In this Instagram FAQs series, Jenn Herman, the world’s foremost blogger and author on Instagram marketing, answers our burning questions about Instagram.
The algorithm on Instagram* is a one-to-one relationship–unlike Facebook, which is a bit of a popularity contest.
Facebook: The more people that interact with your posts, the more people Facebook shares them to.
Instagram: How you interact with my content determines where my content appears in your feed.
(*Instagram Reels admittedly still have a bit of a popularity factor: if your reel is doing really well, Instagram will typically show it to more people.)
If you typically see my content and ignore it, my content will rank lower on your feed, regardless of how many other people like it. Keep that in mind when you are creating your content for your audience; you really want to know what works for them. What is your audience interacting with?
Make sure to look at your Instagram insights for information on your average post reach. How many people saw that post? If your average reach is 100 and one post got a reach of 2,000, that’s an outlier. What was different about that post? What got that in front of more people than normal? And how can you recreate that? Maybe a post only got a 400 reach when your normal is a thousand. Why did that one not perform as well?
It could be timing. It could be the content. It could be a number of factors, but that will help you determine what is your kind of baseline and what you can do to get higher and higher reach–meaning more people are seeing it, even if they’re not interacting with it.
Instagram sees the following as positive rankings:
- swiping through a carousel
- tapping “…more” to read the caption
- scrolling back to see a piece of content
- slowing the scroll to pay a little more attention to that photo
Even though you don’t have an engagement metric, reach can tell you how many people are seeing it. And that’s usually a good indicator of what is performing well with your ideal audience.
Jenn Herman @jenn
Social Media Advisory Board Member
Jenn Herman is a social media consultant, speaker, and globally recognized Instagram expert. She is the forefront blogger on Instagram marketing and author of “Instagram for Dummies”.