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Instagram Influencer Marketing

Instagram Algorithm 2024: How Brands and Creators Can Achieve Success

Let's break down the current Instagram algorithm. Here's how it works in 2024 and what you can do to use it to your advantage.
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Ah yes, the ever-changing Instagram algorithm. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, it’s changed again.

If you’re experiencing a drop in impressions or declining engagement, keep reading. We’re breaking down the key factors that determine how high your content ranks on someone’s feed — and giving you 7 actionable ways to use the Instagram algorithm to your advantage in 2024. 

How does the Instagram algorithm work?

Moving away from a chronological timeline, Instagram introduced its algorithm in 2016 to customize each user’s Instagram feed to surface the “best,” most relevant content for that individual. 

While it seemed elusive for a while, in 2018, Instagram revealed the 6 main factors that affect its algorithm:

  1. Interest: This is how much the Instagram algorithm predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for content that matters to you. This factor is dependent on your past behavior with similar content. For example, if you interact with food content frequently, posts around recipes, restaurants, and the like may appear higher on your feed. 
  2. Recency: This means more recent content will take priority on your feed. Newer posts are often more relevant, and therefore are ranked higher in the feed than older ones.
  3. Relationship: This is a prediction of how close you are to the person who shared content, with higher ranking for people you interact with a lot on Instagram. This is determined by interactions like commenting on each other’s posts or being tagged together in photos.
  4. Frequency: This tool tracks how often you open the Instagram app, as it will try to show you the best content since your last visit. 
  5. Following: The more people you follow, the less you may see from any specific account. By proportion, if you follow 1,000 people, Instagram will be picking the “best” content from a wider pool than if you follow 100 people.
  6. Usage: This is a measure of how long you spend on Instagram, which will determine if you’re just seeing the best posts during short sessions, or digging deeper into the feed in longer sessions. 

While these factors are still important to keep in mind, we’ve got some new actionable tips for you to take advantage of the Instagram algorithm to get your content in front of your desired audience in 2024. 

How to “beat” the Instagram algorithm in 2024

1. Post original content.

While posting original content may be a no-brainer for many brands and creators, the practice is becoming even more important starting this week. Instagram introduced a few new changes to its ranking system to better highlight original content. The change comes as Meta starts cracking down on aggregators, or accounts that download or screenshot other users’ videos and photos and repost them. 

Now, if Instagram finds two or more identical pieces of content on Instagram, it will only recommend the original one. This change means that the original content will directly replace the reposted content in the app’s recommendations, such as on the explore page, Reels, and in-feed recommendations. 

To go one step further, Instagram will also start adding labels to reposted content that will link users to the original creator, and the label will be visible to the reposting account’s followers.

If you’re looking to repurpose your influencer-generated content (IGC) on your own feed, leverage the “Paid Partnership” label to have your creators’ original content show up on your feed, rather than manually uploading their content to your brand’s feed. And if you want to turn organic IGC into a paid ad, make sure to use the Partnership Ads feature or the allowlisting tool

2. Work with creators from all “tiers.”

If you’re focused on working with macro-influencers and celebrities, it’s time to expand your influencer marketing horizon. 

Historically, creators with large followings and those who frequently repost content have enjoyed the most visibility. But smaller creators have often felt overshadowed by this dynamic and have often voiced these concerns. 

In response to these complaints, Instagram is rolling out a new recommendation ranking system. Initially, eligible content will be shown to a small audience that it thinks will enjoy it. As engagement grows, the content will be gradually exposed to wider audiences. This approach aims to democratize reach, giving creators of all sizes a fair chance of reaching bigger audiences. 

Our research revealed that 64% of brands work with smaller creators, which means this algorithmic change will greatly benefit the majority of marketers and creators. As nano and micro-influencers gain more visibility, so does your brand.

3. Get on Threads.

Threads, Meta’s text-based conversation app reminiscent of Twitter, offers users the ability to share text, images, and videos, as well as interact with other users' posts through replies, reposts, and likes — and it’s quickly becoming the cheat code to success on Instagram. 

In fact, Meta recently revealed to a select group of creators, including Catherine Lockhart, that Threads will play a crucial role in growing on Instagram this year.

According to Lockhart, the Instagram insider advised sharing an introductory post about topics you generally like to talk about, and based on these initial Threads, the Instagram algorithm will push out your content and profile to those who may be interested in similar topics.

Meta also disclosed that the ideal post cadence on Threads is 5 times per week, and stressed the importance of interacting with others on Threads. 

4. Diversify your content format beyond Reels.

Since it launched in 2021, Reels have been heavily prioritized by the Instagram algorithm. However, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said on an IG Live in 2023 that the Instagram algorithm is shifting to have more balance with other types of content, such as Stories and regular feed posts. 

This change is represented in the numbers. A recent study revealed that still images and carousel posts receive higher engagement than Reels, specifically when it comes to sponsored posts. 

Source: Glossy+ Research

What does this mean for brands and creators? Switch up your content format not only to keep things interesting for your audience, but also to get your posts favored by the algorithm. Use a combination of available features on the app, including single image posts, carousel posts, Stories, Reels, and so on. 

5. Be consistent with your posting schedule. 

Posting often is encouraged by Instagram. Typically, brands and creators see the best results from posting on a daily basis. But if you don’t have the time or resources to create content on an everyday basis, Meta advises posting at least 3 to 5 times a week via Reels or feed posts. Anything less than this cadence will affect how the algorithm ranks your content. 

Additionally, make note of when your audience is most active and schedule your content to go live at that time, every time. 

6. Jump on the trending audio bandwagon.

Using trending audio in your content is important for engagement and account growth. Trending audio indicates to the algorithm that a post is likely to perform well, and will therefore prioritize showing your Reel to more users more often. 

Hot tip: If you’re posting sponsored content, always use audio from the Meta Sound Collection to ensure you’re not breaking any usage laws. 

7. Use hashtags — but not too many.

Hashtags have been around for years for good reason. Adding hashtags to your post can increase your chances of reaching a wider audience, as people are constantly searching and following relevant hashtags. 

In fact, Meta advises using 5-8 hashtags per post — no more, no less. Meta sees more than 8 hashtags as too many, and oftentimes, your content won’t get dispersed to viewers of those hashtags. Be sure to include hashtags in your post caption rather than added into the first comment of your post. 

Additionally, ensure each hashtag is relevant and specific to your niche and target audience. For example, if you create content around clean beauty, it’s a good idea to include hashtags like #naturalskincare or #crueltyfreebeauty. Using general hashtags like #beauty or random hashtags like #viral will do more harm than good in terms of your content ranking. 

Branded hashtags, such as Revolve’s #RevolveAroundTheWord or Fabletics’ #MyFabletics, are also a great way to build a community around your brand. These tags can help with brand awareness — and as an added bonus, allow you to easily source UGC.

Revamp your Instagram strategy

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to growing your Instagram engagement, following these tips and analyzing what kind of content performs the best will help inform your Instagram strategy for the rest of the year. 

Besides the strategies listed above, our best advice is to continue engaging with your community with great content and real conversations. That way, you can build authentic relationships and serve content people really want to see, boosting your ranking on their feed.

Need help building your brand’s Instagram strategy? Schedule a time to chat with one of our experts. 

For more tips on growing your brand on Instagram, watch our partner webinar, Meta + Aspire Present: The Power Of Personalization, on demand. 

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