Instagram’s Algorithms in 2023: How do they work?

We, for one, welcome our new algorithm overlords.

Instagram’s algorithms used to be relatively simple; however, as the platform adds new features, its algorithms have become more complex.  

Social media giants are often tight-lipped when revealing their secrets, but Instagram has shed some light on how its algorithms work.  

Once you have a better understanding of how Instagram’s algorithms work, you’ll be able to tailor your content accordingly and give yourself a better chance of success. 

Let’s dive in and look at how Instagram is getting to know people. 

Chronological or not? 

When Instagram decided to scrap the chronological feed, many people wondered how this mysterious new algorithm worked. However, did you know that the social media giant recently backflipped on this decision? 

There isn’t just one algorithm 

You may have noticed that we’ve been talking about algorithms, not an algorithm. That’s because it’s a common misconception that Instagram employs just one algorithm. Instagram uses multiple algorithms. 

Don’t believe us? Well, don’t take our word for it. Check out what Instagram has to say on the matter

When thinking about how Instagram’s algorithms work, you need to consider how they work in relation to which feature of the platform you’re interacting with. How you use Instagram, what you post, and where you post it will impact how its algorithms interact with you.  

Let’s look at how Instagram’s algorithms work in relation to the feed, the Explore page, Instagram Stories, and Reels. 


When it comes to how Instagram’s algorithms interact with your feed, according to Instagram, there are four main factors:  

1. Information about the post 

These are signals both about how popular a post is – think how many people have liked it – and more mundane information about the content itself, like when it was posted, how long it is if it’s a video, and what location, if any, was attached to it.

2. Information about the person who posted

This helps us get a sense of how interesting the person might be to you and includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.

3. Your activity 

This helps us understand what you might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts you’ve liked.

4. Your history of interacting with someone. 

This gives us a sense of how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person. An example is whether or not you comment on each other’s posts.

With all this information, Instagram can calculate a “score of interest”, which calculates how likely a person interacts with posts. This score of interest then determines the order of posts displayed in their feed. 

However, Instagram’s algorithms want you to do more than just look at a post. The algorithms want to show posts you’re likely to interact with. That’s why Instagram’s algorithms also factor in time spent looking at posts, likes, comments, shares, and saves. 


The way Instagram’s algorithms work, in relation to Explore, is quite similar to the feed. However, the most important actions here are likes, saves, and shares. 

If you can create content that gets people liking, sharing, and saving, you’re setting yourself up to make your content appear in people’s Explore pages more often. 

Community engagement is a big player in getting your content onto the Explore page. The more people interact with you, the more likely your content will appear on their Explore page. 


Once again, the way Instagram’s algorithms work with Instagram Stories is quite similar to the feed. Interaction plays a key role here, too. In most cases, you’re likely to see Instagram Stories at the start of your feed from people that you interact with the most.

Similar to how people interact with Reels, Stories are often binged by Instagram users. If your Stories aren’t reaching as many people as you’d like, stick with it. The more regularly you post, the more chances you create for people to interact with you. However, ensure you’re not overwhelming people by constantly posting Stories all day. 

A successful Instagram Stories strategy is all about balance. 


Regarding Reels, getting Instagram’s algorithms to work in your favour is all about producing quality content that utilises the tools you find within Instagram. 

Reels are designed to be entertaining, and Instagram wants you to watch and keep watching for extended periods. 

You may think uploading Reels to Instagram is as simple as recycling what you’ve already posted in TikTok. They’re essentially the same thing, right? Sure, TikTok and Reels have the same feature; however, Instagram wants users to use its features. 

When creating content for Reels, you should prioritise using Instagram’s text, camera effects and filters, and make sure you avoid uploading low-resolution videos. 

Don’t forget to use relevant and trending hashtags to boost your reach, and don’t be afraid to survey your followers and use analytics to see what is (and isn’t) working for Reels. 

How to get the most out of Instagram’s algorithms

You’re searching for that magical way to conquer Instagram’s algorithm. There’s good news and bad news. There is no one way to beat Instagram’s algorithms. The bad news is that you can take steps to give your content the best chance of success. 

Embrace new features

When Instagram launches a new feature, they want people to use it. If you’re looking for a way to give your content a leg up, Instagram will always boost people who use the new features being rolled out.  

Ask your followers 

It may sound strange, but if you want to know what content your followers want to see from you, ask them! Your followers are an invaluable resource, so make sure you’re embracing your community and harnessing all of that brainpower. 

Use stickers to make Stories more engaging 

Whether it’s a poll, intriguing questions, or even an emoji slider, Instagram Stories are packed with interesting stickers, offering many different ways to interact with your followers. 

Need help lifting your social media game to the next level? Check out our online webinar on developing a social media strategy