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How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2021: Everything You Need to Know

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How exactly does the Instagram feed work?

That question has puzzled marketers ever since Instagram first introduced its algorithm in July 2020.

The Instagram algorithm was introduced to help surface the best, most relevant content to each user every-time they check their feed. Until now, though, the inner-workings of the feed have been kept under wraps, but recently Instagram shared the six key ranking factors publicly for the first time.

In this post, we’ll break down the Instagram feed for you. We’ll go through the factors that influence the ranking of your content and explain why the Instagram algorithm is actually great for marketers.

Let’s go!


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How does the Instagram algorithm work?

Recently, Instagram invited a small group of journalists to their San Francisco office to put an end to the rumors and share how the Instagram feed ranking algorithm really works.

Instagram revealed that there are three main factors that determine what you see in your Instagram feed:

  • Interest
  • Timeliness
  • Relationship

There are also three additional criteria that play a smaller part in your Instagram feed rankings:

  • Frequency
  • Following
  • Usage

We’ll discuss each factor in a little more detail below.


The 3 most important Instagram feed ranking factors

1. Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post

When the algorithmic timeline was announced, Instagram mentioned that it would show you content that you’ll likely be interested in first:

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.

Content that is relevant to your interests will rank higher on your feed. But how does Instagram know your interests? One way could be to look at the genres of content (e.g. travel, food, fashion, sports, etc.) you have interacted with in the past.

With the level of photo recognition technologies available now, I believe it’s possible for the algorithm to categorize posts into simple genres such as travel, food, fashion, and more — and possibly even more sophisticated genres. The algorithm could also look at the hashtags used.

If there’s a certain genre of content that you engage with more frequently (e.g. food), Instagram might rank content of that genre (e.g. food, restaurants, etc.) higher on your feed.

An Instagram spokesperson told Business Insider that ranking of Instagram posts is not a popularity contest. Posts with less engagement that are more relevant to you can still appear right at the top of your feed.

2. Timeliness: How recent the posts are

The next key ingredient in the Instagram algorithm, as shared by Instagram a while back, is timeliness.

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.

Instagram wants to show you posts that are recent and, consequently, more relevant.

Something from last week might not interest you as much as something from an hour ago, so Instagram will likely show you more recent posts rather than posts from a few days or weeks ago — even if the older post had received a lot of engagement.

This implies that recent posts likely rank higher in your feed and that the timing of your post is still relevant.

According to a talk from Instagram’s Thomas Dimson, and my personal experience (admittedly, a sample size of only one), it seems that the Instagram algorithm re-orders only the new posts between your current visit and your last visit.

For example, if I visited Instagram at 11 PM last night and again at 9 AM this morning, and there were 50 posts created in between. The algorithm would sort only those 50 posts created and not include posts from before 11 PM last night. Based on my personal experience, if I were to scroll past all those 50 posts, I’d see the same posts in the same order as when I last visited (11 PM last night).

(If your personal experience is different from this, it’d be great to hear from you!)

If this is true, it could mean that the best time to post is when your followers are most active as there would be less competition (e.g. between 9 to 10 AM in the image below).

Feed sorted only within vists

(Image from Thomas’s slide deck)

3. Relationship: The accounts you regularly interact with

In a June 2016 announcement about the feed ranking algorithm, Instagram stated the following:

And no matter how many accounts you follow, you should see your best friend’s latest posts.

Just like Facebook, Instagram doesn’t want you to miss important posts from your friends and family, such as a post about your friend’s engagement. This implies that content from your “best friends” likely ranks higher on your feed.BROUGHT TO YOU BY

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I also believe that the Instagram algorithm studies your past interactions to determine your “best friends”. In a talk about designing and implementing the Instagram algorithm, Thomas Dimson also shared in his talk how Instagram could have determined the people you care about:

  • People whose content you like (possibly including stories and live videos)
  • People you direct message
  • People you search for
  • People you know in real life

While these might not be the exact criteria used in the Instagram algorithm, they give us a hint that Instagram probably considers the accounts you frequently interact with as “people you care about”. And it has confirmed that content from these accounts will rank higher on your feed.

An Instagram spokesperson also told Business Insider that profile searches are a signal Instagram looks at when ranking posts in your feed. When you search (regularly) for certain profiles, it likely indicates that you are interested in the account’s posts and might not have seen them on your feed.

Instagram might then rank their posts higher on your feed so that you don’t have to search for their profiles to see their posts, improving your Instagram experience.

Thomas from Instagram also mentioned in his talk that when they experimented with the new algorithm, the number of searches went down. They took it as a good sign as it meant that people are seeing the posts they are interested in without having to search for their favorite profiles.


3 additional Instagram feed ranking factors

Frequency: How often a user opens Instagram

Every time a user opens up Instagram, the algorithm will try to show the best posts since their last visit.

So if you open Instagram once daily, you’ll likely see the posts that Instagram’s algorithm feels are the most relevant for that day. However, if you open Instagram hourly, Instagram will try to show you most relevant content you haven’t yet seen before.

Following: Content from all accounts a user follows

If you follow thousands of accounts on Instagram, the algorithm must sort through more content in order to decide what to show you each time you open up the app. This means users who follow large numbers of people might see less from each individual account, whereas users who follow just a few select accounts are likely to see more from their closest friends or favorite accounts.

Usage: How long a user spends on Instagram

Whether a user tends to browse Instagram in short bursts or longer sessions can also affect what the algorithm shows. If a user prefers to short visits to Instagram, the algorithm will ensure it shows the most relevant posts first, whereas for users who prefer longer browsing sessions it may provide a deeper catalog of fresh content to browse.


Quickfire Instagram feed FAQs

Are photos or videos preferred by the Instagram algorithm?

In short, no. Instagram doesn’t give extra weight to either videos or photos within its feed. However, if the data shows that a certain user prefers to engage with videos over photos, then that specific user may see more video content in their feed.

Does posting too frequently affect ranking?

Instagram accounts aren’t down-ranked for posting content frequently. Though Christina d’Avignon, a product designer for Instagram feed, did tell The Verge: “we do make sure your feed feels diverse so we may break up posts.”

Are business and personal accounts treated differently by the algorithm?

As reported by Techcrunch: “Instagram doesn’t give extra feed presence to personal accounts or business accounts, so switching won’t help your reach.”

Will posting Stories or Live videos affect ranking?

Creating Instagram Stories or live broadcasting with Instagram won’t affect how your content ranks within the feed.


Why is the Instagram feed algorithm is great for marketers

As the number of users on Instagram increases, the number of posts will likely increase, too.

When users follow more people, the number of posts in their feed will increase. The natural result of this is that the impressions (or organic reach) of each post will fall — unless every user spends more time on Instagram looking at all the additional posts.

The reality is that people usually don’t see all the new posts when they visit Instagram. A study by Instagram themselves found that before the algorithm, on average, users missed 70 percent of the posts on their feeds and 50 percent of the posts from their friends. Now, though, Instagram’s 800 million users reportedly see 90 percent of their friends’ posts.

Instagram is all about aesthetics. The more beautiful your feed appears, the more it will attract potential followers. While it is about catering to the needs and interest of your pre-existing audience, it is also about attracting a new audience who have the potential to turn into a follower. Colour grading your feed can be extremely useful for anyone trying to attract a new audience and increase their follower base, and gain more likes. Colour grading your feed can help you grow in multiple ways. The most simplistic thing is that it gives a classy look to your entire feed. Alongside it helps your audience to recognize your work at first glance.

But as long as you are creating engaging, relevant, and timely content, the algorithm is actually an advantage to you. It will help to surface your great content to more of your followers than when posts were arranged reverse-chronologically.

Instagram Algorithm - Feed Before and After

(Graphic inspired by Thomas’s slide)

Here’s another way to look at it: Without this algorithm, one quick way to get your Instagram followers’ attention would be to post many times a day. If most brands follow this strategy, the number of Instagram posts would increase dramatically, and the organic reach of each post would fall proportionally — even if it’s a quality post.

With this algorithm, brands are encouraged to post only their best content, and the quality of their content will determine their reach. Brands with the best content overall will stand out more easily now than without the algorithm.

Here’s a bonus: The Explore tab also uses an algorithm to surface content based on the user’s interests and past behaviors. It is another brilliant way for your great content to reach more people!


Over to you

Instagram marketing is an incredibly exciting, ever-changing topic. And I believe that the Instagram algorithm is great for both brands and users in the long run — though it may have resulted in drops in organic reach for some accounts.

I’d love to head any thoughts you might have on the Instagram feed and the ranking factors listed above. How are you currently approaching Instagram marketing? Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know.

A version of this post was originally published in April 2020. This version has been updated based on new information shared by Instagram.

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IP Protection Worldwide: Things You Should Know About International Trademark Registration

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Registering your trademark enables you to perform trading in a protected way under the IP laws. With the trademark registration, you can also restrict the unauthorized use from the infringers; this way, you can also expand your business via trademark licensing. This would take your business far and wide. 

In nature, when you register a trademark in India, you are availed of territorial rights. Once you have your mark registered, it would be safeguarded within that territory of the particular country. But what if one wants to protect it worldwide? Then it can be done via international trademark registration.

International trademark registration and its importance.

If you gaze at international work, then you can already get the point and its importance. International trademark registration safeguards ones’ trademark in countries that are a signatory of the Madrid Protocol. It is for those businesses who want to carry out international business. Nonetheless, not many people understand the minutes of the international trademark registration process. Here are the ten points that would make your understanding clear about it.

– Not all countries are part of the Madrid Protocol.

Registering your trademark internationally would safeguard it on the international front, but it would not be protected in all countries. Currently, there are 117 member countries in the Madrid Protocol. There are 195 countries in totality. Hence, if you are pondering to safeguard your mark worldwide, you are short of 78 countries.

– It involves two key agreements.

It is not a new concept; it has been there for the last 130 years. 1st agreement linked with this process was the Paris convention, which was started in 1883. As of now, it has 177 member countries. And the 2nd one is the Madrid agreement which has 117 countries.

– If a single member country in the protocol annuls your mark, your whole application will be abandoned.

It is one of the challenging matters while registering a trademark internationally as all the countries will have to accept it to pass. Otherwise, if one country annuls it, then your application will be abandoned.

– If your applications get rejected, then you can reapply on a priority basis.

While applying for an international trademark, there will be rejections. Nonetheless, you will be given concessions as well. If some countries reject it, you can reapply based on countries that have accepted your trademark application.

You will have to opt for countries that you want to safeguard your make in.

Many people cannot understand it. With international trademark registration, you will not automatically get your mark registered in all member countries of the Madrid Protocol; instead, you will have to opt for countries you want your trademark safeguarded.

– No direct way is available for international trademark registration.

Trademark registration in your country is compulsory if you take the Madrid Protocol route to obtain an international trademark registration. You are required to register your trademark domestically; then your registration is successful; you will have to submit an international application from the local office, which will be forwarded to the world intellectual property organization (WIPO).

You can also use domestic applications for international registration objectives. The process is very long as the office of origin will have to certify the application first. Usually, the national office takes up to 18 months to accept or refuse the mark. You should go with this option as it does not require prior registration.

NOTE – the Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol are the parts of the Madrid system. Madrid agreement was first brought into place in 1891. Nonetheless, the latest Madrid Protocol was brought into place in 1989, and it is a fundamental part of the international trademarking system.

– You are done with the whole process; you can add in more countries later on.

After the international registration, you can request subsequent designation to add more countries later. It is a request in which you apply for an extension to safeguard your original registration. Although you can extend the safeguard of your trademark by adding more countries in which you intend to safeguard your trademark.

– National trademark registration will have an impact on your international trademark.

During the initial five years, your domestically registered trademark will directly impact your international registration. If anything awry happens domestically in those years, then the same can occur to your international mark as well. For instance, if, for some reason, a domestic trademark gets annulled, your international registration will also be annulled.

-Madrid system is not the sole system; it is the union of the member countries’ systems.

While applying for it, do not make an error that only one office will check your application. Every member country would check your application under their own trademarking systems. That’s why with an international trademark, you will have to deal with many trademark offices worldwide.

– International registration stays as long as the domestic registration is intact.

As the domestic registration stays up to 10 years from the date of registration, international registration lasts for the same time. Like national registration, you can renew the international registration once the first period is over.

In conclusion.

International trademark registration can be simple while being complex. While you can obtain safeguards in multiple countries, you will have to opt for the countries. The amount of scrutiny will be high, but it is worth bearing. 

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Are You Thinking About Starting a Media Company? Consider The Factors!

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The idea of launching your on media business with a radio station as the flagship project holds a lot of appeal. Before you get too deep into the planning, it pays to look closely at a few foundational factors. Since starting a media company is a significant investment, you want to make sure everything is put in place to increase the odds of success. Consider these four tasks and let the outcomes be your guide.

Conduct a Thorough Assessment of Your Skills and Background

On the surface, you seem to be a prime candidate for launching this type of business venture. Instead of generalities, consider specifically what you possess in the way of skills and your background that are ideally suited for this kind of project.

If you have partners who will be actively engaged in the operation, take a close look at what they bring to the table as well. It’s not just the management skills that you need to consider. It’s also about advertising savvy, public relations, and client service and support that you want to think about. Even experience overseeing the work of employees may be something that needs to be considered at this stage.

Learn About Federal State and Local Regulations That Would Apply

You know there are laws and regulations related to operating any type of media company. How much do you know about the combination of federal, state, and local laws that apply to your particular type of operation? If you can’t answer that question without any reservations, it’s time to educate yourself.

Spend time delving into exactly what will be required in order to operate within the confines set by those laws. You also want to know how to stay on top of any changes to the laws that could impact your business. Once you’ve tapped into those sources and know how to make good use of the information, you’re one step closer to launching the business.

Consider How You Would Fund the Operation Until It Becomes Profitable

Part of starting a media company is knowing how to keep it financially stable as you build a clientele and the operation moves toward profitability. That will take time. In the interim, you need to make sure there are enough resources on hand to cover all the bills.

This may be cash you’ve set aside for this purpose. It may also be commitments made by angel investors to fund the operation until it begins to realize a steady stream of net profit. Whatever your plans for funding, make sure they’re sufficient to keep the business going until it can stand on its own.

Identify Your Ultimate Goal for the Media Company

What do you see as the ultimate reason for establishing the business? Do you plan on creating something that will grow and eventually be bought by a larger entity? Maybe the idea is to own a business that provides financial security for the remainder of your working life. Either of these goals are good enough to start your own media company.

Knowing the ultimate goal makes it easier to set a series of lesser goals that consistently move the operation forward. That will be important in terms of keeping the business focused and always moving in the right direction. Remember that success rarely happens overnight. It will mean long hours and hard work along with a significant infusion of cash. If you’re prepared with the right resources and skills, the odds of establishing a successful media company are much higher.

Also Read: Why your business needs a website?

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5 Aspects of Technical SEO You Should Know

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If you are into an online business, you must be well aware of the importance of Search Engine Optimization. You might be practising all the methods to improve your ranking. But to get that number 1 position in search engines, you must be well versed in technical SEO. To start with let us first understand what the term Technical SEO actually means?

What is a technical SEO?

As the name itself suggests, technical SEO emphasizes improving the technicalities of your website. It improves website speed and it’s UI/ UX so that it becomes easier to crawl by search engines. It is a part of on-page SEO and focuses on enhancing your website’s ranking by working on the technical aspects.

Why Technical SEO is important?

Search Engines have a simple rule of presenting the best results for queries. This is done by evaluating the web pages on multiple factors like load speed, user experience and content. Therefore to make your website easier to crawl and understand, you need to improve the technical aspects. This will lead to higher rankings and better results.

Let us now have a look at the aspects of technically optimized website that you should know.

#1. Your website is easier to crawl

With technical SEO your website becomes more easier to crawl by search engines. The major aspect of technical SEO is that is builds a great internal linking structure. Robots will discover these links to understand your website’s content and show it in search results. 

SEO services also provide you with the power to guide robots with the path. If there is any part of your content that you do not want to show, you can easily block robots from crawling it.

All this can be easily done by using robot.txt file on your website. This file has all the powers and must be handled with care. With the help of this file, you can grant permissions to the search engines and tell them what to show and what not to show in the search results. The only thing that should be taken care of while working with robot.txt file is to take care of the code. Blocking any part of code may prevent search engines from crawling and finding your website.

#2. No Duplicate Content

When it comes to following an effective SEO strategy, duplicate content is a big no. If your website shows the same content on multiple pages search engines might rank them at the lowest. Duplicate content creates confusion and results in low page rankings.

This issue is a real one and you might face it without even knowing it. Due to some technical reasons, many of your website’s URL will show the same content. Search engines, after seeing this duplicity, might not rank any of your pages higher.

A technical solution to address this issue is to use the canonical link. With the help of this link, you can tell search engines which one of them is the original and has to be ranked by search engines. By doing so, you can prevent duplicate content issues and let search engines crawl them thoroughly.

#3. Website Security

With the increasing cyber crimes, users these days prefer to visit secure websites. Technical SEO makes your website cyber secure and guarantees user’s privacy. 

When you open any link, you might see HTTPs written in the beginning. This additional ‘s’ stands for security. Implementing HTTPs is one of the most important things these days.

HTTPs provides security that your data and information is secure between the browser and the website. To implement HTTPs you will need to have an SSL certification. If your website is marked secure, search engines will rank them higher when compared to the unsafe ones.

#4.Lower Load Time

This is another important aspect of Technical SEO. People these days want fast loading speed and do not wait if your website is slow. According to a recent study, 53% of the visitors leave the web page if it doesn’t open within three seconds.

So, if you do not want to miss all that traffic, it is necessary to optimize the speed of your website. Search Engines always choose pages with lower load time. The latest trends also have Page Experience as one of the ranking factors of your website. So, if you want to improve page ranking, you must focus on making your website fast enough.

#5. No Dead Links

Imagine that you are desperately waiting for a page to open and suddenly it shows a 404 error page. Annoyed right. These error pages or dead links are the most frustrating thing and result in a declined user experience. You can track the dead links in real-time using AI sheets by LetMePost company.

These error pages are not even liked by search engines and they keep these pages at the lowest. Luckily, technical SEO provides you with the tools that can deal with these dead links on your website. Also, if you remove or delete any page from a website, make sure you redirect the URL of the page with the new one.

So these are the aspects of technical SEO in a nutshell. If you are struggling to rank your website higher, you must focus on all these aspects of technical SEO.

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