. 



The goal of stories is to build deeper relationships with your followers. The algorithm wants to help you do this by showing your stories to people who are likely to engage with it. A user’s Instagram habits play a role in what they’ll see. A few signals that the platform looks for are: 

  • How often someone has viewed your stories in the past
  • How often you direct message with someone
  • How often someone interacts with your feed posts


Overall, the algorithm looks at how close you appear to be with an account and ranks your content based on the existing online relationship.



Reels are a whole different ballgame. The goal of Reels is to entertain you and introduce you to new accounts, hence why you hardly see any content from people that you do know when scrolling through the Reels tab. A few signals the algorithm looks for when selecting what types of reels to show you:

  • The amount of time you spent watching a video
  • Topics that you’ve shown interest in by watching full videos or interacting with them
  • Audio that you’ve shown interest in by watching full videos or interacting with them


When planning future reels, look at your top performers and see which reached the most non-followers. Which had the best watch time? What did you do differently for those videos than your worst performers? 



Is it possible to control what you’re seeing in your feed? Yes! Well.. Kind of. You can sort your feed by its natural setting, by following, or by favorites.


Can I ensure my customers are seeing my feed posts? Besides creating engaging content, your best bet is to encourage your followers to add you to their “favorites” or turn on notifications for your posts.


How can I improve my reach on stories? Use interactive stickers, polls, Q&As, etc. to increase engagement and reach. Use your analytics to find your top-performing stories. Use these tools to your advantage.


Since direct messages count as engagement, should I DM my followers to increase my reach? This is a great strategy, but you don’t want to spam anyone. It’s a great way to engage and build a relationship by DMing them in response to their content but don’t DM them to be salesy. Sales DMs are the equivalent of a cold call and a great way to lose followers. 


My engagement has decreased even though I recreated a post that performed great several times before. Why? While using your analytics to find these top performers is great, it’s important to note that fatigue is real. If you are constantly sharing the same message, over time, your audience will find it less interesting. Experiment with topics and format.


How can I get on the Explore page? This is no easy feat. The Explore tab takes suggested content to the next level by showing you quick-performing content related to topics that you’re interested in. Look at your analytics and see where your views are coming from. You may be showing up on the Explore page, and you don’t even know it!


I hope this information helps you grow your Instagram account. If you’re using Instagram already but have no idea how to use it strategically, reach out to us! We are here to help.