Instagram Algorithm Updates For 2018 & How To Game It

Last updated March 13, 2018

Several changes in the Instagram algorithm have been rolled out already in 2018. Compared to the yesteryear, there are all sorts of new rules to take care of in 2018 and make the most out of Instagram from a business POV. It’s been estimated that with all the new changes in the way Instagram works, only 10% of your audience is able to see your posts if you merely push it live on the social media channel. You need to consider several things to cope with the recent changes in Instagram’s algorithm.

The first section of the article will detail out all the important features of the new Instagram algorithm while the second section will cover important tips based on the new algorithm changes. So, let’s begin with all the important aspects of Instagram’s algorithm up till now in 2018.

Instagram Algorithm Updates in 2018

Here is the list of all changes made in Instagram algorithms in 2018:

  • Instagram Algorithm Rewards Posts with Higher Engagements – The change of Instagram feed from following a chronological order to engagement-based was advocated by the Instagram team by responding that it was meant for improving user experience and prioritizing moments that any Instagram user cares about. Posts that receive a lot of likes, comments, shares, DMs, and other types of responses signal Instagram that they are engaging enough to be liked by several other Instagram users. Hence, it results in increased visibility of the post on Instagram.
  • Instagram Algorithm Rewards for Interacting with your Followers Too – Several Instagram experts believe that the social media platform not only prioritizes posts with high engagement rates but also restrict exposure depending on your engagement with your followers. In 2018, it will be important than ever to reply quickly to comments posted on your posts. This should be done well within the first hour of posting; otherwise, the post’s visibility will suffer.
    You need to reply to comments that are asking about something while for comments that are simply comments; well, you can reply them with a heart to display courtesy. Tracking comments on all your Instagram posts might be difficult but a task worth to invest efforts in. You need to ensure that you don’t miss out on any comment, even if it’s made on some older post.
  • Instagram Algorithm Notes how quickly Audiences Engage with Content – In addition to the Instagram algorithm depending on how much engagement an Instagram post gets, it also takes into account how quickly and frequently the engagement is made. Therefore, if an Instagram post gets several likes and comments right after it is posted, it signals to the Instagram algorithm that the post is quality content and hence, will be shown to a large number of followers.
    By knowing the personalized best time of your Instagram posts, you can increase your reach and get more likes and followers. Obviously, if most of your followers are online when you post an Instagram post then the chances of getting more likes, shares, comments, and other forms of engagement increases.
  • Instagram Algorithm Considers How Much Time People Spend Viewing a Post – The Instagram algorithm tracks the time spent in interacting with posts. Instagram analyze the duration of time spent in viewing a post as a factor to determine the level of its popularity. Therefore, posts that are lengthier and contain pictures and videos are likely to be termed popular than others by the algorithm.
  • Instagram Algorithm Favors Posts with Specific, Relevant Hashtags – Using Instagram hashtags is still an effective way of gaining more followers and increasing engagement at the same time. For a long time, the Instagram algorithm has favored using specific and relevant hashtags. Recently, Instagram launched a feature to let users follow Instagram hashtags. Therefore, it’s important to switch up hashtag blocks and ensure that each one of them is a good fit for your post.
  • Instagram Algorithm Works toward Authenticity – In order to put an end to bot-like responses, such as “Nice Pic!” and “Great feed!” on the posts, Instagram algorithm has amended to filter out posts containing such responses. It is now caring more about the authenticity of the responses rather than just repetitive engagement.

Tips to make the most out of your Instagram Posts

Based on all new changes made to Instagram algorithm in 2018, here are some tips to help you make the most out of your Instagram posts:

Tip 1 – Spend More Time on Posting Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is apposite for connecting with your followers. The feature is all set to continue advancing in 2018. Therefore, it’s important to make it an essential part of any Instagram marketing strategy. To give you an idea, Instagram Stories attracted over 300 million active users in a single day.

More and more users are spending time on Instagram Stories rather than the feed because of the continual adjustments in Instagram algorithm. The algorithm, as of now, takes account of all interactions you receive on your Instagram Stories, including replies and the time your stories catered to others. The more a user interacts, likes, shares, comments, etc with your Instagram Stories, the more your posts appear in their feed.

A great way to benefit from Instagram algorithm is via the engagement opportunities offered by Instagram Stories, such as the polling feature and the Swipe Up option. It’s also a good practice to tell Instagram followers to DM us for receiving a direct link to this product or service! In addition to driving people towards your inbox and building a steady relationship with them, doing so increases the chances of your posts showing up on their feed.

Tip 2 – Keep Tabs on your Instagram Comments

User response plays an important role in Instagram algorithm. Therefore, you need to keep track of all the comments on your posts and reply to them at the earliest possible. This helps in building trust with those engaging with your Instagram posts. By replying to comments on posts, you are not only displaying generosity towards readers but also increase chances of the visibility of posts.

Tip 3 – Find out When your Audience is Most Active

Another important way to enhance the visibility of your Instagram posts is to post them during the peak times, i.e. when most of your followers are active. For knowing about the best time, you might like to use some Instagram marketing platform. There might be more than one high-time of your audience. So, ensure that you upload an Instagram post just at the right time.

Tip 4 – Use an Appropriate Instagram Caption

Coming up with attractive and engaging Instagram captions is yet another way to enhance the visibility of your Instagram posts. Posts with an engaging caption are more likely to be read completely and get clicks on the “more” button. This increases the total time spent by users on your Instagram post and hence, guides Instagram algorithm to increase the reach of the same.

Moreover, videos are more effective than images. Instagram carousel posts with a call-to-action to swipe are another great option to increase user engagement. The feature lets Instagram users share as many as 10 photos and videos via a single Instagram post.

Tip 5 – Optimize your Instagram Hashtag Strategy

Hashtags are very powerful in making any Instagram post effective and engaging. Therefore, you need to work on a practical and effective hashtag strategy. To come up with an effectual Instagram hashtag strategy, you need to analyze all your recent hashtags and prepare a list of those that work the best for you. Thereafter, you can tweak or use the hashtags as they are to enhance the reach and engagement of your post.

Tip 6 – Start a Conversation with your Instagram Followers

Creating captions that ask a question or request some kind of response from readers is a good practice to win some love from Instagram algorithm. As changes made to the algorithm are meant to highlight authenticity and deeper connections with followers, you need to treat comments like a conversation.

Tip 7 – Build a Consistent Instagram Brand and Aesthetic

To convert casual readers into engaged followers, creating a consistent brand story through Instagram aesthetic and account is effective. You might like to drag and drop images until you find a look that matches your business vision. Potential Instagram followers will like to know what kind of updates to expect from you in the future. Therefore, investing effort and time to give an opposite look to your Instagram feed is important.

Tip 8 – Always Experiment with New Features

Keep an eye on new features rolled by Instagram. As Instagram algorithm rewards users for using various features on offer, experimenting with different Instagram features is a great idea to take advantage of the Instagram algorithm. In addition to growing your reach, doing so also helps you to stay in line with the ongoing trends.

About the Author:

Vishal Vivek is a tech-savvy and social media enthusiast spending hours on researching recent advancement in connectivity technology. He likes to research newer and effective methods to make life easier for his readers. As a COO of SEO Corporation he writes on various topics related to digital marketing.


giles thomas


Giles Thomas is the founder of AcquireConvert, the conversion rate optimization blog that teaches ecommerce stores how to increase conversion rates and profits. He is the Founder of Berlin based ecommerce growth agency Whole Design Studios, a head mentor at the Google Launchpad Accelerator and a member of the Google Experts program.


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