Breaking Down Instagram’s Ranking System: Insights for Small Businesses

In a move towards greater transparency, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, recently provided detailed insights into the platform’s algorithm and how it ranks content across various sections of the app. This article explains how these updates are relevant to small business owners who are leveraging Instagram for their operations.

Mosseri elaborated on the app’s ranking system and announced new features. According to him, Instagram’s goal is to make the most out of users’ time by using technology to personalize each individual’s experience.

He clarified that there isn’t a single algorithm that governs what users see or don’t see on the platform. Instead, Instagram utilizes a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its specific purpose. Each part of the app – Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels, Search, and more – uses a unique algorithm tailored to how people use it. This approach aims to allow users to discover new content, creators, and entertain themselves more effectively.

For small businesses, understanding how these algorithms work is key to effectively reaching their target audience and optimizing their Instagram presence.

Understanding Instagram’s Feed

Feed, the home base within Instagram, is personalized to help users stay connected with friends, family, and interests. The ranking of posts on Feed depends on a range of factors such as user’s activities, information about the post, the person who posted it, and your history of interaction with that person.

These factors, termed “signals”, include when a post was shared, whether the user is accessing Instagram via phone or web, the user’s preference for photos or videos, and many more. Understanding these ranking principles can help businesses plan their content and timing to reach a larger audience.

Decoding Instagram’s Stories

Stories are aimed at sharing daily moments and helping users grow closer to their loved ones and interests. The ranking of stories is influenced by viewing history, engagement history, and the overall relationship with the author. Knowing how these elements factor into visibility can help businesses engage more effectively with their audience, thereby boosting their brand visibility and engagement.

Unraveling Instagram’s Explore

Explore, another crucial Instagram feature, is designed to aid users in discovering new content. It ranks content based on several key factors, including the popularity of a post, the user’s past activity in Explore, their history of interacting with the person who posted, and information about that person.

For small businesses seeking to reach beyond their established following, these insights can be instrumental in strategizing content that is likely to land on potential customers’ Explore pages.

Instagram’s enhanced transparency about its ranking algorithms and guidelines provides a crucial toolkit for small businesses. Understanding the underpinnings of these algorithms is invaluable in devising strategies to enhance visibility, boost engagement, and ultimately drive growth on one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.

Remember, the core of Instagram’s guidelines is user safety and community standards. Strive to create content that resonates with your audience while aligning with Instagram’s Community Guidelines and Recommendations Guidelines.

By doing so, small businesses not only have the opportunity to expand their reach and engagement but also contribute to making Instagram a safer and more enjoyable space for all its users.

Image: Depositphotos

Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 16 years. A professional journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional media and online media, he attended Waynesburg University and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has held roles of reporter, editor and publisher, having founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press.