Instagram recently updated its resource to explain how the platform ranks content across each part of its app, including Feed, Stories, Reels and Explore. If you want to maximise your visibility and engagement on this hugely popular platform, it’s critical to understand how the ranking works. In this post, we explain everything you need to know about Instagram ranking algorithms in 2023.

What’s New in 2023 – At A Glance


This year, Instagram posted ‘Instagram Ranking Explained,’ which was an update to an earlier post from 2021. As such, the most recent changes are minimal but worth noting. These are:

  • Separate sections for ‘Stories’ and ‘Feed’.
  • A new section called ‘Personalise your Feed and Stories’ with tips.
  • A heavier emphasis on following the platform’s Recommendations and Community Guidelines.
  • Expanded discussion around Shadowbanning.

How Instagram Ranks Content in 2023


Above anything else, it’s important to create quality, engaging content that’s relevant to your target audience. Once you have great content to share, you can optimise it for Instagram by considering the factors that contribute to ranking on this platform.

Instagram Uses Multiple Algorithms


Algorithms are a combination of data and rules that determine what content users see on a platform. Instead of using just one algorithm, Instagram has multiple algorithms, processes, and classifiers to determine what content is served to users on its platform. Content is ranked differently in different parts of the app, including Search, Reels, Feed, Explore and Stories.

Instagram Feed


A user’s Instagram Feed is a combination of content from followed accounts, ads and recommended content. It includes a mix of formats such as images, videos, and carousels. According to the platform, thousands of signals are taken into account for Feed ranking, which considers the user, the creator and the post.

Instagram user signals

User signals include the following:

  • Engagement: likes, comments, saves, shares and post-interaction time.
  • Recently followed accounts.
  • User format preference.
  • Interaction history.
  • Account preferences.
  • Accounts recently liked or engaged with.
  • Recent posts shared by followed accounts.
  • Posts the user might be interested in from accounts they don’t follow.


Instagram creator signals

Creator signals include the following:

  • Number of recent interactions
  • Information about the post-creator
  • Whether the content follows the platform’s Guidelines for Content Lowered in Feed.

In addition to these factors, Instagram avoids showing people too many suggested posts and posts from the same creator in a row.

Instagram content - stories

Instagram Stories


Instagram Stories are vertical, full-screen videos and images which disappear after 24 hours. The Instagram algorithm ranks Stories based on several factors. These include:

  • A user’s viewing history relating to Stories.
  • A user’s engagement history relating to Stories.
  • Accounts followed by the user.
  • Closeness: this includes a user’s relationship with the creator of a story, e.g., friends or family.
How Instagram ranks content - explore

Instagram Explore


Explore is the section of Instagram where users can discover recommended content from accounts they do not yet follow. The ranking of content in Explore is like that of Stories and Feed and is based on the following factors:

  • Engagement levels with the post by other users.
  • The user’s engagement history.
  • The user’s Explore activity history.
  • The user’s interaction history with an account.
  • Creator information relating to interactions and other factors.
  • Does the content follow the platform’s Recommendation Guidelines?
Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels


Instagram Reels are short-form videos which can be up to 90 seconds long. The Instagram algorithm ranks reels based on the following factors:

  • The user’s interaction history with an account.
  • User engagement history relating to Reels.
  • Information relating to the Reel, including its popularity and the audio and visuals it contains.
  • Creator information relating to popularity as measures by follower numbers and engagement.

The visibility of Instagram Reels can be negatively affected if they are mostly text, low resolution, watermarked, muted, contain borders, focused on political issues or have been previously posted on the platform.

Instagram SEO Tips

If you want your content to rank well on Instagram in 2023, there are several things you can do to improve the chances of your content being served to users. This includes:

  • Create high-quality, engaging content.
  • Include relevant keywords and location in your bio.
  • Choose a profile name or handle that’s related to your content.
  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in your captions.
  • Optimise your alt text on posts.
  • Post at the times your audience is likely to be active online.
  • Optimise your captions with relevant keywords.
  • Track and analyse performance to optimise your content over time.

If you want to maximise your visibility and engagement on Instagram, it’s critical to understand how the ranking works. Follow the tips in this post to improve your ranking for Instagram content in 2023. If you’d like some help with either the direction of your social media accounts, or to have the load reduced, get in touch for a chat to see how we could help.