Things That Do NOT Factor Into the Instagram Algorithm

Things That Do NOT Factor Into the Instagram Algorithm

Businesses and influencers alike are always concerned with the Instagram algorithm.  It can be helpful to craft your content in a way that works to “beat” the algorithm.  However, there are many misconceptions about what actually factors heavily into the algorithm and what does not.  Here are a few components that are commonly mistaken as being important factors in the algorithm that in reality, don’t matter much at all. 

1. Posting Frequency 

Ok, so your posting frequency does matter, but not nearly as much as people think.  The much bigger factor is the consistency of your posting.  Sticking to a relatively consistent posting schedule will help the algorithm work in your favor.  Choose a frequency with which to post, and just stick to it.  If you will not be able to sustain posting every day, then commit to posting 3-4 times per week.  Decreasing your frequency over time will hurt you more than just posting slightly less often in the first place.

2. Stories 

There has been confusion expressed as to whether stories factor into Instagram’s algorithm concerning posts.  Instagram has stated that stories in fact do NOT play any role.  That being said, you shouldn’t abandon posting stories.  There are many other benefits your stories can have beyond just the algorithm.  They can help you engage more with your audience, lend a more authentic look into who you are, and provide a place for you to share quick updates.  Don’t underestimate their importance.

3. Instagram Live 

Just like stories, anything you post to Instagram Live does not directly play a part in the algorithm for posts.  Even though you can post these videos to your grid, Instagram keeps them out of the algorithm, at least for now.  That being said, posting Instagram Live videos can still indirectly benefit you.  Followers and engagement are an important part of the algorithm, and these are both things that can be boosted by posting Instagram Live videos.  If you use your Live videos to garner attention, it can benefit your posts down the road. 

4. Exact Posting Time 

This may be the biggest misconception of all.  Many companies and influencers are under the impression that they need to track the “optimal” posting times down to the minute.  This used to be important on Instagram, but it no longer is.  Posts are no longer given extra attention in the first 30-60 minutes after being shared like they used to.  It is still in your best interest to post at generally popular times of day: your posts will still likely end up with lower engagement if you post while the bulk of your audience is asleep.  However, no need to waste time charting the precise times at which your posts have performed best. 

5. Followers and only followers 

There are still some people and brands who see their Followers number as the end all be all.  Of course, everyone wants more followers, and more followers is definitely not a bad thing. However, the sheer number of followers on an account matters much less than other factors, such as the likes, comments, and overall engagement the account is getting.  While buying followers may have been a relatively successful tactic when it first become, Instagram is smarter now and has found ways to filter out posts from those accounts.  You always want to be working to grow your following, but you want to do it organically.  And you need those followers to actually be engaging with your posts if you want the algorithm to work in your favor. 

If you have been focusing on the 5 aspects above to try to beat the algorithm, it’s time to change your strategy.  While posting to stories and Instagram Live are still beneficial, stressing about posting at the precise right moment and focusing only on your follower count are not.  Who knows, Instagram may change their algorithm again at any time, and these components could become important.  For the time being though, focus on posting engaging content and growing your following organically to help your posts perform as best they can. 

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