Instagram Growth in 2019 — The Ultimate Guide to Understanding the Algorithm
In November 2018 Instagram changed their algorithm once again. This brought a huge amount of confusion to the users, and many experienced a decrease in engagement and new followers.
This guide will help you understand Instagram in 2019 and how it works so that you can keep getting recognized for sharing awesome content and grow your following.
First I will give you a short description of what the algorithm is and what it does, and then give you 6 factors that are important to know if you want to beat the algorithm in 2019.
1. What is the algorithm, and why is it important to know how it works?
The algorithm (programming code) decides who sees what on Social Media. Whenever you post something on Instagram, the algorithm determines how many people will see the post in their feed based on the engagement it is getting, how relevant the post is, and many other factors.
To completely understand the algorithm you probably need to work in the technical team of Instagram, but there is a lot to learn about it that can help you reach out to a bigger audience.
For example; let’s say you post a picture on Instagram. The algorithm shows it to about 7% of your followers (used to be 10%). If you get engagement within a certain timeframe the algorithm decides to show your post to more and more people.
Even how long people look at your post will have an effect on how many other users will be able to see it.
Knowing about the factors below that are contributing to how many will actually see your posts can help you reach out to your audience with important messages or great value. Understanding how Instagram works can also help you attract new followers to your page and grow your account in an organic and safe way.
2. Contributing factors that determine if the Algorithm will show your content to more than 7% of your followers.
- Get Engagement Fast (likes, comments, video views, saves).
This point is key if you want to beat the algorithm in 2019. If you don’t get engagement within the first couple of minutes after posting it will not be shown to all of your followers. It’s also important that you answer all of your comments with more than just a smiley. The algorithm can tell whether your comment is authentic or not. The comment section is also a golden opportunity to start a conversation with your followers to get to know who they are and what they are interested in.
Make sure you specify your content category and stick to it. For example quotes, memes, beauty, fashion etc. The content category that a user has been interacting with earlier will be shown higher in their feed. That’s why it’s so important to gain followers that are interested in the category of content that you share!
It’s also important to get a lot of engagement on more than 1 of your posts since that will tell the algorithm that your content will be worth showing in the future as well.
- Use All Of Instagrams Inbuilt Features.
Instagram has one major goal. To make you use the app as much and as often as possible. The algorithm will favor your account if you use all of the features such as comments, DMs, stories, IGTV, filters, story tags, location tags, and relevant hashtags. If your post is shared via peoples direct messages the algorithm will rank that post higher.
Another thing that is important to know is that if someone watches your story your other posts will show up in their feed.
The amount of time you spend on the app has been shown to help your account being seen as important by the algorithm, but simply opening the app and scrolling without interacting with your followers or potential clients seems like a waste of time. Rather spend time engaging with your audience and researching your competitors. Not only for inspiration but to research what they are doing that works.
- How Long People Look At Your Post
The algorithm knows how long someone is watching your post (incredible, I know) so therefore, aim to post something that is eye-popping and make it stand out from the other posts in your followers feed. Also, make sure to post in portrait format instead of landscape as this will look bigger in the feed and also it takes more time to scroll past.
- Use Relevant Hashtags
Instagram knows if you are using hashtags that are not related to your post and can mark them as “spammy”. Therefore, you need to be careful when choosing your hashtags to make sure they are relevant to your content and does not have too many posts under it. A typical spam tag is #moodoftheday and #followforfollow. The consequence, if you use these, can be that your account is being temporarily blocked.
Make some research on which hashtags your competitors are using and which other posts are featured under that hashtag. Make sure to choose the ones that do not have too much of a competition as you want to be shown on the explore page for your chosen hashtags. To get found on the explore page your post needs to get higher engagement than the competitors or that there are not too many posts under the same hashtag.
The number of hashtags you should use in each post is a well-discussed theme, and there is no right answer. I suggest that you focus more on the quality of your hashtags rather than the amount. According to jumpermedia using the 10/10/10 method (described below) for hashtags can increase your chance of showing up on the explore page.
The method involves using all of the allowed 30 hashtags in this way:
- 10 Smaller Hashtags (10,000 to 50,000 total posts)
- 10 Mid-size Hashtags (50,000 to 200,000 total posts)•10 Large Hashtags (200,000–2,000,000 total posts).
- Consistency And Regularity
Like I mentioned earlier, Instagrams loves when you use the app as often and as much as possible. Posting regularly and with consistency will tell the algorithm that you are putting time into sharing value and it will, therefore, favor your account and posts.
If you have a business account, you can see stats on when your audience is the most active. Check your business insights (can be found on the settings tab on the top right corner on your profile under “Insights”) from time to time and post when your followers are using the app to make sure you get some engagement right away. If you don’t have a business account, you can find out what is the best time for you to post here.
- Post High-Quality Original Content.
This final factor might be the most important one if you want to beat the algorithm in 2019 and have a growing Instagram Account. High-quality content is always a winner when it comes to hacking Instagram growth. Basically, the algorithm knows how good your content is, so if there is one thing you should focus on it’s producing content that people want to engage with.
Make your followers feel something, tell your story and use your creative ability to visibly show the world from your perspective.
Write captions that encourages your followers to answer or tag their friends. This could be something like giving away something for free in exchange for your followers to comment on your last 3 posts, or simply asking a question.
Make sure to communicate with your audience through the different type of content and with DMs.
The algorithm is designed to maximise the time and actions performed by its users, so whenever you are looking to gain new followers or boost your engagement, you need to be active and do a lot of actions every day, without being spammy.
Does it sound like a lot to handle? Let me take care of it.
Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your IG handle and I will help you!