Introducing nova Intelligence: real customer insights within minutes.

Learn More
Blog Post

Instagram Algorithm Best Practices from 2018 to 2019

December 27, 2018
Table of Contents

Wondering how the Instagram algorithm change 2019 update will affect your social media strategy? Whether you are an Instagram user, an influencer, a social media manager, you may be wondering how this algorithm change is going to affect your page. Let’s start by breaking down what the algorithm currently favors. The Instagram algorithm, from the user perspective, will show you what you like – literally, what you Like. In other words, getting engagement is more critical than ever for your business profile’s content to show. Not only does this affect businesses, but Instagram influencers and everyday users are also seeing the new changes influence their Instagram account interactions. The more likes, the more reach. The less likes, the lower the reach. There are a few insights Instagram slipped to the public, which are:

  1. Timely Content
  2. Interest
  3. Relationship


First things first, your content needs to be well-liked, and that goes for a business account, an influencer, as well as an everyday Instagram user. Based on a user’s past behavior, the Instagram algorithm will put posts that it thinks the user will like, such as an account whose posts they have liked in the past, higher into the top of their feed. This also means you want to create quality content that your target audience will be interested in.

Timely Content

The algorithm will favor recently posted posts. What Instagram is trying to move away from was the initial Instagram update that received a lot of backlash. Remember when you would see a friend’s post from over a week ago? That shouldn’t happen anymore. So, we have timely content (aka frequency matters) and interest (aka make sure your Instagram content is valuable and engagement-driven).


Instagram remembers if you tag a user in your caption, photos, or in comments. Given this engagement, Instagram will show content to users that have interacted with each other in this way. Therefore, as a brand, commenting back and tagging users is beneficial for more than just creating connection with your target audience, but also bettering your spot in that person’s Instagram feed.

Related: Instagram Algorithm Change History


Before diving into tips to win within the algorithm battlefield, let’s get one myth out of the way.


When video content started hitting the social media scene last year on the app, the algorithm did favor video content. However, now it is not so apples to apples with this social media platform. Your video will not perform well just because it’s a video. It will now only perform well if it is gaining good traction through this social media app.


Utilize Instagram Stories

Keep your Instagram profile active and engaging. A great way to stay at the forefront of your audience’s feed is by utilizing Instagram Stories, which can cause profile visits and other sources of engagement to feed the algorithm with bonus points towards your content.

Instagram Ads

Whether you boost your Instagram posts or have paid ads running on Instagram, a little monetary love can go a long way when it comes to this social media platform. Tip: One way to boost your Instagram posts is through your Facebook profile.

Post During Active Hours

Make sure you are scheduling or live posting your content during the times of the day that coincide with your audience’s time on social media. Although the algorithm can push your content to the next day for some users, the first few hours a post is live is crucial. If you post during an active hour and gain engagement then, your post will be shown to more users. On the flip side, if you post during off hours and have little viewers to see your content within the first few hours, your content may read as irrelevant and be sent to the bottom of the priority list within the algorithm.

Trending Topics Matter

By this we mean – stay relevant. Relevant, timely content performs well because, more likely than not, this is also top of mind for the viewers. Think of the posts you see from brands about going to vote or donating to a local community that experienced a wildfire, etc. If it’s top of mind for your target audience – and it’s appropriate to take a stand on – do it.

Invest in Quality Photography/Videography

Nowadays, visuals are everything when it comes to social media marketing. If you have poor quality visuals and a fantastic caption, you still probably will not perform well. Invest in quality assets. It will go a long way and lend to your brand’s credibility.

Get Personal

Creating a meaningful connection with your audience through your Instagram business account will forever keep your engagement rate high and therefore keep you in the algorithm’s favor. Figure out what your brand is and who your audience is, sincerely in order to achieve true Instagram success.


Empowering you to break the mold.

Kind of like a full-service agency, kind of like an in-house CMO. Elevate your brand's presence with custom strategy, channel expertise, and flawless execution.

Learn More