Instagram rankings explained by Meta

Meta have noticed a lot of misconceptions with their Instagram ranking system. Therefore, they have broken down everything from ranking to shadowbanning.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram has recorded a reel which you can see above. Within this reel he outlines some misconceptions surrounding the social media platform. He mentions Instagram’s algorithm, a common thought is the platform has one that controls everything. However, according to Mosseri there are algorithms for each part of the app.

There are algorithms, classifiers and processes which all have different uses. Within the app, the newsfeed, stories, explore page, reels and search bar all have their own algorithm. To break this down, when looking at your stories, you’ll often see your close friends ones first. This is because typically we watch the stories of people we care for.

You might only watch friends stories, and ignore all others. Especially if you follow a lot of people. You’re unlikely to watch every story. Instagram picks up on this, along with your closer followers and then prioritises your close friends stories. These will be the first you see when on the app. However, if you look on your explore page, it likely won’t show those close to you.

This is because the explore page is for finding new people to follow and new interests. If you’ve searched for music artist, or perhaps nail art you will start to see more and more accounts on your explore page that share these topics. You’re supposed to be inspired and find new creators. That’s what the explore page is for, which is why it has a different algorithm.

Instagram’s newsfeed ranked

The home page is personalised to each individual user. Yours will look completely different from your friends, even if you were to follow all the same people. This is because the algorithm takes multiple things on board. It is aware of those you interact with most, and least, your likes and your interests.

You’ll see a mix of content from adverts, to photos and videos shared by your friends. There’s a variety of content shown within the home page. You don’t have to be following people for them to appear either. Instagram will suggest accounts and posts for you. However, Instagram’s feed algorithm does prioritise those you follow first.

If you have engaged with an account or followed them recently, they may appear near the top. Whereas, if you tend to scroll past people, they might stop appearing so often on your home page. Instagram have said they aim to find a balance between accounts they know you enjoy, and ones they think you might.

To rank Feed we use things like your activity and interactions with posts, information about the post location tag, and the person who posted.

The algorithm makes guesses based on how likely you are to interact with an account. These guesses are based on previous activity on your account. If you interact often, you’ll see that account appear. When the chances of you clicking like, share or commenting are high, Instagram will prioritise that account.

Essentially, all elements of Instagram are ranked differently, but they’re all tailored to each individual user rather than by region or account type. There are elements designed to help you connect with loved ones, and others which are there to help you find new creators and be entertained while on the app. To learn more read Adam Mosseri’s full report or watch his reel.

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