Outsmarting The 2020 Instagram Algorithm

Photo from Unsplash

The way Instagram ranks posts is ever-changing. The changes Instagram made in 2020 affect every user on the platform and for many of us, not for the better. Luckily, there are ways to outsmart the latest stop in the forever changing Instagram algorithm. 

The new algorithm is curated to somewhat reward the users who are the most active on the app. It decides what post people see every time that they open the app. In 2016, Instagram parted ways with their old chronological feed for a more personal feed. Instagram announced that users’ feeds would prioritize “the moments you care about.” Instagram insists that the reason they won’t go back to chronological is because the average post is now seen by 50% more people. 

Many users found this hard to believe. In 2019, Instagram responded to concerns from unhappy users that Instagram is limiting the reach of photos to only 7% of followers. Instagram took to Twitter to dispute this

Photo from Twitter

Despite this response, many users are noticing less interaction on their posts. The app garnered backlash from users who insist their reach is lower than ever. If you notice that you are receiving significantly fewer likes than before, you very well could be a victim to the algorithm. The good news is there are ways to outsmart this and get your photos the reach they deserve.

Instagram shared that the factors used to determine feed ranking —interest, recency, relationship. 

Interest refers to how much Instagram predicts you will care about a post. The app studies and analyzes users’ past behavior and engagement to determine this factor. Recency refers to how recently the post was shared, timely posts will be prioritized over week old ones. Relationship refers to how close you are to the person who posted it. 

In simpler terms, to get your photos on the top of your followers’ feed you have to unleash your inner influencer. We have all the tips Instagram is not going to tell you:

Utilize Instagram Stories

Posting Instagram stories is a quick and easy way to increase engagement. In addition, followers are subtly encouraged to check out your content. 

Support your followers content

By liking and commenting on the posts of users you follow, Instagram is noting their relevance to you. This means that your posts will become priorities on their feed as well. The less interaction among your followers, the deeper you fall into the dark and lonely loopholes of the algorithm.


It may sound very 2015, but Instagram loves to see this. Hashtags encourage engagement like no other. Just a tip, in a breakdown by sproutsocial, it was determined that 9 is the “magic number,” the ideal number of hashtags. 

Be authentic

Instagram operates by the rules of likability and genuine engagement. Try to make content that appeals to your followers. Appearing genuine is a game-changer because it means interaction. You need to create content unique to YOUR personal brand. This is not just done through posts, spice up your captions as well. 

Utilize IGTV

Video content gets a longer viewing period. IGTV is a great way to prolong your interaction with your followers. IGTV video content can take up four times as much screen space as photos in Instagram’s Explore section, i.e. putting IGTV videos out there increases your chances to be discovered and interacted with.

Post More

By posting more you become hyper susceptible to engagement. You become inevitably relevant to your followers, even the ones you don’t interact with as much.

Overall, the key is becoming more active and getting in deeper touch with your followers and your brand identity. The silver lining of all of this is that users that care enough are being prompted to get in touch with their individuality and expression.


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