How Instagram Algorithms Work [Reels, Stories, Posts, Explore Page]

How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2022: The Ultimate Guide

[Intro and other sections remain the same.]

How the Instagram Reels Algorithm Works

Instagram Reels, the platform‘s fastest-growing feature, has quickly become a key priority in its algorithm. Launched in August 2020 to compete with TikTok, Reels now have over 1 billion monthly active users and generate 22% more engagement than regular video posts.

As a result, Instagram‘s algorithm heavily favors Reels, pushing them to users‘ main feeds, Explore pages, and the dedicated Reels tab. In fact, Reels now account for over 20% of the total time users spend on Instagram.

To determine which Reels to show each user, the algorithm looks at four main factors:

  1. User activity: How a user interacts with Reels, such as which ones they‘ve watched, liked, commented on, and shared in the past. The more Reels a user engages with, the more they will see.

  2. Audio: The popularity and trendiness of the audio track used in the Reel. Reels that use trending songs or sounds are more likely to be pushed to new audiences to jump on the trend.

  3. Hashtags: Like with other post types, hashtags help categorize Reels so the algorithm can serve them to interested users. However, Instagram recommends using only 3-5 hashtags max on Reels to avoid looking spammy.

  4. Poster information: Data on the creator‘s overall Reels performance and past engagement, as well as their activity outside of Reels. Consistently high-performing accounts may receive a visibility boost.

Once a user has viewed a Reel, Instagram will then aim to show them more Reels similar to that one to keep them scrolling. The algorithm looks at information like the audio track, hashtags, and visual content to identify related Reels.

In addition to these core ranking signals, the Reels algorithm also takes into account:

  • Popularity: How many views, likes, comments, and shares a Reel gets, especially shortly after posting
  • Completion rate: The percentage of people who watch a Reel all the way to the end
  • Freshness: How recently the Reel was published, with newer content being prioritized
  • User surveys: The results of polls asking viewers if they found a Reel entertaining or relevant

Essentially, Reels that quickly rack up engagement, especially likes and shares, have a strong chance of going viral by being pushed out to exponentially more users. According to Instagram, the majority of Reels views actually come from people who don‘t follow the original poster.

So what makes a Reel algorithm-friendly? Some best practices include:

  • Using trending audio tracks and putting your own spin on viral memes or challenges
  • Grabbing attention in the first few seconds with movement and a clear hook
  • Aiming for a high-quality recording with good framing, lighting, and stability
  • Keeping text concise (under 10 words per clip) and placing it in the middle of the screen
  • Using relevant hashtags to help interested viewers find your content
  • Making content that‘s inspiring, relatable, or humorous to maximize shares

Here‘s a quick cheat sheet with key Reels stats and tips:

Reels Algorithm Factor Best Practices
Video length 15-30 seconds is the sweet spot
Aspect ratio 9:16 vertical video (1080px x 1920px)
Audio Use trending sounds and music for 67% more views
Text Under 10 words per clip, placed in center
Captions 3-5 relevant hashtags only
Posting time 9am, 12pm, 3pm on weekdays

By understanding these key ranking signals and following creative best practices, you can give your Reels the best chance of being picked up by the algorithm and reaching massive new audiences.

For example, creator Wisdom Kaye grew his fashion brand on Instagram from 0 to 6 million followers in under 2 years by consistently posting high-quality outfit transition Reels set to popular music. His viral Reels, which often gain millions of views each, follow a reliable formula:

  • Entertaining outfit changes that show off his style
  • Carefully chosen trending audio tracks
  • Seamless editing and confident delivery
  • Clear calls-to-action to like and share

As Instagram continues to invest in Reels as a primary growth driver, mastering the format will only become more important for brands and creators looking to expand their reach. By staying on top of trends, putting your unique spin on popular content, and reliably posting engaging, high-quality videos, you can turn the Reels algorithm into a powerful tool to supercharge your growth.

[Conclusion stays the same.]