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New Instagram Algorithm: what is important to remember?

At the beginning of 2021, Instagram modified its algorithm again. Should we change the way we use this network? The Headerpop digital team provides you the necessary elements to continue to perform and stand out on the platform in 2021.

The evolution of Instagram

Instagram currently represents more than one billion active users per month. Since its creation in 2010, the social network has come a long way to achieve such a success, both with individuals and professionals. In order to remain attractive, the platform has constantly renewed and innovated to offer new features to its users: Stories, Lives, the launch of carousels, IGTVs, Reels or guides.

Instagram – @amoureuxdumonde

The appearance of these new formats and features has led the social network to introduce a complex algorithm which evolves according to the new tools and user behaviors on the platform.

What is the purpose of the Instagram algorithm?

Since 2016, Instagram algorithm has prioritized the content that is most likely to capture the user’s attention in order to keep him on the platform as long as possible. In other words, the algorithm determines which publications are the most relevant for the user and displays them in its news feed and in the Explore Page.

To stand out, it is important to understand how this algorithm works. This will enable you to maximize your visibility and your engagement rate.

Instagram – @enroutelesaventurieres

What are the right reflexes to adopt?

So the Instagram algorithm decides which content appears and in which rank in the user news feed, his stories and in the Explore page. To not falling through the cracks, many criteria have to be taken into account, and this, for any content format.

Just like the previous algorithms, the 2021 algorithm, which has been in use for a few weeks now, focuses on the following 6 factors:

  • Interest – Instagram determines the content offered to a user according to his past behavior (accounts and types of posts consulted, liked, commented, etc.);
  • Relationship – new content from people with whom a user regularly interacts through likes, comments or shares appears in the first results of his news feed or stories;
  • Timeliness – the most recent content and considered as relevant to the user is highlighted by the Instagram algorithm;
  • Frequency – the more frequently a user logs into Instagram, the more chronological his news feed will be. The less he connects, the more content will be targeted according to his interests and habits;
  • Following – the higher number of subscriptions the user has, the more contents will be selected to show only those which are more interesting for the user;
  • Usage – depending on the time spent on the application, the contents will be more or less diversified.
Instagram – @elledecoration_be

But the algorithm is capricious… Another criteria is added to the list explained above: engagement. We explain everything in the rest of this article!

The importance of engagement for the new Instagram algorithm

Engagement has always been important on Instagram, which is often considered as THE platform for engagement.

But in reality, what is engagement? It demonstrates the user’s real involvement with a brand, a destination or an influencer through his ability to interact with their contents. Engagement can be seen in likes, comments, number of responses to the stories, direct messages, shares and much more!

With the new algorithm, interactions on the platform remain essentials. But some of them do not have the same impact as before. This is the new innovation of the latest algorithm. Indeed, the Instagram algorithm changes the weight of some interactions. Likes, once the kings of the social network, represent today the interaction with the least impact on Instagram. It is now the saves and the shares that are the masters of the platform.

Instagram – @brunomaltor

Advertising for a perfect targeting

For some time now, advertising has been overwhelming Instagram, both in the stories and in the news feed. But, as you’ve probably noticed, they don’t appear by chance. A craving for sushi? For a new trendy outfit? For a trip to the Philippines? Once again, here’s the work of the Instagram algorithm. After consulting specific content on the web or on social networks, the algorithm will know which ad is most likely to interest a user and will broadcast it to him.


The three things to remember about what’s new in Instagram in 2021

  • Today, the priority is on saving and sharing, new references on Instagram. The likes are done! To capture and hold attention, innovation and originality are at the centre of the strategies. Humorous or artistic contents will enable you to stand out in the ultra-competitive environment of the social network.
  • According to the Headerpop digital team, this new algorithm challenges Instagram’s codes and encourages us to be ingenious. In the tourism and lifestyle sectors, adapting and taking into account this new algorithm can be a real way to stand out from the crowd!
  • In 2021, it is also important to know how to play with advertising, which can help you to increase your visibility. Headerpop can guide you in the realisation of advertising campaigns on Instagram. Do not hesitate to contact our team for more information!


Headerpop observes the new uses from here and elsewhere to propose a trendy, spontaneous and engaging lifestyle communication.

The idea? Define a brand according to its character and enhance its universe with the details that make the difference and inspire the public.
Values, originality, history, community, style, we build together the unique personality of your brand.

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