The Instagram Algorithm 2019: Why It Doesn’t Matter
If you know me, the title of this article may shock you. I shocked myself. I spent the last year researching and testing the Instagram algorithm to benefit my digital marketing firm. As a social media and algorithm expert, my clients value my extensive knowledge of Instagram’s algorithm, including fine details of what may delight or displease our dear algorithm.
Al·go·rithm (noun): a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
This past year, Instagram’s algorithm has been the hottest topic of conversation amongst digital marketing masters, industry professionals, and even entrepreneurs embarking on online branding. It has also been an extreme pain-point for most of my clients, shouting, “The Instagram algorithm is destroying my business! The Instagram algorithm is why I don’t have followers!”
It became my mission to explore Instagram’s world of machine-learning technology and discover ways to work with the algorithm, rather than against it. I performed tests that positively concluded that 4+ more words would constitute as stronger engagement on a comment, versus an emoji or bot-like response such as, “Cool pic.” Frequency, following, and usage were all contributing factors towards ranking positively or negatively with Instagram’s algorithm. I even concluded that not all likes were created equal, and some held more weight than others depending on the user. Did you know that you risk your visibility percentage when adding the words “link in bio” to your caption? With three simple words, Instagram is less likely to promote your post. Instagram’s algorithm doesn’t seem to approve of users leaving their platform (surprise, surprise).
I will admit that my methods worked; my clients were happy. We were continuously navigating the adventures of the algorithm as the Instagram algorithm continued to change, until 2019.
The algorithm continues to evolve as Instagram finds new ways to verify the actions of their users and determine who deserves the prime real estate of the explore page. There will always be “tips and tricks” to satisfy the algorithm. But I have news for you — the 2019 Instagram algorithm is no longer your secret sauce to success.
Genuine human connection and defined purpose matter more.
With 1 billion active users scrolling and posting on Instagram, the platform is over-saturated, and most users are frantic for the vanity metrics of followers, likes, and comments. Users are so focused on the algorithm that they have forgotten the essence of the platform: authentic connection and meaningful engagement.
As we reach a new age of social media and digital marketing, starving for authentic and unique content, I urge you to release your obsession with Instagram’s algorithm and replace this with a passion for building long-term relationships and positively influencing our world.
If you genuinely want to build a business or personal brand on Instagram, the best advice I can give you is to be authentically and unapologetically you. Create an impact by being yourself. Release the need for instant gratification of likes, follows, and comments. Focus on consistent content and listening to what your audience wants, not what you think they want.
Instagram’s algorithm is not responsible for making or breaking your connections, especially if your vanity numbers don’t equate to supportive fans or loyal consumers. The algorithm is not responsible for your return on investment, and the algorithm will not guarantee success while you neglect your true purpose. The more you focus on Instagram’s algorithm, the less you focus on defining your voice, your brand, and your contribution to our world. If you truly want to influence Instagram with your online presence, the Instagram algorithm does not matter. You do.
“Algorithm.” Def.1. Dictionary.com. Unabridged Dictionary, 2019.