How Instagram Algorithm Works [Quick Guide]

With the end of likes on Instagram, users shared opinions on how the social network will behave in terms of results. But the truth is thatthe Instagram algorithm considers more than just likes… and you need to understand this better to use the platform to your advantage.

In this article, I’m going to show you how the Instagram algorithm works and what to do to increase the reach of your posts. At the end, I’ll also clarify about the dangers of using automation (like Gerenciagram).

First, let’s take a step back before taking two forward. If you’ve never heard of an algorithm, it’s time to understand what it’s all about. After all, he is responsible for delivering your content to the end user – your audience.

como funciona o algoritmo do instagram

What is Instagram Algorithm

The algorithm is a robot. A robot that considers some criteria to understand if your post is valuable to its followers or if it isn’t.

In the first case, the robot will show your post to more people. In the second case, he will ignore it and it will be forgotten among all the other posts that are done per day.

Each social network has its own algorithm and considers different criteria, taking into account the purpose of the network.

Instagram, for example, values ​​user engagement and wants to show content that is visually interesting for those online.

Therefore, it has criteria that range from comments to post frequency. You’ve already noticed that it goes way beyond likes, right?

If you expect your content to reach more people, this is a topic you need to pay attention to.

How to get more reach

As I said before, the algorithm dictates its range. Posts that don’t meet the criteria are dropped, while those that do go far.

If you expect people to remember your brand often and see you as a reference in something, pay attention to the following criteria:

1 – Engagement

engajamento - algoritmo instagram

When talking about Instagram engagement, you should keep 3 things in mind: comments, shares and lastly likes.

I put likes last because they are the least important factor here. Remember I said that the “end” of the likes doesn’t change your life at all? And so.

That’s because it’s easy for a person to like a photo. Commenting and sharing, however, requires a higher level of user interest and involvement.

I’m sure you only comment on posts from people you know or admire. Your audience has the same behavior…

Therefore, it is your duty to encourage these good practices.

There are several ways to do this, but I’ll show you later.

2 – Direct Sharing

compartilhamento direto - algoritmo instagram

You know that little paper airplane icon that appears under each of your posts? This is the button where people who follow you can share your posts via direct message (DM) or Stories.

And this is what we call direct sharing. That way, it’s like there’s a big fan showing Instagram’s algorithm that their content is awesome. Otherwise, no one would share it with friends.

3 – Relationship

intreacao com os usuarios

Social network already carries in its name its purpose: socialize. This means that by being a part of it, you can’t just be a content provider and not get involved. In other words: it’s not worth leaving your followers talking alone. You must reply to them, either by comments or DM, and allow yourself to interact.

In addition to this action being well regarded in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm, you also end up attracting more people to your page and making your followers loyal. After all, everyone likes a little attention.

4 – Temporality

Temporality, or as some call it, Newness, is an important factor on Instagram. As things happen so fast on the platform – and in the world – having an inconsistent volume of posts can get in the way.

The Instagram Algorithm understands that posting constantly, between 1 and 2 times a day, means that your brand often brings news. That way, you end up presenting the content more often and for longer to your followers.

People who don’t have consistency on Instagram are left with low engagement, low delivery, low reach and, consequently, low sales volume.

5 – Search by profile

busca por perfil

This It’s simple. If your content doesn’t show up to people, but they are interested in your posts, they’ll end up searching your Instagram profile.

This behavior shows the algorithm that your content is really good and that the audience wants to hear what you have to say. That way, you’ll start appearing more often to these people.

6 – Time on Page

Throw the first stone who has never stayed for several minutes in one person’s feed. In general, this happens when you are interested in the content you have there or, at the very least, you found the feed beautiful.

Regardless of the reason, Instagram’s algorithm understands that this is good behavior and ends up favoring your posts to that person. In other words: the more time you can get the audience to spend on your profile, the better.

7 – Relevance

relevancia - algoritmo instagram

You are related to the subject of the content you share on Instagram and the hashtags (see here how to use hashtags the right way ). These tags help the algorithm recognize the topic you’re talking about and include you in those categories that appear on the social network’s “discovery” page.

In general, the categories that appear in the item “made for you” are with the subjects that interest the user. For one person, for example, “food”, “fashion” and “shopping” may be highlighted. For another, “fitness”, “decoration”, “movies” may appear.

This recognition of subjects that most interest the user is based on the level of interaction with the content. The selection of those that appear first is done considering the criteria I presented above.

In the video below, I talked more about how the algorithm works and what a difference it makes to your life as a company. Watch:

Stories Algorithm

It may look the same, but Feed and Stories work quite differently on Instagram. Therefore, the algorithm also has different criteria. Most of them are not disclosed and confirmed by Instagram, but there is a consensus among experts regarding the most important ones. They are:

1 – New

I said before that the novelty factor (Temporality) is well regarded by the algorithm. In Stories, this is even more important.

A good tip is to post frequently not just daily, but hourly. About 10 Stories posts a day is great, however, if you can post more, the better.

Also, the more you post, the more likely you are to be there in front of the most recent posts tab in Stories.

algoritmo dos stories

2 – Use of available resources

Instagram releases new features frequently. Polls, quizzes, questions and answers, quizzes, igtv… Not to mention the features linked to the camera, such as filters and collages.

I know these features seem to be just support to make the platform more fun, but their importance is too great. If you use them, the algorithm understands that it makes good use of the platform and ends up giving you greater relevance.

3 – Interaction

The use of resources is also linked to interaction. Once you use them to have a greater exchange with the audience, the algorithm sees you positively. So, abuse polls, quizzes, questions and answers… and don’t forget to reply to comments by DM.

The other aspects are similar to those considered in the Instagram Feed Algorithm.

Know your audience

conheca a sua persona

The best content will never work if you don’t know your audience deeply. By that, I mean that you need to know what their aspirations, tastes, behaviors, desires, dreams, values ​​are, what inspires them in their daily lives.

The positive side is that this is crucial information not only to have relevance on social media, but to communicate with your audience in every way.

When you build a business, every decision must be based on this person, this representative figure that you created of your ideal customer. We call this figure Persona – and we’ve already talked about it here on the blog .

Calm down! I know it may sound complicated, but I have a guide here to help you build your persona. This is the Empathy Map, where you can add new information as you get to know your audience better.

A good tip to start with is to look at the metrics that Instagram itself discloses about your profile. You can view this data by entering your business page settings.

This information is more linked to geography and demography, but it is a good first step. Also, asking questions, polling and playing games with the audience can help you get more material about the audience.

Based on that, you’ll be able to build better content that makes sense to those who follow you.

How to use the Algorithm to your advantage

como usar o algoritmo a seu favor

Knowing how to create great content, you have already taken the first step towards the success of your publications. The next step is related to Instagram’s algorithm – yes, it again.

I’ve brought here some aspects that you should pay attention to in order to make the algorithm work in your favor.

  • Posting Time: Pay attention to the time you are going to post. The more interactions you have in the first 30 minutes of posting, the greater the reach and the greater the chances of getting results.
  • CTAs: It’s what will get your audience to do something after seeing your content. It can be putting into practice a step by step and tagging you, it can be commenting on your image, tagging a friend or, suddenly, even visiting your store and buying!
  • Attractive content: I know I’m being redundant , but it is necessary to emphasize the importance of content that catches the user’s attention. Just think about the behavior of the platform: the user sees something interesting, shares, comments and, consequently, more people come to you.

Alert: Automation on Instagram

automacao no instagram

Yeah It is common for users – entrepreneurs and aspiring influencers in particular – to look for automation tools to manage Instagram. Maybe you’ve heard or even use one of them: Gerenciagram, Buffer, AgoraPulse, SproutSocial, MLabs…

They can be very useful to help you schedule posts, respond to comments, access data, among other tasks. However, they also pose a danger to your page.

This is an alert for those who use automations to follow, “follow”, like and send automatic messages to new followers.

A few months ago, Instagram changed the platform’s privacy policy, which directly affected the behavior of tool integrations.

At the time of the change, several management tools stopped working immediately due to a mismatch with the API. This API is the set of routines and patterns that external tools must follow to use the Instagram service.

Along with the tools that stopped working with the release of the new policy, some business and personal profiles were deleted. That’s right, they had the accounts deleted without any apparent explanation.

It turns out that the explanation lies precisely in the use of management and automation tools.

Instagram recognized a “robotized” action, something only a machine can do. This type of robotic action can be, for example: like 600 photos, follow people, unfollow people, send automatic message… 

These actions at a very high volume within a short period of time represent unusual behavior for real people. So Instagram sees it as a fake profile.

And fake profiles are deleted.

Does that mean you can’t use automations?

No. It means you need to use them sparingly.


  • DO NOT follow hundreds of people a day.
  • DO NOT send messages in large batches at once.
  • NO leave likes in photos as automatic.

  • NOpost photos, stories and videos at once, at the same time.
  • DO NOT use more than 10 hashtags in your photos.
  • DO NOT use the same hashtags for every type of post.

The automation tool is great to support you in management, but not to manage for you.

How to Sell on Instagram

engajamento - algoritmo instagram0

With all that I’ve told you here, you can understand that selling on Instagram is not simply throwing a portion of a photo of your product into the feed, right? Your focus should be to involve people and, thus, sales will happen as a result of good performance.

And a good performance means using the algorithm to your advantage.

But if you really want to get your business going on Instagram, you need to use smart strategies. These strategies, combined with your knowledge of the audience and the algorithm, will cause the results to multiply and grow steadily.

So I’ve brought you here a Guide on How to Sell on Instagram.

In it, you will have access to sales steps and strategies tested by us, Ecommerce in Practice, and our students.

This is a quick and practical read, where you will have several insights for your business to become a sales machine.

Get to know:

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