Instagram wanted to shed light on how its platform works by explaining how posts handle their algorithms. As the company ensures, each section of the app has its own system when it comes to showing updates to users. Feed, Reels, Stories and Search or Discover, each space has its own algorithm.
Social networks are so popular that the number of users brings a great inconvenience: it is often impossible to visualize everything they post. For this reason, the different platforms have a classification system with which to show the updates according to different criteria; without the controversy escaping since it is not possible to know what really influences a recommendation. Instagram has decided to clarify it and, incidentally, end any belief around favoritism.
There is no single recommendation algorithm on Instagram
In an article on the Instagram blog, the head of the company, Adam Mosseri, explained all the mechanisms that make up the different user recommendations. There are no technical details that facilitate its replication, as with platforms like TikTok, but there is an exercise of certain transparency. As much as, in practice, users have a different perception.
Adam assures that there is no single algorithm for Instagram since the different sections of the platform have different functions, different objectives and, by extension, also recommendations are made in a tailored way. This means that even if the followers publish Stories and Reels equally, the content will not appear recommended with the same priority in the application.
Broadly speaking, this is what the different Instagram algorithms take into account:
- Feed or cover of images and videos. Instagram takes into account the number of likes for each post, the type of content, where it was posted, and who uploaded it. Precisely, the algorithm will show those publications of those followed with which there is more contact and among which there is more interaction. The more you deal with a user, the more you will see them in the feed (and the longer you are viewing their content).
- Stories or Histories. Interactions have the greatest weight in recommendation algorithms: the more you deal with users, the more Stories of theirs you will see on your Instagram. In addition, the algorithm rewards original content (penalizes photos and videos shared from the feed).
- Search or Explore. The search section has a different algorithm from the Feed and Stories because in Discover there are users who are not followed (Instagram cannot measure direct interactions so easily). In the first place, content will appear related to what you have searched for or to topics that you like (if there are cats on your Instagram, in Discover, cats will appear); then the popularity of the content (number of likes), how well known the author is, and the information about the photo or video will be taken into account. Instagram applies certain restrictions to Discover not to promote sensitive content.
- Videos a la TikTok or Reels. The interactions you have with users will make their Reels appear first; The algorithm also takes into account the popularity of the video and that of the author; Instagram analyzes the information of the video and classifies it according to the audio it includes, it also takes into account the type of Reels you liked to offer you more similar ones. Finally, videos with sensitive content are penalized.
As we said, Adam Mosseri did not detail technical issues, rather he underlined several of the elementary aspects that the different algorithms take into account. What he does emphasize is that Instagram does not limit the scope of posts, a theory that has gained some weight. As stated by the person in charge of the platform, it is basically the interactions of the users that determine that a photo, video, Story or Reel appears in each person’s app. And if you don’t see those publications, it may simply be because you don’t want to.
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