2024 Instagram Algorithm Hacks: Reach More DREAM Clients

We all know that Instagram is a powerful platform to connect with your clients and customers and promote your brand. But lately, it seems more confusing than ever to figure out how the 2024 Instagram algorithm works and how the content you share on your feed, stories, reels and explore page is ranked. 

Well, you’re girl got you because that’s exactly what we’re unpacking today so that you can start creating content that gets seen by more of your dream customers.

As Instagram continues to grow in popularity, it has become increasingly difficult for users to find content they’re genuinely interested in. That’s why, despite what many believe, Instagram has multiple algorithms, not just a single one. Each section including feed, reels, stories and explore, has its own ranking system tailored to how you use it.  

Each part of the Instagram app uses its own algorithm: Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels, Search.Image Source: Instagram

Signals are used to rank everything you see on the app. The Instagram algorithm relies on these signals which are based on how other people interact with you and how you interact with the app. 

So, how does this information affect you as a business owner? Well, when you understand how ranking works across Instagram you can better tailor your strategy so that your content is seen by more of your ideal customers and clients. 

With that being said, let’s discuss how the ranking signals work for each section of the app. 

The Feed Algorithm

Starting with feed, your personalised home base within Instagram, the content that appears here is a combination of posts from people you follow, recommended content and paid ads. It also includes a mix of different formats including photos, carousels and videos. 

In the first place, Instagram looks at the recency of the posts shared by people you currently follow, in addition to posts from accounts you don’t follow but who Instagram thinks you would be interested in. The aim is to strike a balance between showing posts from people you follow and content from new accounts. In order of importance, Instagram looks at the following signals: 

Your activity: To work out what posts you’re interested in, Instagram will analyse your activity on the app, meaning the posts you’ve engaged with in the form of liking, sharing, saving or commenting. 
Data about the post: Instagram looks for signals like how many other people have liked it as well as how quickly others are engaging with the post. 
Details about the content itself: Looking at details like the time and location it was posted. More recently, Instagram has taken note of factors like format, meaning if you engage with a particular format over another. For example, if you interact with more photos over video, your feed will be populated with more photos. 
Who shared the post: This is used to figure out how interested you may be in that account. They analyse signals like how many times people have engaged with that person in the past couple of weeks.
Your history of engaging with an account: Looking at whether you interact with one another’s posts to figure out how interested you are in seeing posts from that particular user. 

Following this, Instagram will make predictions about the likelihood of you interacting with posts in different ways. These include things like how likely you are to spend time on a post, comment on it, like it, share it and tap through to the profile of the poster. Posts will therefore appear higher in your feed as the likelihood of you taking one of these actions increases.

Now that you understand how the feed algorithm works, let’s unpack how you can use this information to drive better exposure for your business’s feed posts. As discussed, the most important ranking signal for feed is the user’s activity, meaning the posts they engage with.

You therefore need to create content that inspires your ideal customer to like, comment, save and share. To do this, you need to have a thorough understanding of who your ideal customer is and what makes them tick. For more on this, check out this podcast episode, which is all about defining your ideal client. Once you’ve gained a good understanding of your ideal customer’s biggest struggles and pain points, you’ll be able to create posts that grab their attention.

Equally important is that you tell them what action you want them to take, which can be done in the caption of the post. Telling your audience exactly how you want them to engage, such as prompting them to save the post for future reference, boosts the chances of them following through with that action. As they begin to engage more and more with your posts, they will start to see more of your content in their feed.

The Story Algorithm

Moving on to stories, the content you’ll see here will be from accounts you already follow as well as paid ads. The signals the story algorithm uses to rank stories are:

Viewing History: meaning how regularly you consume that account’s stories.
Engagement History: how often you interact, in the form of liking or sending a DM, with an account’s stories
Closeness: This is the relationship you have with the poster and an estimate of how likely you are to be connected as a friend or family member. 

By analysing these signals, Instagram will decide how likely you are to view or engage with that story to assess which stories will be shown higher up in your story feed. 

So, with your story strategy, you want to create high-value, engaging content that prompts your followers to continually view your stories and interact with them. Using story stickers can be a highly effective strategy for getting people to engage with your story. 

For example, you could use the “Poll” sticker to ask your audience for feedback on a new service or product idea, encouraging them to actively participate in creating your offers. Another option could be using the “Quiz” sticker to test your audience’s knowledge about a particular topic in your niche, encouraging interaction and increasing the chances of them viewing your stories in the future.

These interactive elements not only enhance engagement but also signal to the Instagram algorithm that your content is valuable and worth prioritising in users’ story feeds.

The Explore Algorithm

Explore is the section that helps users discover new content. Being featured on Explore will help your account grow as it’s a place people go to discover new things they might be interested in. The Explore page features a curated grid of content, including both images and videos from accounts you don’t already follow. 

Instagram selects the content it believes you’ll be interested in by predicting how likely you’ll be to take action on it. Likes, Saves and Shares are the most important actions they consider. The signals the algorithm analyses, in rough order of importance, are:

Information about the post: including how quickly others are engaging with it.
Your past activity in Explore: meaning the posts you’ve interacted with previously.
Your history interacting with the account that posted: including how often you engage on each other’s accounts.
Information about the account that posted: such as how often people have engaged with that account in the past couple of weeks. 

One of the biggest advantages of being featured on the Explore page is that users are actively going there to discover new content from people they don’t necessarily follow, meaning there is a big opportunity to be discovered by new eyes. Focus on creating highly engaging content that encourages users to take actions such as liking, saving, and sharing.

A great way to figure out what content gets the best engagement is to analyse what other leaders in your industry are sharing. Take a look at what content is getting the most engagement and then use that as inspiration for your content, adding your own unique spin and flair.

The Reels Algorithm

Similarly to Explore, the Reels algorithm is designed to help you discover new content, with a particular focus on entertainment. Much of the content you see will be from people you don’t currently follow. 

The algorithm first finds reels it thinks you’ll be interested in and then orders them based on how likely it believes you’ll engage with that reel. The most important actions it looks for are re-shares, watch time, likes and visits to the audio page of the reel (an indication of whether you might be inspired to create your own reel). In rough order of importance, the most important ranking signals are:

Your activity: the reels you’ve previously, liked, reshared, saved and commented on.
Your history of engaging with the account that posted the reel: including how regularly you interact with one another.
Information about the reel: like the audio track, visuals and how quickly others are engaging with it. 
Information about the person who shared the reel: looking at follower count and engagement level to discover captivating content from a variety of creators, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to connect with their audience.

To leverage this information to your advantage, prioritise creating reels that are entertaining, relatable, and packed with value. When a reel is entertaining and resonates with viewers, they’re more likely to share it with their friends, expanding your reach organically. 

Similarly, a reel offering valuable insights or quick wins encourages viewers to save the content for future reference and watch it in its entirety. Adding a lengthier caption with lots of valuable insights will help to prolong watch time and boost your visibility within the algorithm. 

Bonus tip: don’t forget to include an attention-grabbing hook that captivates viewers from the get-go.

The Key Takeaway

As you can now appreciate, understanding how the Instagram algorithms work in 2024 across different sections of the app is a game-changer for any business wanting to maximise its awareness and reach on the platform. 

By knowing exactly what signals Instagram looks for to get you ranked on feed, stories, Explore, and Reels, you can tailor your content strategy accordingly. so that you can boost your engagement and reach more of your ideal clients and customers. Whether that’s creating compelling feed posts, interactive stories, engaging content for the Explore page, or entertaining and relatable reels, each section offers a unique opportunity for your business to increase exposure and connect with more ideal clients and customers.

If you found value in this post and want to learn more about how you can work 1:1 with me to master Instagram marketing so you can reach more dream clients and customers, without the overwhelm, click here to apply for a free strategy call with me where we can chat more about what it would look like to work together! 

Craving more? Click here to learn How to CRUSH Your Instagram Goals with These Tips for High-Converting Posts.

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