What Factors Affect the Instagram Algorithm in 2021?
The Instagram algorithm is tricky, there’s no doubt about that. The level of visibility you have will of course directly affect your audience interactions and engagements. In the world of weddings on Instagram, there is a very high competition for visibility. So, if you’re finding you’re getting a lower engagement than you have previously, you may need to try something new.
Here is a guide to factors that affect the Instagram algorithm for posts and how you can harness them in your Instagram marketing. Once you have read up on these, it is worth evaluating your Instagram and other social media performance with a social media audit, this will help you identify which factors you are currently harnessing and which you may not be using.
Factors that affect the performance of your Instagram posts
The key to increasing your engagement on Instagram is to work smarter, not harder. The following factors are key when creating your strategy.
Below we explain each factor and why they matter.
Interactions and Interest
What your audience likes to see. The more the algorithm thinks your audience likes or is interested in a certain type of content, the more likely they will see it. Posting regularly (ideally on a daily basis) gives your audience more ability to interact with your posts and Instagram can then mark your posts as interesting content.
Of course, in order for your content to be marked as high-quality by Instagram, you’ll need your audience to engage with your posts. The type of interaction that your audience does on your post is key to this. Each type of interaction is ranked and specific interactions are more powerful than others
Here’s how instagram values the interaction:
- Saves (bookmark icon) – if your audience saves a post it generally means they want to return to it and see it again. Instagram sees this as a marker of high-quality content.
- Reshares (paper aeroplane icon) – if your audience shares the post with others, it means they think others should see it. Again, a marker of high-quality content. Unfortunately, due to new laws in Europe, UK businesses are unable to read this metric. However, it will still be useful to encourage the action!
- Video views – Like Facebook, Instagram sees video views as a key engagement for your posts. Consider using Reels and IGTV series to increase this.
- Likes and Comments – this is key for community relationships and has always been integral to engagements.
Notice how when you follow someone new, Instagram immediately shows you several of their previous posts? This is to see how you engage with them and therefore inform your relationship with that person.
The more interaction you have with that person or business, the more likely you are to see their posts. This can be measured across several factors, including:
- Direct messaging
- Story interaction
- Live video interactions
- The accounts you search for
- The content you most interact with and how
- The people you may know off social media. (We think this could be identified by contact connections you already have in your phone or even who you are friends with on Facebook.)
Instagram will assume your audience’s relationship with your business based on how they interact with your posts and your page in general. It may be worth considering how you can develop this relationship further when you audit your social media, especially with those who will potentially book your services.
Do you take the opportunity to post regularly? Do you take the opportunity to post when your followers are online? Instagram wants to show your audience recent and high-quality content that they will be able to interact with while it’s relevant to them.
Experiment with the times you post on your instagram and see if your audience interacts more or less with your posts. Check your Instagram Insights to see your audience’s most active times. You can measure this by both day and times.
Tip: If you are posting in the moment, get ready to go live on Instagram. It will tell you how many followers are currently “active” on the platform. This could be a good way to measure if that is a good time to post or not.
This is not consistency of posting (although that will help you), this is consistency of your audience being online and the consistency of their interactions. If your audience are “scrollers”, they’ll see the most recent content that has been posted since they were last on the app.
If they aren’t on the app very often, Instagram will try to show them things they like (see the Interaction and Interest section for more on this).
If your audience are always interacting with your posts in the same way (i.e. liking and moving on to the next post), Instagram will assume that is all they will do to your future posts. Try encouraging different kinds of interactions in captions – the algorithm will likely see these different interactions as a good thing.
Having lots of followers is great, but are your followers active on Instagram? How many accounts do they follow? How can you get them to be more engaged with your posts? Trying to answer these questions will help you regardless of your follower number. If Instagram sees that your followers are actively engaging with your posts, that will help your performance.
Interestingly, many businesses are now working with micro-influencers (those with between 1k – 100k followers) as while they may have less followers and reach less people, their audiences are typically more engaged than those with a higher follower count.
By posting at the time your audience is most active and encouraging different types of interaction, you’ll encourage more audience activity with your posts.
Remember, Instagram ENCOURAGES you to review the accounts you interact with the least. Look at the people you follow and Instagram will show you the list of those you’ve had the least interaction with in the last 90 days and advise you to review the list.
Looking for assistance with your social media performance? The Guides for Brides Marketing Team specialise in social media marketing for the wedding sector. Our team can help you reach your social media marketing goals, assist with your strategy and perform audits to help you figure out your goals for social media marketing. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can support your marketing efforts.