How Instagram’s algorithm works

Instagram users were missing 70% of all posts and 50% of their friends’ posts before the app ditched reverse chronological feed for an algorithm in July 2016. Despite backlash about confusing orders, Instagram now says relevancy sorting has led to its 800 million-plus users seing 90% of their friends’ posts and spending more time on the app.

Yet Instagram has never explained exactly how the algorithm chooses what to show you until today. The Facebook-onwed company assembled a group of reporters at its under-construction new San Francisco office to take lid off the Instagram feed ranking algorithm.

Instagram product lead Julian Gutman explains the algorithm

Instagram’s Feed Ranking Criteria

Three main factors determine what you see in your Instagram feed.

  1. Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for what matters to you
  2. Recency: How recently the post was shared, with priortization for timely posts
  3. Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram.

Then three additional factors that influence rankings ar

  • Frequency: How often you open Instagram, as it will try to show you the best posts since your last visit
  • Following: If you follow a lot of people, Instagram will function differently than if you just follow close friends
  • Usage: How long you spend on Instagram determines if you’re just seeing the best posts during short sessions, or its digging deeper into its catalog if you spend more time browsing.

We’ll have more details shortly

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