What’s Up with the Instagram Algorithm?

The Latest Instagram Algorithm Update

The Instagram algorithm has come a long way since the days of showing posts on your feed in chronological order. While the initial changes were not received with open arms, the first algorithm update was actually allowing for photos to have the opportunity to be seen more often, and thus give users the opportunity for more engagement. Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case any longer.

Recently Instagram released a new algorithm, and shortly after that, creatives, companies and brands across the web were thrown into a whirlwind of frenzy in response to this change. According to Instagram, the new algorithm prioritizes content to allow users to, “see the moments you care about first.” Essentially, the new Instagram algorithm is prioritizing content that it thinks you’ll be interested in based on your following and like habits, and then drives that content to the top of your feed.

Automated Scheduling

Shortly after this announcement, Hootsuite and similar scheduling platforms also announced that users can now schedule Instagram posts that automatically post to the platform. No more scheduling just to approve posts that will then get posted to your feed, simply schedule and the rest is taken care of.

While there are other platforms that have already incorporated this method, Hootsuite adopting this feature was a big deal, seeing as it is most popular among the social media management community as it allows for scheduling across every major social media platform.

Scheduling and The New Algorithm

After hearing the news, we wanted to try out the new scheduling capabilities via Hootsuite. Not thinking about this new Instagram algorithm release, we quickly set up auto-posting for two Instagram accounts and made a note to check in on them later in the week. The results, left us speechless.

The accounts with scheduled content posted, however, the new algorithm saw them as automated and thus did not prioritize them. How do we know this? We did an experiment to find out, and confided in the help of two other digital marketing professionals to weigh in on the topic.

Our experiment: we deleted and reposted the 2 photos on each account that we had scheduled a few days after the were originally posted, each one day apart. The first two posts performed horrendously – both were scheduled on days and times that the account’s insights indicate as “popular” and saw the following results:


These accounts average anywhere from 60+ likes per photo. After deleting, and reposting manually on days and times that aren’t even popular according to the account insights, here are the final results:

Engagement that aligns with the regular average of likes and reach.

Beating the Algorithm

It’s no coincidence that same time Instagram releases a new algorithm they also give the green light to auto-posting from platforms where it was previously disallowed. This all seems to be apart of Instagram’s plan to get businesses hooked on their platform. Instagram wants to make their platform seem extremely easy for business but soon, Instagram will be the same as Facebook, where you essentially have to pay to reach the people who have already “followed”, “opted in”, or “liked” your content.

After finding these interesting results, we spoke with a few fellow digital marketers, from Imperial Digital Marketing, and these are the tips we’ve come up with to TRY to combat the newest algorithm.

Tips for beating the Instagram algorithm:

  • Stay consistent on IG stories
  • Make your stories videos and always use a location tag! (Videos seem to appear more under locations and hashtags than photos do)
  • Minimize hashtag usage – find 10 quality, related tags per post
  • Make captions longer and more engaging
  • Respond to all comments as quickly as possible
  • Be more active with your following and accounts you want to be recognized by
  • Keep utilizing people tags – 20 max

An even better solution? Start using Vero, the new social platform that claims to have no algorithm and no ads. This platform is growing a user base quite rapidly and it’s projected to make a splash in the social media community as frustrated Instagram users look for the next best thing. All in all, the social media atmosphere is shifting and brands of all shapes and sizes are going to have to find a way to adapt. 

Best of luck out there, Instagrammers!