Instagram Algorithm Factors – How to be at the top of Popular Posts

Malte

Maybe you've been using Instagram for a long time, or maybe you've only been using it recently....

In any case, you'll learn you can do to rank among the top popular posts!


You'll be surprised at the end of this article and probably work with Instagram differently in the future! Smarter than before!


It is important to create facts! 
Similar to Google, you should assume that false information will be spread. Instagram may want to avoid manipulating their algorithm.


True SEO experts know:: "You have to get your own picture."

I publish all data here, so that you can understand how it came to the following results.


Have fun reading!


Malte Böhm - ​SEO Consultant

What would you like to read


Who Am I And Why Do I Make This Instagram Study

My name is Malte Böhm and I am an expert in search engine optimization.
So far my work has been limited to Google, Bing and Yahoo! But since there are more and more customers who want a social media optimization, I would like to create some facts with the beginning of this work.

This work with Instagram is pioneering work
When I was collecting the data, I had assumptions that I had to give up after seeing the facts! My knowledge, which I had until now, came from sources which did not give any information how they came to their rankings of the most important factors (e.g. onlinemarketing.de or also t3n). Due to the popularity of these sources, I did not question that. In the further research I noticed, however, that there is no trustworthy information about the Instagram algorithm - only constant claims without evidence. Each copies the fakes of the others - so I hope that these posts will also be copied and real facts will be in circulation.


Calling it a fact is not the same as creating facts.
Just like in SEO, there are methods with which you can start to understand an algorithm.

The most appropriate method for Instagram is to correlate individual factors
The factors that correlate most closely with the hashtag ranking will be made clear in this article.

I hope to be able to clear up with the beginning of this work with some myths of so-called Instagram and/or Social Media experts.
You can help me by sharing this post!

About the method

​Probably correlation is something new for most readers. Therefore you should read through how it works.

What is correlation and why do I start with it?

​It is very likely that the algorithm or algorithms will consider several factors simultaneously. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to write about the interplay of factors in this article. At first it is only about the identification of factors.

We use statistical correlation to identify Instagram ranking factors by selecting individual factors and measuring their relationship to a hash tag in the ranking. The account data is also correlated, as it may also be a factor.

There are two kinds of results:

  1. The strong negative correlation shows us factors that we particularly want to optimize - the more negative the value, the stronger the factor to be optimized.
  2. ​The positive correlation, on the other hand, shows us what is detrimental to the ranking - and these factors should also be known in order to avoid them.

Which hashtags did I analyze?

​I chose several Hashtags in different sizes, because I hoped for more coincidental knowledge from it. I have also made sure that hashtags are among them where you expect commitment. That's why there are hashtags that contain "Quotes", "Workout" and "Motivations".

Especially in larger hashtags, according to some Instagram gurus, smaller channels don't stand a chance. There are some other assumptions related to the size of a channel and the possibilities for good hashtag rankings. As well as the so-called Engagement Ratio. This is usually available for the evaluation of a channel. Nevertheless, they also consider some to be a factor.

That's why I analyzed five different hashtags from 50,000,000 posts to 280,000 posts and compared their results with each other. For each hashtag I analyzed the top 100.

The selected Hashtags

  • #fitnessmotivation - 50.196.602 Posts
  • #fitnessgirl - 14.821.457 Posts
  • #fitnessmom - 1.021.752
  • #fitnessquotes - 624.532 Posts
  • #xfit - 286.900 Posts

What factors have I measured for each post?

On the following picture you can see all areas in a post in which I have measured different factors. You can see underneath the picture exactly which factors are involved.

Instagram Measurements


Drei Bereiche mit verschiedenen messbaren Faktoren

Content Type:

  • Video
  • Video Length
  • Invocations
  • Picture
  • Album
  • How many pictures

Description:

  • Description Length (characters used)
  • Location available
  • Emojis used in description
  • Persons tagged (@username)
    • How many tagged
  • Hashtags used
    • Hashtag quantity
    • Which Hashtags
      Hashtag Position in Hashtags

Engagement:

  • Hashtags set in first comment
  • Amount of comments
  • Quantity of Likes
  • Commitment Ratio
  • Date
  • Time
  • Persons tagged in the comments

In addition to each mail measured account data

Instagram Account data

Three areas from which you can extract data

To get as complete a picture as possible, you have to understand what kind of account is behind the post. Therefore I have collected the following data for each account behind a post.

Account:

  • Amount of contributions
  • Subscribers
  • Subscribed

Description (Biographie):

  • Email included
  • Website or links included
  • Emojis available

Posts:

  • Posts per day (average quantity of the last 100 posts)

Which Instagram Hashtag factors make your Post become popular?

The following factors are not ordered by importance. However, at number 1 you will still find the most important factor of all.
I have checked all factors in five different #Hashtag sizes and have written the most important "Findings" in the Conclusion Tab. If you are interested in the different results in the samples, you can click through the tabs.

I differentiate in the headings whether it is a factor measured in the posts or in the account.

16. Are subscribed accounts a factor??

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No advantage or disadvantage: Anything has a similar or the same chance

15. Daily activity of an account

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • Usually no advantage or disadvantage: Usually about 2 posts per day are posted.

14. Is an email in profile a factor?

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • Absolutely no factor

13. Is a website in profile a factor??

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • Probably no advantage or disadvantage

12. Hashtags in the first comment?

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No advantage or disadvantage: it was a slight advantage in 3 out of 5 samples

11. Hashtag positions important?

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit
hashtag position

Findings:

  • No advantage or disadvantage

10. Is a post location a factor??

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit
Location ranking factor

Findings:

  • No advantage or disadvantage: Since you can also be found via the location, it makes sense to add a location to every post.

09. Photos - a ranking factor?

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No advantage or disadvantage

08. Album as ranking factor 

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • Strong correlation in 1 out of 5 samples

07. Videos better than photos and albums?

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No ranking factor in 5 samples

06. Description length

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No advantage or disadvantage: Nevertheless, most popular posts have between 250 and 500 characters. It is probably advisable to stay with these values.

05. Number of comments

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No visible factor

04. Menge an Hashtags in der Beschreibung

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No indication of a factor
  • On average, 21 hashtags were the most successful

03. Likes - Also buying doesn't make sense

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No reference to a ranking factor

02. Engagement Ratio - Myth lifted

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • In 1 of 5 samples a possible factor

01. Time of post

  • Fazit
  • #fitnessmotivation
  • #fitnessgirl
  • #fitnessmom
  • #fitnessquotes
  • #xfit

Findings:

  • No factor: Nevertheless you should post your content when it is most visible!

Summary and opinion on the results

"As we can see, we see nothing!"

There are no strongly correlating factors that can be measured from the outside!
As in an exclusion procedure, we can now assume that factors such as the duration of the viewing actually play a role, or the quality of the content! Nevertheless, there are still some great findings!

The rankings of the factors of so-called "experts" should be rearranged. No factor is as important as the timing of the post and your content. 

The most important Findings

  • New accounts have the same chance as old accounts
    New or old plays no role when it comes to hashtag rankings. The correlations have shown this uniformly and without exception.
  • Frequent posting does not make your posts more popular
    There's no indication you should post much or little.
  • The position of the hashtag in the hashtags is irrelevant.
    It has been shown uniformly that it doesn't matter at all, whether the hashtag is in first or last place.
  • Hashtags in description or comment?
    The correlations show that it doesn't matter. You should do it the way you think is best for the user.
  • Use location in the post!
    I recommend to give your Post a location! It shows no ranking advantage, but you can still be found via the location.
  • Does relevance play a major role?
    No - There is no indication in the correlations that Instagram takes relevance into account.
    The externally measurable engagement has not given a clear indication of this.
  • Engagement Ratio - Not a good KPI here either
    It did not matter whether the ratio was high or low.
  • Description length
    The length of the description does not matter. Nevertheless, most posts had a length of 250 to 500 characters.
  • Prefer videos to other content?
    No, in one case it was even an album that correlated. Instagram content is not made for eternity. A picture is made much faster and usually has the same effect.

​The control of possible factors has more or less shown that it is the things that cannot be measured from the outside that determine success or failure.

The next time I will tell you about the best time for a Post.
Write your hashtag in the comments so we can control it!

Note: If you have content that users look at and interact with, and is posted at the right time, then you have the best chance of getting a top ranking.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE RESULTS?

  • Malte says:

    What do you think?

  • >