Instagram Finally Reveals How Their Infamous Algorithms Work

Photographers have been frustrated by Instagram's mysterious algorithms and how their work isn't seen by as many people anymore. Now, for the first time ever, Instagram has revealed how these algorithms work and how best to take advantage of them.

The infamous algorithm on Instagram has been blamed for the decline in engagement among photographers who love to share their work on the social network. The major issue with these digital processes is that no one really knew how they functioned. The good news for us is that Instagram has finally pulled back the curtain to let us all in on how content is ranked and sorted. To make sense of all this, photographer and educator Kevin Patrick Robbins has compiled all the "declassified" information and created a helpful video explaining how these various algorithms power the platform.

The video begins with Robbins explaining how Instagram ranks content and how different algorithms are used for the various types of content on the site. One factor I wasn't aware of was the importance of interactions in content ranking. This means that, as photographers, we need to engage more by liking, commenting, and replying to help our work be seen by art directors, customers, galleries, and magazine editors. It's also advisable to encourage your existing audience to leave comments and likes on your work, as it significantly increases the chances of Instagram showing more of your content to them in the future.

Another crucial revelation from the video was the varying weights given to the calculations and predictions made by Instagram across your feed, reels, the explore page, and your stories. Consequently, you will need to approach these avenues differently, as what works for your feed may not yield the same results for your stories or reels. Robbins also discusses how Instagram reduces the visibility of certain content if it's low resolution, text-heavy, or appears to originate from other social media such as TikTok. Therefore, it's important to ensure that the content you post on your page is original, even if it may be tempting to save videos from TikTok and upload them to Instagram.

Overall, Instagram remains an immensely valuable tool for photographers in 2023, but we must understand how the platform makes its decisions and determines relevant content. Robbins' video provides extensive insights into how we can decipher the algorithms and maximize our chances of getting our work in front of as many viewers as possible. Failing to take advantage of these findings may result in a continued decline in engagement on the platform, which is not good for you and not good for Instagram either.

Are you still an Instagram user? Do you believe the platform is still valuable for photographers in 2023? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Paul Parker's picture

Paul Parker is a commercial and fine art photographer. On the rare occasion he's not doing photography he loves being outdoors, people watching, and writing awkward "About Me" statements on websites...

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Dumped IG long ago, in favor of Vero. Less reach, but it's much more photo focused.

I have a video about that, too, and why professional photographers should not be wasting their time there and should stick with Instagram. It's also on my channel. Feel free to check it out.

The crux of your comment seems to be "professional photographers", who should be continually "marketing". There are many types of "professional" photography. I'm first and foremost a landscape photographer, and have been for 50 years now and am no longer interested in "marketing";

IG excels in marketing simply due to it's reach. Vero doesn't have that reach, but it it beats IG in in its simple presentation of photography; no reels, no videos, no "obvious" ads, no algorithm skewing what I see. I see what I love, photographs.

Instagram - the single most pointless time-sucking black hole of misery on the planet. An endless faecal plume of over-saturated landscapes, worthless 'motivational' reels, CGI-pretending to be photography and adverts for teeth whitening paste. The place where photography went to die.