What is driving the Instagram Algorithm in 2023?


By Jessica Hawke

Instagram is a social marketing channel which provides a significant opportunity for a brand to promote itself and claim a share of voice in their industry.

Having a presence on Instagram builds brand awareness and nurtures potential customers to feel positive about the business it is exchanging with – popular posts create popular products and services, and popularity sells.

Creating amazing, shareable content requires a brand to tailor content that is aligned to the platform and its user base. To do this the company needs to know the inner workings of the platform’s algorithms so that the content is the content that the platform wants to promote.

At SCS Marketing & PR for example, we help clients to maximise their ROI (return on investment) by helping them to understand these algorithms and the evolving strategy of the Instagram.  The social media team at SCS keep a constant overview of the algorithms as they are linked to the strategic direction of the platform, and when they change, they can change fast.

The rise of Tik Tok put video front of mind, Reels became popular (and rewarded with reach by the algorithm) and, as a result, the amount of video content exploded. Unsurprisingly, as 90 per cent of people use their mobile phones to watch videos and 82 per cent of global internet traffic is derided from videos – video content was always destined to be highly desirable way to consume content and social media platforms were the perfect place to showcase this either on a grand scale or to highly targeted, niche audiences – dependent on the product or service on offer.

In direct competition with Tik Tok, Instagram (owned by Meta) changed its strategic direction to rise to this challenge and introduced several new features to make the platform competitive in this new market. These included reel templates, 60-second stories, cash bonuses for top creators, and a TikTok-style app redesign. Underpinning this was a new algorithm that prioritised videos over other content. However, that is all beginning to change.

In spite of being asked to relocate to London last August to support Meta with the rise and rise of Tik Tok, former Facebook executive and Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, admitted in January that app had focussed too much on video content and needed to return to the platform’s roots – photo content.

Mosseri also clarified that what you see and do not see on Instagram is the result of a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes. But he did state that there are some ways brands can ensure that its followers are seeing what interests them.

How to maximise reach for your brand in 2023

• Experiment to find the right mix of content types. Just like on LinkedIn, carousels are extremely good for engagement—they encourage people to linger over content for much longer

• Reels still hold power for reach

• Static photos have been reprioritised in the Feed, so consider your content plan output

• Stories continue to help a brand stay at the top of the Feed all day, without the need to over-post or spam followers

• Photos are making a comeback on Instagram but do not give up on video. Short-form video continues to be a highly desirable way to consume content and that looks set to continue for the long term.

If your brand would like to discuss how you could take advantage of the many opportunities that social media can bring to you business, do get in touch using the let’s talk page, email or call 01252 621293.