Instagram algorithm has been changing and modifying itself a lot in the past couple of years. It would be no wrong to say that understanding and figuring it out is one hell of a tricky task. Everyone has got his own theories about the working of the algorithm.
With so many theories and debates around the algorithm, there have been a lot rumors spreading around the platform about its engagement, functioning, etc. This has caused a hustle and misunderstanding within the users about the platform. So, it is pretty crucial to learn and understand what about the fuss is true.
If you have no clue about this, stick along with us as here, with solid evidences, we are breaking 5 of the popular Instagram myths and rumors.
#1: Is the Instagram Algorithm Hiding Your Posts?
So much content gets circulated through millions of users on Instagram daily. With these loads of content, so many rumors get spread as well.
If you have been an active user on the platform lately, you must have come across these posts from various brands, influencers or business pages that talk about how Instagram algorithm has limited your posts to only 7% of your followers. This post is usually presented as a text graphic in a single post or a carousel post. It claims that the Instagram algorithm has limited their user’s post to only 7% of their followers. Then it goes on to explain that if you want to continue seeing posts from the particular page in your feed, then you got to like the post and comment “yes” on it.
These posts were getting circulated around a lot in a while. Many users fell into this trap and got tricked into engaging with that particular brand’s post. The brands or influencers benefited from this rumor and soon every other popular page used this ‘hack’ to gain engagement from its audience without creating any content.
Without hovering over this news, let us just clear that this was a straight and clear rumor.
So, the question arises that if Instagram algorithm really limits your posts to only 7% of your audience?
This is surely not true and is a plain and big rumor. These posts have spread across the platform faster than a viral epidemic. In fact, this fake rumor made Instagram release their statement on this viral issue. Instagram made things clear and tweeted that “whatever shows up in your feed is the result of all the posts and engage with the most, or follow.”
Instagram cleared the tension in the air and made things clear for the users as they said, “We [Instagram] have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you’re following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram.”
The bottom line is that NO, Instagram is not limiting the reach your posts to only 7% of your audience. This rumor went viral because of the concern from various brands and influencers about the decline in their audience engagement. In past couple of years, organic reach and engagement of the creators, brands, and businesses on the platform is terribly decreasing.
But the main reason of the declining reach is associated with the growing competition on the platform and not any black magic from Instagram. It is simple math. In the early years of the platform, there were very few businesses and brands on the platform. Therefore, people preferred following those accounts.
Today, Instagram stands at the mark of 1 billion users. It is obvious that it has become harder for the content to get enough reach as before because of the competitive space. Today, brands tend to invest way lot of time and money in the marketing purposes on Instagram. This has tremendously increased the quality as well as quantity of the content getting poured on the platform regularly. This has made it difficult for the audience or the customers to decide and effectively engage with their audience.
If you have been an active user for a point of time, you must have come across this trouble. As you keep on following more and more accounts with time, you find it more and more difficult to engage with a particular brand or business page like before. This leads to declining organic reach and thus minimum engagement.
But this doesn’t mean that every new brand on Instagram will be a victim to this falling reach. There are many businesses breaking out on Instagram each day and gaining tremendous and loyal engagement.
If you focus on building decent content with good online presence, you too might be able to achieve good response on the platform. But posting thirsty posts and messages on and on about the algorithm will lead you nowhere.
#2: Do Instagram Comments Have to be More Than 3 Words?
Another viral and fast-spreading Instagram rumor is about the length of Instagram comments. The rumor claims that the algorithm only acknowledges the comments that exist in words and not emojis. It also says that the comment needs to be longer than 3 or 4 words. Only this will improve engagement towards the post and any comment not abiding these “guidelines” will not be recognized by the algorithm.
Well, obviously, this is NOT true and is just another fake rumor.
To prove it simply, there are just no evidences that claim that words are weighted heavier than emojis. Even Instagram never mentioned about this verdict. It never claimed about the words or even the length of the comment.
In the early days of Instagram, the comment pods were popular which eventually led to spam behavior. People commenting just a single emoji was being considered as spam behavior. Therefore, they started asking each other to write longer comments as it was considered more genuine and legitimate.
This rumor was very popular a couple of years back. But today, as many rumors tend to catch a huge attention and spread easily, this old rumor too resurfaced to the trend. But nothing makes it true.
There is no denying that genuine longer comments are super valuable as far as an Instagram page’s engagement is concerned. But there are some authentic ways to engage with the community and gain valuable feedback through comments rather than spreading a fake rumor.
Here are some effective tips to help you gain more number of comments on your posts.
Ask questions to your audience
This is one of the easy ‘tricks’ to earn some of the audience’s attention. All you have to ask a question to your followers so that they can engage with whatever it is that you have got to say. It can be as simple as “What are your thoughts on the viral web series?” or “What do you think of my latest published post?”
Add longer captions
This tip works just fine for your followers to engage more with your post. It is true that Instagram does keep a track of user’s activity on his feed. That is it knows how much time does one generally like to spend on a particular type of Instagram post. Thus, a post with longer captions garners more attentions and makes a user to stay for more time on a post.
Longer captions help you voice your thoughts more clearly on the platform. This can make them more invested in what you are trying to convey through your caption and also might provoke them to leave a heartfelt response back through comments.
#3: Will Liking and Commenting on Someone’s Posts Show Me More Content From Them?
If you do follow some influencing personalities or brands on Instagram, you must have come across influencers requesting their audience to turn on the post notifications. They asked this so that their posts climb up your feed and you don’t miss their post. When you engage more and more with the posts from a particular Instagram page, the algorithm pushes more of their posts up above your feed.
Well, this is actually true. This wasn’t a false rumor.
As far as your engagement with a particular page is concerned, your likes and comments play a considerably big role. Instagram takes a note of which type of content you are engaging with. The algorithm understands your relationships with your favorite Instagram pages or business pages. That means if you actively engage with a particular type of content, Instagram tries to show more of that content to you and also tries to prioritize that content specifically.
Long story short, Instagram recognizes your behavior with the content you like and places that content higher in your feed whenever that Instagram page posts something new.
Let’s dive into some facts and statements. Instagram once said that its algorithm relies on machine learning based on your behavior so as to create exquisite and engaging feed. In simple words, even if you follow the same number of accounts that your friend does, it is sure that you will have a different type of feed than his. Instagram will study your engagement behavior with the accounts and then will create a unique and personalized feed for you.
For example, I like the 9Gag’s @barked’s posts and heavily engage with their stories as well. Whenever I say the word engagement, it doesn’t mean that to go on a liking spree. It rather means to like, comment and response to the stories; and that too organically. This behavior signals Instagram that I really like @barked’s content and thus, they provoke me more with their content rising up above my feed. So as compared to the other account’s I follow, it is more likely that the dog pictures from @barked will be placed higher.
#4: Does Swiping Past Instagram Stories Negatively Impact Them in the Algorithm?
Another rumor that seems to have gone super viral in the recent is a post that warns you about watching Instagram Stories. That post particularly warns you and says: “Whenever you are watching someone’s Instagram story, you need to tap through all of the stories instead of swiping directly to the next, otherwise the stories get a push back on your feed in the future. When you tap through each post, you are telling the algorithm about your interest in that particular user’s content.”
Well, here’s the thing: no one actually knows how the algorithm works for Instagram stories. Also, Instagram has never publicly let out any comment about the stories algorithm. It did once shed a little light about the algorithm. Instead, it said that the stories feature has a different algorithm from your feed’s algorithm. It monitors your behavior while watching a story. For example, it takes into account the number segments of the story views and also looks if your show active interest in a particular person’s story.
This rumor can be true according the stories that pop up in our timelines. To be honest, we have never really found this ‘swiping next’ thing to be real. But one thing’s for sure. Like explained previously, Instagram does notice your engagement with content. For example, I really like whatever 9Gag puts on Instagram and I thoroughly engage with their posts and stories. Therefore, sometimes, I do see their stories up above my feed prioritizing to other stories.
Again, you never know!
Instagram Rumor #5: Does Switching to an Instagram Business Profile Negatively Affect Your Account in the Algorithm?
Without messing around, let us just come to the point. The answer is a big NO! Instagram did once say that it does not give any extra feed presence to the personal (private) accounts or business accounts. Therefore, switching won’t really help you with the reach.
With that being said, there is also no denying the fact that a business account offers more benefits on the plate for you. So that is something you will entertain you if you are switching to a business account.
Let us go through some of the prime benefits that Instagram offers you for switching to an business account. Then you decide what works for you.
Access to Instagram Insights
Instagram Insights is a pure turn on for those who love dealing with the numbers and the analytics. And ‘that’ is only available for the ones with business accounts.
If you have a brand on Instagram and you think you don’t really get to know your audience well, then Instagram insights is everything that you need. With these insights, you can understand their response to your content. The analytics help you know how your content is working out for your audience.
Details about reach
You can keep a record of the posts and their reach. The insights let you know exactly how much of the audience has seen the post in their feed, and how much of it has come across the post through hashtags. It also tells you more about your audience. For example, their age groups, their location, etc.
How to optimize the use of the Instagram Algorithm
There is a reason why everyone gets so crazy about the Instagram algorithm and tries to know more about it. Here’s the thing; it is a computer algorithm. It is same for everyone but doesn’t work similarly with everyone. All you have to do is to try to figure out your way of working and improve with your own efforts. Instead stressing about what hacks will fetch you results, you need to focus more on your content game. But in a genuine manner. When the algorithm understands your behavior, it starts to give out results organically.
Once you master your formula with content creation and stick to it, it gets easy for you to build your community on the platform. All you need is to create quality content, to have good enough online activity, and to engage with the masses genuinely.
If there’s any formula to build on Instagram, it is this and nothing else.