Instagram Reel Algorithm Unwrapped

It’s time to cut some cake and wish Instagram a Happy Birthday because this week marks 365 days of Instagram reels.

Wednesday August 4th the platform posted an early gift to celebrate, revealing the secrets behind their algorithm via their @creators account.

@creators boasts almost 6 million followers and showcases the most notable accounts on the platform. It actively encouragers users to hop on board reel trends providing instructions, audio and hot tips to creating ‘viral’ videos.

The Algorithm

Applauded for their transparency, Instagram announced they were “pulling back the curtain to show how the ranking algorithm works.”

In order to determine which reels to show you, they consider how likely you are to:

1) Watch a reel to its conclusion
2) Give it a like
3) Comment saying it was funny or entertaining
4) Go to the audio page to use it to make your own reel

Instagram Loves Engagement

The more likely you are to create your own reel as a result of engaging with an original, the more likely you will see that same type of content on your explore page. Encouraging creators to promote audio based trends is just another way the platform is mimicking the viral nature of TikTok.


Instagram also shared the four most important signals that can boost reel reach:

  1. Which reels you have engaged with including likes and commenting
  2. Your history of interacting the person who posted the reel
  3. Information about the reels such as the audio track and video understanding based on pixels and whole frames as well as popularity
  4. Information about the person who posted and how others interacted with them

The platforms looks at the specific details of the previous clips you have engaged with like the audio history and video understanding based on pixels and whole frames. Sharing Facebook’s forever improving AI system, it can identify what is shown in each clip so if you’re watching a lot of reels about cats, you can expect to see more cats in your feed too.

The Big No-No

It’s important to note that Instagram has given a few types of content a big red cross including:

1) Low resolution videos or watermarked reels
2) Politically focused reels
3) Reels that are made by political figures, parties or government officials or on their behalf

It also limits the reach of clips that have been re-shared from TikTok to avoid content cross over. It can easily filter these clips through TikTok un-removable watermark.

Instagram Reels Algorithm

The move to give political content the flick has some users concerned about the implications on freedom of speech. Is Instagram just trying to avoid the same political turmoil TikTok faced in 2020 between United States and China?

The Three E’s

Regardless, the platform is keeping it about the three Es
Entertaining content
Engaging users
Encouraging view response

Making a viral reel is not nearly as easy as it sounds and unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all method. That’s why Instagram is giving creators one more reason to start putting their reel skills to the test.

Instagram’s “bonuses” feature is set to drop any day now with creators being paid for the reels they create. Before you get too excited, the feature will not be available to regular users and Instagram is yet to reveal the criteria to access the option. We’re going to take a guess and say that it will be those who have a decent upload volume or audience engagement metrics.

How do you check your metrics? Well Instagram finally made reel and Instagram live data available via insights so you can check out your plays, accounts reaches, likes, comments, saves and shares.

“We know that understanding more about how content is being distributed is important, so we’ve built new breakdowns that provide transparency into which types of accounts you’re reaching and which content formats are the most effective at driving reach,” says Instagram.

Takeaways

👉 Instagram revealed reel algorithm same week as their reel anniversary
👉Engagement history plays a huge role in determining what you see on your personal Instagram reel explore page
👉The platform is mimicking TikTok by encouraging viral audio based content
👉Instagram has banned all political based reels
👉Instagram “bonuses” feature set to drop soon where creators will be paid for the reels they create

Want to find out how TikTok and Instagram Reel strategies can work for your business? Head to our Social Meteor contact page to chat to us today!

 
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