Navigating the Instagram algorithm in 2020

Updated October 6, 2023

Improve Your Instagram Game

Instagram is arguably one of the top social media platforms with millions of users posting content daily. Lots of users are on the platform to interact with friends and family or keep up with their favorite celebrities.

However, a lot more use the platform for business purposes. Even celebrities use it to advance their careers, promote brands and market their products.

In the beginning, Instagram feed was chronological. Once the platform moved from that, users had many questions as they were a little confused. The algorithm had changed and this raised concerns such as the following:

  • How do you get more comments with your content?
  • Are hashtags still useful?
  • Do videos get more hits than images?

Instagram Responds

Fortunately, the platform decided to address users’ concerns as well as take care of the innuendo surrounding the Instagram algorithm. There are some factors that impact the algorithm for feed posts. These include the following:

How Often You Open the App

Instagram checks how often you are on the platform. If you are a frequent user, your feed contains what Instagram construes to be the best feed. If you are a sporadic user, your feed consists of the content Instagram thinks is relevant for you.


The options provided by the platform depend on how many people you follow. If you follow a large number of people, you have a lot of options. However, you may not access content from every person you follow.

What You Are Interested in

What kind of content do you like on your Instagram? That will also inform the kind of content that appears frequently on your feed. Instagram uses your past behavior on related content. Hence, if you have ‘liked’ and followed beauty-based accounts and content, you are likely to have more of the same on your Instagram feed.

Time Spent on the Platform

How much time do you spend on Instagram? Users who spend a lot of time on the platform get more posts since Instagram strives to provide more content. However, if you barely open the app, you will only find daily highlights from the Instagram algorithm.


The algorithm keeps tabs on the interaction on your posts attract. In addition, it is interested in how often you post content. Hence, the algorithm cares about when you posted last; not just your content and the interaction on your post.

This is because it wants to update your feed with the latest as well as the most engaging posts. Find your best time for posting your content. You will be able to beat the algorithm and boost your reach as well as your followers.

Also, find out when most of your followers are online and post then. You will get a lot more likes and more interaction.

Relationship with Your Followers

The algorithm also looks into the relationship you have with your followers. Consequently, you will see posts from your family and friends. Your feed will also feature posts from individual and business accounts that you interact with frequently.

What does the algorithm consider? It simply takes into consideration the accounts you engage with most. Thus, the algorithm will take the following into account:

  • People whose photos you comment on regularly
  • Accounts and people that tag you in their photos often
  • Accounts whose posts you like
  • Users you know off the platform
  • People and accounts your search for
  • Users your interact with via direct messaging

Instagram interprets these actions to mean that these accounts fall into the friends and family group. This is why you will see more posts from, say, a celebrity you searched for or an account you texted privately.

However, keep in mind that the algorithm is dynamic. You must, therefore, strive to stay on top of the changes.

How Does the Algorithm Work?

As mentioned earlier, the algorithm is constantly changing as a result of the constant flow of data every day. Machine learning powers the Instagram algorithm and automatically factors in any new trends on the platform.

Consequently, to be able to effectively leverage the platform, you must constantly post quality content. Interact with your followers frequently on your posts as well as theirs. Increased interaction on your content is evidence that your audience approves of it.

Create a posting schedule you can easily commit to. This schedule should fit into your work schedule so that you do not simply post on a whim. This is likely to compromise the quality of your content.

It may not be wise to compete with established brands such as KKW Beauty since they employ fulltime social media managers. Thus, they are able to post quality content multiple times every day.

Fortunately, there are free Instagram schedulers that you can use to plan your posts. These schedulers also allow you to plan the hashtags and captions you want to use.


More time on the platform translates to more content. Also, post more relevant and quality content and interact with your followers as often as you can. The Instagram algorithm will take note and allow more of your followers to see your content.

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