Instagram chief Adam Mosseri speaking at an event

Instagram Chief Reveals the Secrets Behind the App’s Algorithms

In a candid 90-minute interview, Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, provided an in-depth look at the platform’s algorithms, its focus on video content and Reels, and the monetisation tools being developed for creators. Here are the key takeaways:

Adam Mosseri, leader of Instagram, at a Ted talks

TED2022: A New Era. April 10-14, 2022, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

How Instagram’s Ranking Algorithms Decide What Content to Show You

1. Information about the user: This includes data on the user’s interests, interactions, activity, and closely connected accounts, analysed using machine learning. Instagram tracks what types of posts, accounts, and topics a user engages with most.

2. Information about the post: Factors like post popularity (likes, comments, shares), recency, format (photo, video, carousel), location tags, mentioned accounts, and hashtags used. More engaging and relevant posts get prioritised.

3. User’s interaction history with the poster: Users tend to see more content from accounts they frequently engage with by liking, commenting, sharing, etc. Instagram aims to surface more content from accounts a user cares about.

4. Follow activity: The more accounts a user follows, the more the algorithm has to determine what content is most relevant for their feed. Users following many accounts may see more curated recommendations.

Mosseri emphasised that Instagram does not rank posts based on how often users open the app or how long they spend on it. The goal is to show users the most engaging, relevant content for their interests.

By understanding these ranking signals, creators can optimise their content strategy to increase visibility and engagement through tactics like:

– Posting at optimal times when their audience is most active
– Using relevant hashtags, locations, and mentions
– Creating visually appealing, high-quality content that resonates with their niche
– Consistently engaging with their audience and other creators

The Rise of Video and Reels on Instagram

Video has become a major focus for Instagram, now accounting for over half of the time spent on the platform. The company is aggressively promoting its TikTok competitor Reels, with Mosseri stating:

– Instagram aims to create a more participatory video experience compared to YouTube, encouraging sharing and discussion around videos.
– The platform is shifting from its roots in still images to prioritise video content driven by AI recommendations.
– Around 50% of video impressions on Instagram occur without sound, influencing how creators should approach video editing and captions.

To capitalise on the video trend, Instagram is investing in video editing tools, creative effects, and improved recommendations to help creators produce more engaging video content.

Instagram app showing a Reel with music, effects, and transitions

Reel with music, effects, and transitions

Monetisation Tools for Creators

With a focus on empowering creators to build sustainable careers, Instagram is rolling out several monetisation features:

1. Subscriptions
Creators can offer paid subscriptions for exclusive content like stories, live videos, badges, and more. Pricing is set by creators.

2. Instagram Badges
During Live videos, followers can purchase badges at different price points to get greater visibility and a creator’s attention.

3. Branded Content
Tools for transparent sponsorships and branded content ads, allowing businesses to tap into creator influence.

4. Affiliate Marketing
Creators can earn commissions by promoting products with unique affiliate links or discount codes.

5. Instagram Checkout
Select creators and brands can tag products for in-app purchases directly on Instagram.

Mosseri stated that Instagram is prioritising monetisation for smaller creators not yet reliant on other platforms, in addition to its larger influencers.

Insights on Competition and the Future of Instagram

Mosseri acknowledged TikTok as a major competitor, stating “the competition for TikTok hurt us, but it hurt them way more.” He expressed concerns about more platforms potentially being banned in various regions, using TikTok’s situation in the U.S. as an example.

Looking ahead, Mosseri revealed:

– Instagram will continue prioritising individual creators over institutional publishers, reflecting an industry shift.
– The platform will leverage AI to better understand content context and serve more personalised recommendations.
– Additional monetisation features, analytics insights, and creative tools are planned to support creators.

As video content and short-form formats like Reels continue gaining popularity, Instagram is positioning itself as the go-to platform for creators to build audiences, earn money, and turn their passions into viable careers.

By optimising for Instagram’s ranking signals, producing engaging video content, and leveraging the platform’s growing monetisation opportunities, creators can increase their visibility, engagement, and revenue streams in this rapidly evolving social media landscape.

1 Comment

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