Brace yourself: The new Instagram algorithm is here.
Instead of a reverse-chronological feed of content, Instagram is becoming more like Facebook’s News Feed.
If your Instagram feed doesn’t already show photos and videos in seemingly random order, it will soon. After testing an algorithmic feed with a small percentage of its user base over the past couple of months, Instagram is turning on the new feed for everyone.
“On average, people miss 70% of their feeds,” according to a post on the Facebook-owned app’s blog. “It’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share as Instagram has grown. Over the past few months, we brought this new way of ordering posts to a portion of the community, and we found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way.”
Instagram is being intentionally vague about how it sorts content in your feed. An Instagram spokesperson told Tech Insider in March that dozens of signals go into sorting photos and videos in the feed. Here are some examples:
- The relationship between you and the person who (or company that) posted the photo:
- If you usually like a lot of photos from a certain account, or regularly leave a comment, then Instagram knows you have a relationship with that poster, and, as a result, will likely want to see photos from that account.
- Since Instagram has for years been chronologically based, the company will closely consider when the photo was posted to determine where it shows up in your feed. The spokesman said the company wants to make sure that it’s still showing you timely posts.
- Likes and comments:
- Although the Instagram spokesperson said that the new feed will not be a popularity contest, likes and comments will certainly come into play. But just because you follow Taylor Swift, and her posts repeatedly earn more than 2 million likes, doesn’t mean that she’ll always be at the top of your feed.
- Direct shares:
- Instagram will look at what posts you have shared with others, and who those other people are. Since you’re engaging with the photo, it’s a sign that you’re interested in that person or company, which will affect how Instagram places future photos from the account in your feed.
- Profile searches:
- If you search for a certain athlete, like LeBron James, or even a friend, then Instagram has another signal that you’re likely interested in posts from that person or company.
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