Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 Instagram Algorithm Update – Social Static

Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 Instagram Algorithm Update

Does anyone remember when the Instagram feed was chronological? 

Nope, neither do we.

The way people interact with each other and with social media is constantly evolving, and therefore the algorithm must evolve with it. New features are continually rolling out, which may affect the way people interact with an Instagram post. Therefore the algorithm has to be updated to reflect that technological change in the product. A good example of this is the ‘save’ button on Instagram that likely just popped up one day without anyone realizing it, but it is now an integral part of the 2021 Instagram algorithm change.

The new Instagram algorithm affects a user's experience in a few different ways. First, the algorithm dictates the order in which people see posts on their feed. Based on signals that the algorithm detects, Instagram prioritizes specific posts, and the 'most relevant content gets pushed to the top of people's feeds. A good follow-up question to that is what constitutes as 'most relevant' in 2021?


The New Order of Importance

'Likes' used to be people's primary focus when it came to measuring how well their Instagram posts were doing in terms of engagement. Not anymore! Instagram has made this abundantly clear with the way the algorithm favors specific posts. See below for the new order of importance for Instagram engagement:


  • Saves
  • Direct Messages
  • Comments
  • Likes 

As we said, 'likes' are becoming a thing of the past. When you post on Instagram now, it will only be favored if people interact with the post in a more meaningful way, aka through saving, sharing, or commenting on it. The more users that engage and interact with your content, the more your content will get pushed to the top of other people's feeds.


Using the New Algorithm to Your Advantage

There are some lucrative ways to work with the new algorithm instead of trying to ‘beat’ it.


  • Embrace the Latest Product Features

It's essential to understand Instagram's intentions as well as your own. Benefiting Instagram will likely benefit you. This means that Instagram is going to roll out new features from time to time, and it is important to embrace those features and utilize them. Instagram will favor posts that use their latest features because they want more people to start using them. If Reels isn't your favorite new feature, it might be wise to try and use it to benefit your standing in your follower's feed.


  • Create a Hashtag Strategy 

Hashtags are still a meaningful technique for marketing and bringing new eyes to your page. Posts with hashtags receive higher engagement than those without, and therefore the new algorithm will favor your posts.


  • Engage with Your Followers 

The new algorithm also rewards and recognizes engagement levels. If you see that people are commenting on your post, make sure to reply to those comments. Additionally, engage with users who direct message you. Respond to your audience, and it will grow.


  • Provide Variety

Don't only use one of Instagram's new products, but make sure to use them all. When you post Stories, Reels, IGTVs, and go Live, the algorithm will also recognize this. As cited above, it is just as important to understand Instagram's goals as it is to understand your own goals.


The sooner you get on board with the new algorithm, the better your posts will perform and the closer to your goals you'll get!


Need help with your Instagram strategy? Contact us to set up your one-on-one call. 


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