3 Keys To Understand The New Instagram Algorithm

June 6, 2018

Let me start by thanking all my frequent listeners. If you’ve been part of the journey, thank you.

You’re the real MVP.


If this is your first time here. I’m your host, Dylan Hey, founder of Hey Digital and also known as the ginger bearded preacher.

You can also find me in my Facebook group, Sell More With Social Media.

This podcast is all about sharing the latest tips, tricks, and news within the social media space.

Also, you’ll listen to some of the world’s leading founders and thought leaders in the social space.

I usually do groundbreaking interviews but today, it’s going to be you and me.

Let me take you on a date.

I promise it won’t be boring and if I am, please leave a comment and tell me why.

This week, I’ll talk about the new Instagram algorithm, and I’ll also give you a quick update on what I’ve been doing over the past few weeks.

What’s This Show All About

  • What I’ve Been Up To
  • The Truth About The Instagram Algorithm
  • How Does The Instagram New Algorithm Work?
  • The Future Of Instagram
  • Common Misconceptions About The Instagram Algorithm

What I’ve Been Up To

I’ve you’re one of my frequent listeners, you already know I recently made the leap to set up my new business three weeks ago.

I’m super excited about this, and it’s been an amazing experience, but I’ve been very quiet about this journey over the last week, and I’m sorry.

I’ve recently returned from a 2-day trip to Berlin in Germany with a new client, and it was a lot of fun.

instagram-algorithm-dylan-hey dylan-hey-instagram-algorithm-berlin

I was helping them optimize their sales process and doing some social selling workshops with them.

I've put a lot of effort into my personal brand over the last 12 months and it's really starting to pay off. This client came as a result of one of my LinkedIn videos. 

And that’s probably one of the reasons you’re listening to this podcast right now - the work I've put into my personal brand.

If you’re looking to start your own business or go solo, please focus on your personal brand. Even if you’re not too sure when you’re going to leave, start focusing on your personal brand.  

But Dylan, how can I build my personal brand?

For starters, start building a community. Start talking to people. Start posting helpful content, simply put yourself out there.

For me, doing this and focusing on building my brand has entirely changed my life.

It has brought me great experiences, more clients, and even more money, which is awesome.

Now, let’s get down to business and talk about Instagram and its algorithm.

The Truth About Instagram Algorithms

You, me, everybody within the social media space wonders how algorithms work.

Marketers, owners, users, pretty much everyone is trying to crack the algorithms and find better ways to find and be found.

Some of them will tell you that they know how these algorithms work.

But I’ll tell you a secret…

Come closer.

Even closer.

It’s all bullshit.

Half of the time, people don’t know how algorithms work.

They make assumptions and educated guesses as I’ve done in the past. This doesn’t mean you can’t be successful; on the contrary, if you analyze your data, you’ll find great tips, but that might not help everybody.

How Does The Instagram New Algorithm Work?

Simply put, an algorithm is a system that decides how and what content you see. So, basically, when you’re scrolling through Instagram, the algorithm decides what you see.

This week, Instagram said they’d take into account three main factors, or signals, to rank your content.

  • Interest

This signal determines how interested you’re likely to be on a given post. The interest signal looks at how much you’ve engaged with an image or a video post. The interest signal access to those posts through Instagram’s image recognition tool.

Let’s say the signal is looking at my account. It would say, “Dylan usually engages with this kind of content, so we’ll show him more of that.”

  • Timeliness

This signal takes into account when a post is published. People have been saying that, over the last few months, they’ve seen way too much old content on their feeds.

Keep in mind that Instagram used to order their posts and to put most recent ones first, but that changed a few months ago when they changed the algorithm. Now, after people complained, they tweaked that signal, and now Instagram algorithm takes time more into account.

  • Relationship

This takes into account your relationship with the post’s original creator. I think this is the most interesting signal because what Instagram is telling us is that they’ll look into your previous relationships with these creators and show you more of that content.

For instance, if you’ve been exchanging likes or messages with someone, you’re more likely to see some of that in your feed.

I think these three core elements are super important and we’ll have to see how this all develops.

The Future Of Instagram

Another thing Instagram people said is that they’ll be focusing much more on image recognition tools, which is something Facebook’s also been doing.

Let’s say I’m at a national park. Instagram can now use this data to work out where I am and tag the picture automatically.

 Cool, isn’t it?

This will help Instagram improve its search features and make it easier for users to search for things like animals or architecture without even have to use hashtags.

Does this mean hashtags are dead?

I think it’s still too soon to tell.

Common Misconceptions About The Instagram Algorithm

One of the issues that come from algorithms being so secret is that there are some myths and misconceptions about how to rank and get discovered easily on Instagram.

  • Videos Perform Better Than Pictures

For quite a long time, people have been saying that videos perform better on Instagram, but recently the company debunked that theory. Videos don’t perform better than photos.

I did believe there was a preference because when I posted a couple of videos and I got much more engagement, but maybe it was just a coincidence or people just like videos better.

  • People Spend Hours on Instagram

While it’s true that people are spending more time on Instagram, according to the app, users are now spending an average of 21 to 25 minutes since they updated the algorithm.

This shows that while people aren’t spending hours on the app, they are taking enough time to create good content, which will increase the app’s importance as a place to find and be found.

That’s it for the day, everybody. I hope you liked this episode. Instagram is a tough nut to crack, but I hope I helped you understand it a bit more.

One last thing. I know many of you listen to this podcast, and I know you probably like it, but I rarely see your feedback. So, please, give me some feedback, guys. Please send me a DM, a message, an email, whatever.

Just connect with me, don’t be afraid, I’m here to answer your questions.

Key Takeaways

  • Instagram is focusing more on relationships; try to use that to your advantage
  • All types of content perform the same
  • Nobody can tell you exactly how algorithms work
  • Berlin is an awesome city

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