Instagram and YouTube 2023 algorithm revealed; Best ads of the week; Key content dates in June; & More marketing headlines

Welcome to this week’s Digital Discovery. Each week we cover the latest developments and everything you need to know in the world of digital marketing. This week we cover:

  • Instagram algorithm revealed
  • How Instagram ranks Feed content
  • How Instagram ranks Stories
  • How Instagram Ranks Explore
  • How Instagram Ranks Reels
  • How Instagram Ranks Search
  • YouTube algorithm: What creators need to know in 2023
  • Other marketing news to know

Plus we look at some of the best ads discovered and look ahead at key content dates coming up.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn.

Ok, let’s dive into this week’s update… 


Instagram algorithm revealed

To help combat misinformation, Instagram have released a blog to explain how it ranks content across its Feed, Stories, Explore, Reels and Search.

Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, also released a new video for the same.

Understanding Instagram’s ranking algorithm is essential to maximising your visibility and engagement on the platform.

Here’s a summary of the key points for each part of the app:

How Instagram ranks Feed content

Instagram’s feed is ranked using a complex algorithm that takes into account a variety of factors, including:

  1. Your activity: Posts you’ve liked, shared, commented on, or saved help Instagram understand what you’re interested in.
  2. Information about the post: This includes things like how many people have liked, commented, and shared the post, as well as when it was posted and where it was taken.
  3. Information about the person who posted: This includes things like how many followers the person has and how often their posts are interacted with.
  4. Your history of interacting with someone: This includes things like whether you’ve commented on each other’s posts or followed each other.

Instagram also uses a set of predictions to determine how likely you are to interact with a post in different ways. These predictions are based on your past activity and the information about the post.

Finally, Instagram tries to avoid showing too many posts from the same person in a row, or too many suggested posts back to back.

How Instagram ranks Stories

Stories are a great way to share your life with friends and followers. But how does Instagram decide which stories to show you first? Here’s a breakdown of how Instagram ranks stories:

  1. Viewing history: Instagram looks at how often you’ve viewed a story in the past. The more often you view a story, the higher it will appear in your stories tray.
  2. Engagement history: Instagram also looks at how often you’ve engaged with a story, such as liking, commenting, or sending a direct message. The more you engage with a story, the higher it will appear in your stories tray.
  3. Closeness: Instagram also takes into account your relationship with the person who posted the story. If you’re close to someone, their stories will appear higher in your stories tray.

Based on these factors, Instagram makes a series of predictions about which stories you’ll find most relevant and valuable. Stories that are predicted to be more relevant and valuable will appear higher in your stories tray.

Instagram also has Community Guidelines that apply to all of the platform. If you post something that goes against these guidelines, Instagram may take it down.

In an effort to be more transparent about ranking, Instagram recently shared its guidelines for what types of content it moves lower in Feed and Stories. This type of content includes posts that are likely to violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines, content that has been rated by third-party fact checkers, and posts that Instagram thinks you are likely to report.

How Instagram Ranks Explore

Explore allows you to discover new content from people you don’t already follow. Here’s how Instagram ranks the content you see in Explore:

  1. Popularity: Instagram looks at how many people have liked, commented, shared, and saved a post. The more popular a post is, the higher it will appear in your Explore feed.
  2. Your activity: Instagram also looks at your past activity in Explore. If you’ve liked, commented, or saved a certain type of content, Instagram will try to show you more of that content in the future.
  3. The person who posted: Instagram also takes into account the person who posted the content. If you’ve interacted with that person in the past, or if they have a lot of followers, Instagram is more likely to show you their content.

How Instagram Ranks Reels

Reels allows users to create and share short, looping videos. Like Explore, the emphasis is on helping people discover new things.

Instagram makes important predictions about how likely you are to reshare a reel, watch a reel all the way through, like it, and go to the audio page (a proxy for whether you might be inspired to make your own reel.) Instagram ranks Reels using a variety of factors, including:

  • Your activity: Instagram looks at the Reels that you have liked, saved, reshared, commented on, and engaged with in the past. This helps Instagram understand what content you are interested in.
  • The person who posted: Instagram also looks at the person who posted the Reel. If you have interacted with that person in the past, or if they have a lot of followers, Instagram is more likely to show you their Reels.
  • The content of the Reel: Instagram also looks at the content of the Reel. This includes things like the audio track, the visuals, and the overall quality of the Reel.

How Instagram Ranks Search

Instagram’s search algorithm is a complex system that takes into account a variety of factors, including the query, user activity, and popularity signals.

  1. The query is the text that a user enters into the search bar. Instagram tries to match this text to relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and places.
  2. User activity refers to the accounts that a user follows, the posts that they have viewed, and how often they have interacted with an account in the past. Instagram is more likely to show accounts and hashtags that a user follows or visits.
  3. Popularity signals refer to the number of clicks, likes, shares, and follows for accounts, hashtags, and places. Instagram is more likely to show popular accounts and hashtags.

Here are some tips from Instagram on how to improve your chances of showing up in search results:

  1. Choose an Instagram handle or profile name that is related to the content of your posts. This will make it easier for people to find you when they search for relevant terms.
  2. Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio. This will help people who are interested in those topics find your profile.
  3. Use relevant keywords and hashtags in your captions. This will help your posts show up in search results for those terms.

Tips to grow and better your Instagram channel

By understanding how Instagram’s ranking algorithm works, you can create content that is more likely to be seen by your target audience. Here are a few tips:

  • Post high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience.
  • Use a consistent theme and style for your posts. This will help your account look more professional and appealing to potential followers.
  • Post regularly. The more often you post, the more likely you are to show up in your followers’ feeds.
  • Use engaging captions and relevant hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to get your posts seen by more people. When you use relevant hashtags, your posts will show up in the search results for those hashtags.
  • Interact with other users by liking, commenting, and following them.
  • Promote your account on other social media platforms. Let your followers on other social media platforms know about your Instagram account. You can do this by sharing your Instagram posts on other platforms or by adding a link to your Instagram profile in your bio on other platforms.
  • Run contests and giveaways.
  • Use Instagram ads.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting seen on Instagram and growing your audience.

Shadowbanning and Account Statuses

Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri also recently addressed the topic of shadowbanning, which is a term used to describe the alleged practice of hiding a user’s content from other users without notifying them.

Mosseri said that Instagram does not shadowban users, and that any decrease in reach is due to other factors, such as changes to the algorithm or low-quality content.

To help users understand why their content may not be reaching as many people as it used to, Instagram has created an Account Status section. This section will show users any reasons that Instagram may have to limit their visibility on the platform.

YouTube algorithm: What creators need to know in 2023

Todd Beaupré, Director of Growth and Discovery at YouTube, discussed the YouTube algorithm and what creators need to know in 2023. Covered in the video:

  • Think audience, not algorithm
  • Think like a viewer
  • How does “satisfaction” factor in?
  • How can creators better understand “satisfaction”?
  • How does the algorithm follow creators with smaller audiences?
  • How should creators think about multi-format?
  • How do you envision Search and Discovery evolving on YouTube?


Ads of the week

Cadbury Dairy Milk – Speakerphone

Cadbury has released its latest story in the ‘There’s a Glass and a Half in Everyone’ series, a spot called ‘Speakerphone’ highlighting a father and son relationship, as the platform enters its fifth year.


RED BARON® Presents: Pizza Sharing

“You can’t share passwords anymore, but with us, you can always share pizza.”

Another brand jumps on the Netflix password restriction bandwagon


More marketing news…


Pride Month – Whole of June

01 June 2023: World Milk Day, Global Day of Parents, International Children’s Day

02 June 2023: National Fish & Chips Day

03 June 2023: World Cider Day

04 June 2023: International Corgi Day

05 June 2023: World Environment Day

07 June 2023: Download Festival (7th-11th) Begins

08 June 2023: Best Friends Day, World Oceans Day

10 June 2023: World Gin Day, UEFA Champions League Final

12 June 2023: International Falafel Day

14 June 2023: World Blood Donor Day

15 June 2023: National Beer Day (UK)/Beer Day Britain, World Tapas Day, Clean Air Day

16 June 2023: Special Olympics World Summer Games (16th to 25th) Begins

18 June 2023: Father’s Day, International Sushi Day, International Picnic Day

19 June 2023: National Picnic Week (19th-25th) Begins

20 June 2023: World Refugee Day

21 June 2023: Summer Solstice, Glastonbury Festival (21st-25th) Begins, National Selfie Day, World Music Day, International Yoga Day

22 June 2023: Windrush Day

23 June 2023: National Writing Day

24 June 2023: Armed Forces Day

27 June 2023: Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day

28 June 2023: Eid al-Adha (28th-29th) Begins

30 June 2023: World Social Media Day

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter and found it useful.

Please follow me and subscribe to my Digital Discovery newsletter. I’ll be posting each week about the digital marketing stories that matter.

See you next week.

Share this content