Instagram Algorithm Explained: Your 2024 Guide

2. How Does the Story Instagram Algorithm Work?

When you launch the Instagram app, prominently displayed at the top is a line-up of the most recent Stories from the profiles you follow. The Instagram Stories algorithm analyzes meticulously behind the scenes to curate this lineup.

Its purpose? To ensure you see Stories you’re most likely to engage with, based on a range of predictive measures or proxies.

Instagram assesses all the Stories from your followers over the last day to understand which ones capture your attention first. Instagram’s objective is not just to showcase any story, but to predict the ones you’ll potentially open, respond to, show emotions for, or even like.

The Instagram algorithm ranking factors are driven by various signals derived from your past interactions with Stories. These signals are pivotal in deciding the order in which Stories are presented to you or other Instagram users. 

Instagram Story

These are some of the factors that influence the way Story Instagram algorithm works:

  • Frequency of viewing: How often you watch Stories from a particular creator or account in the past few weeks.
  • Interaction level: The regularity with which you engage or interact with an author’s Stories.
  • Connection depth: Determined by how often you’ve messaged or communicated with the creator.

By aligning Stories based on these personalized proxies, signals, and predictions, Instagram aspires to prioritize Stories from those you have the deepest connections with or care about the most.

Here is how you can ensure that your Stories gain the view count and engagement you want:

Tip #1: Host AMAs

Hosting AMAs, or “Ask me Anything”, on Instagram Stories can work wonders for boosting your visibility within the Stories algorithm. When you engage your audience through AMAs, you’re not only driving high levels of interaction but also encouraging longer view durations—both of which are key metrics the algorithm loves. 

Regular updates through multiple Stories keep your profile active, increasing the chances of your content appearing at the top of your followers’ feeds. The use of interactive features like question stickers and polls fosters direct engagement, which the algorithm rewards. 

Plus, when your followers share your engaging AMAs, it signals to the algorithm that your content is valuable and worth promoting. 

Tip #2: Share Polls

Polls, like AMAs, drive high engagement by encouraging your audience to interact directly with your content. This increased interaction signals to Instagram that other users deem your stories interesting.

regular poll box

Polls also promote longer view durations as followers take the time to read the question and consider their response. The longer they spend on your polls, the more Instagram will favor your Stories. 

Instagram is constantly including new stickers and interactive options to their stories, and making use of them is an easy way to engage your audience while keeping them entertained. 

And, as a bonus, polls can help you collect valuable information about your followers’ preferences, which will prove useful for your brand in the future. 

Tip #3: Give Exclusive Offers

Offering exclusive deals through Instagram Stories is an excellent strategy to leverage the Stories algorithm for several reasons. Firstly, exclusive offers create a sense of urgency and excitement, prompting immediate engagement from your followers. This spike in interactions signals to the algorithm that your content is relevant. 

Instagram Story templates collage (cropped)

Secondly, exclusive offers encourage followers to check your Stories regularly, boosting your view counts and overall engagement metrics. 

The anticipation of special deals can lead to more shared and reposted content, extending your reach further. Finally, the limited-time nature of Stories aligns perfectly with the time-sensitive appeal of exclusive offers, driving higher participation rates and enhancing your visibility on the platform. 

Offering an exclusive discount code for your clothing line, for example, will encourage people to check your Stories more often so they don’t miss any future promotions you might share. The anticipation is increased by the chance that because Stories expire, users could easily miss other better promotions you might share in the future.

3. How Does the Explore Page Instagram Algorithm Work?

Instagram’s Explore page operates on an algorithm that seeks to usher users into a world of fresh and relevant content. 

explore page

This algorithm is informed by the same cues used for the feed and Stories, but its specialty lies in personalizing and ranking content that resonates most with individual users. Among the many interactions, the algorithm holds likes, saves, and shares in the highest regard.

Let’s consider a user who has a passion for gourmet coffee. Instagram’s algorithm might highlight posts about specialty coffee brewing techniques, reviews of local coffee shops, or even broader themes like tea or pastry pairings. This is all in an effort to cater to their taste preferences.

For content creators, to boost the chances of your posts landing on someone’s Explore page, it’s essential to integrate relevant hashtags and be in sync with current trends. For instance, if a particular coffee bean or brewing method is gaining traction, incorporating that into your content can elevate its chances of being showcased. 

Being in tune with what’s trending in the coffee world or even in the broader realm of gourmet foods can help your content resonate more with users and the Instagram Explore page algorithm.

Here are three tips for raising the possibility of your posts being featured on the “Explore” page:

Tip #1: Use Relevant Hashtags and Keywords

Using relevant hashtags and keywords is more than just a way to categorize your content; it’s about providing essential information about the post and ensuring it reaches the right audience. 

By incorporating pertinent hashtags, your photos and videos become discoverable to a broader target audience thanks to hashtag pages. This means visibility to those who might not be your followers but share similar interests.

Instagram’s algorithm ranks content based on its relevance, and one way it gauges this is by evaluating the hashtags used in relation to users’ interests and behavior. 

Adam Mosseri also mentioned in an Instagram Story that using hashtags doesn’t necessarily boost a post’s reach compared to posts with few or no hashtags. However, he did commend the proper use of hashtags. Therefore, strategically selecting hashtags that align with your content increases its chances of appearing in user feeds.

Tools like SocialBee allow you to easily generate hashtags tailored to your posts without hassle. All you need to do is:

  • Add your post in SocialBee using the Post Editor. 
  • Have at least a caption or a visual for the post. 
  • Click on the Hashtag Wand to generate hashtags.
  • The hashtags will be generated based on your caption or image.

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