What is a smart Instagram feed and how to outsmart it
“Smart Feed”, which appeared back in 2016, has become a real tragedy for active Instagram users. If earlier everything was simple: I posted a picture of a sunset and received likes and enthusiastic comments from friends, now complex algorithms force users to fight for the attention of the audience.
Yes, now the reach is obtained by generating quality content, and the number of subscribers has rapidly faded into the background. In this article, we’ll explore how Facebook’s tribute has impacted Instagram, along with secrets to please the finicky algorithmic feed.
What is a smart feed on Instagram
To understand this multifaceted phenomenon, you need to go back a little to the origins of the introduction of the smart feed, when posts began to be displayed not by the date of publication, but arbitrarily, relying on unknown Instagram algorithms. Yes, they became merciless. ” mow ”low-quality photos of food, cats and sunsets, which did not collect the required number of likes.
The upgrade took place in 2016, and influenced the modification of the social network, of course, Facebook – the discoverer of the algorithmic feed. Up to this point, the user was greeted with a notification “That’s it for now” , notifying that the user has finally figured out the chaos of publications and looked through the feed until victorious.
The popularity of the social network grew, and the number of users grew rapidly upward. Naturally, this affected the content being streamed. It became many times more, but for some reason no one thought about the quality. Then the leadership of Instagram made a strong-willed decision: to introduce an algorithmic feed, so that, first of all, the audience saw high-quality meaningful posts. Thus, receiving relevant content, users began to spend more time on the social network. Clever, isn’t it?
Nobody provided official information about the modification of the work of the social network, but it immediately became clear to all active users that the case smelled fried and now they would have to work hard on posts. In January 2019, Instagram confirmed these guesses in a series of tweets.
How the smart feed is formed
Smart Feed is when you publish a post, but it is not visible to all followers. Yes, sad news, but in this way Instagram seeks to overcome the attack in the form of low-quality content.
True, this does not mean at all that the social network is hiding some posts from you. If you are subscribed to a large number of accounts, then it is quite logical that you simply cannot master the lion’s share of publications. Therefore, they are automatically lowered to the bottom so as not to distract you from the main content.
What determines the order of posts in the feed? In the foreground are the publications of the accounts with which you:
- communicate frequently in Direct;
- interact frequently by visiting the page;
- provide feedback, reacting to stories, leaving comments, likes and reposts.
For example, the accounts with which you are in a stormy correspondence in private messages will be among the first in the feed. The quality of the content does not matter in this case.
Also, the social network carefully analyzes your interests: hashtags, search queries, subscriptions. The purpose of this is very clear – to find the content that you are most responsive to.
Periodically, Instagram conducts “test days” . What does it mean? You are shown the publications of those profiles to which you are subscribed, but for some reason do not interact with them. Instagram tracks your level of interest and if a post deserves likes and comments, then it will be shown more. If not, it will disappear from the feed again for a long time.
Let’s reveal a secret: algorithms track the time you spend on the platform. Have you ever visited the Your Actions section of your Instagram settings? Not? But in vain, the numbers may surprise you.
With this point, everything is very simple. Instagram will show you as much content per day as you can watch. Naturally, the amount of content for a profile that spends 20 minutes a day on the social network will be much less than for a user who has been watching the feed for 7 hours.
How to trick the smart feed and increase reach
Just do not think that only the ill-fated smart tape is to blame for the fall in coverage, which supposedly wants to nullify your efforts and efforts. Alas, other factors that do not depend on algorithms also affect the decrease in feedback:
- Followers are hard to surprise with something. The amount of content on the vastness of the social network is growing rapidly, so just a beautiful photo and a thoughtful quote are no longer enough. If earlier photos of cats collected a lot of likes, now you have to work hard to impress a sophisticated audience with something original.
- In the past, it was easier to get coverage. Until 2016, even a photo of scrambled eggs published in prime time, when half of Moscow goes to work and hangs on their phones, could get into the feed and receive a response, but now everything has changed. Now it is much more difficult to reach the target audience, because first of all subscribers will see quality content, and only then, if they are lucky, your eggs.
- Advertising . After the introduction of the smart feed, bloggers and commercial pages began to sin with advertising. Whether users want it or not, even if they just skip it, they are wasting the time they might have spent looking at your post.
If you have passed the stage of denial and have come to terms with the fact that the algorithmic feed, unfortunately, will not go anywhere, it’s time to move into the offensive phase and change something in the strategy in order to attract the attention of subscribers. By increasing engagement, you will automatically rise to the top of the feed and begin to flicker in it more often.
How to do it? Catch some effective recommendations .
Improve content quality
It’s not only about an attractive picture, but also about the content. Post quality photos that you want to look at. In this regard, the easiest way is for travel bloggers, because they have the opportunity to post incredible landscapes and unexplored locations.
Despite the fact that most Instagram users believe that likes are needed only to amuse their pride, this is not entirely true. Comments and cherished hearts allow you to appease the algorithmic feed and get more coverage.
Try to surprise subscribers with posts on relevant and provocative topics. Open-ended questions at the end of the text are a great opportunity to get the audience talking and get feedback in the form of comments.
More videos … more videos
Yes, photos and videos work the same, but the advantage of video content is that it plays automatically, which means it is guaranteed to grab people’s attention and make them stop watching the video.
You don’t have to take out a tripod, adjust the light, and shoot something ingenious to satisfy the aesthetic needs of your followers. A small live video or a flashing boomerang is enough.
Post stories regularly
The Stories algorithm also pays great attention to relevance, since the very essence of Stories is to show the latest news from the lives of users. Therefore, some of the accounts that post them frequently may appear at the top of the feed, even if you rarely interact with them.
No, we do not urge you to fill your subscribers with useless photos and memes every 2 seconds. Everything must be approached wisely.
Don’t ignore live broadcasts
Live broadcasts are a cool opportunity to interact with your target audience. Yes, broadcasts have nothing to do with the ranking of the feed, but when you start the broadcast, followers receive a notification about its beginning. This means that you have the opportunity to attract their attention. Moreover, this kind of content is much simpler than video.
Add some interactivity
Games, Stories polls, contests and sweepstakes – all this can significantly increase coverage. Subscribers give you a cherished reaction, and you, in turn, make them happy with gifts. Everyone is in the black.
But we recommend not to abuse interactivity, as subscribers can simply get used to it and stop giving due feedback in the form of likes and comments.
Use bots wisely
Cheating subscribers is bad, and even dangerous, because you run the risk of falling straight into the “shadow ban”. But no one forbids you to push followers to actively interact with the published content. A completely logical question is brewing: how to bring this process to automatism, so as not to sit for hours with the phone in your hands?
Your indispensable lifesaver in this case is the sensational Jesica bot, designed for natural autoliking and increasing the engagement of your and others’ subscribers.
Submit your audience with posts
In the era of timeline feed, the high frequency of posts per day could alienate subscribers and induce them to click the Unsubscribe button, but now this trend has sunk into oblivion. Remember: the more the better.
Due to the algorithmic feed, users see only part of the posts, therefore, even if you post 3 posts a day, it will not annoy your loyal followers. And, besides, it will help you to test the content faster and understand which photos and videos “enter” the audience, and which do not inspire admiration.
Publish when subscribers are online
Publish posts during the time frame when most of your audience is online. This will increase your reach and get good feedback.
Understanding how it works : if a post starts to be actively liked after publication, it automatically appears in the feed, even for those subscribers who rarely interact with your content.
Thanks to the speed of dialing “hearts”, you can even get to the top on hashtags. True, it is necessary to approach their selection wisely.
What not to do
Checklist of errors that can kill your reach and drag you to the bottom of the tape:
- Participation in givas. Givas are the scourge of social networks, but for some reason users persistently continue to participate in them. Now we will fight off this desire once and for all. What’s wrong with them? When the contest is over, you will face a massive churn of followers. Instagram algorithms will see a huge unsubscribe in 1-2 weeks and decide that your profile is not interesting. The result is a footer of the feed and futile attempts to increase reach.
- Lack of textual accompaniment. A beautiful photo with filters is, of course, good, but if you did not accompany it with meaningful text, be ready to give the palm to the author with fascinating longreads. Alas, you won’t surprise discerning users with visual content alone.
- Spam in comments. Swirling comments replete with the same type of phrases are a sure road to nowhere. Instagram values not quantity, but quality, so remove the fiery speeches of bots that only spoil the appearance of your profile.
- Publishing records “on a whim” and completely ignoring statistics. Of course, there are talented newcomers who can come to the social network and blow it up with super ideas. Try it, what if you are one of those? If posts collect 10-20 likes and there is no growth, pay attention to the statistics.
So, let’s summarize our mini-guide on the wilds of Instagram algorithms:
- comments, likes, views and reposts affect the position in the feed;
- photos and videos work the same, but the video is more likely to hold the viewer’s attention;
- the algorithm is constantly changing in response to user behavior;
- interactive in Stories will attract the attention of subscribers, but do not abuse it;
- comments of any length are counted only if they are from your audience, not bots;
- account type does not affect reach, the main thing is more original content;
So, in order not to be afraid of algorithms, use useful cheat sheets, improve the quality of content, interact with subscribers and you will be happy in the form of good statistics and decent coverage.