The algorithm for Instagram’s feed has been a complete mystery ever since it was introduced back in 2016, but now the company has finally opened up and revealed its secrets, explaining the code in a little more detail.
While many users long for the good old days of the chronological feed, according to Instagram that method actually caused users to miss out of 70% of posts and 50% of their friends’ posts. The new sorting method means that its 800-million users are now seeing 90% of their friends’ posts and spend more time on the app (we’ll let you decide if that’s a good or bad thing).
So how does it work? Well, it relies on three core factors – Interest, Recency, and Relationship.
The “Interest” element examines past interactions and behaviour to determining which posts you’ll care about most. Meanwhile, “Recency” adds a timely element, prioritising new content over weeks old stuff, and finally, “Relationship” works by looking at how close you are to the person who shared it – higher ranking going to those you’ve interacted with in the past via comments, tags, and likes.
According to TechCrunch, the Instagram team also spent some time breaking down myths about the feed, such as:
– Instagram doesn’t hide any content – you will see everything if you scroll for long enough
– It doesn’t favour people who post Stories
– It doesn’t penalise you if you post too often or use too many hashtags
– It doesn’t prioritise videos over photos (unless the specific user viewing the feed has been determined to prefer videos)
Finally, and sadly for those who miss it, Instagram confirmed it has no plans to revert back to a chronological feed, probably because it makes it a lot easier for them to display ads. Regardless, it’s nice to see the company being a little more transparent and interacting with the brands and users that make the platform what it is.