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How to Trick Instagram’s Algorithm for Higher Engagement (Maybe)


In mid-2016, Instagram started using an algorithm to order the photos you’re shown, which was a big change from the simple chronological feed that had been used since the beginning. If you’re not happy with the reach and engagement your photos on getting on Instagram, there’s a rumored trick you may want to try.

Here’s the rumor: Instagram’s algorithm is said to favor photos that have had Instagram’s own filters applied to them, even if the filters are applied so weakly that you can’t even tell the difference.

Illustrator Mariana Avila ‎Tweeted the trick last week after seeing influencer Courtney Quinn (@colormecourtney) share it with her 563,000+ followers:

Here are screenshots of the original post (which has since been deleted) and story by Quinn:

This trick hasn’t been verified, your mileage may vary, but people have responded to both Avila and Quinn’s Tweets reporting that the trick seems to have worked for them.

“I’ve done 2% of ‘Lark’ on my last two posts and I can see [accounts] that I haven’t seen in a long time engaging with my posts,” one follower tells Quinn.

If you want to give this trick a shot, make sure you apply an Instagram filter to your photo before posting it. But if you don’t actually want the filter to affect the look of your photo, tap the filter a second time to bring up the filter strength adjustment slider. Set this to something like 2% (according to Quinn’s suggestion):

By doing this, you’ll trick Instagram’s algorithm into thinking you’re using an official filter, even if it had no noticeable effect on the photo, and it’ll be shared to a wider audience — according to the rumor, at least…

We’ve reached out to Instagram for comment and will update this post if/when we hear back.

(via Mariana Avila via PDNPulse)

Update on 8/19/19: An Instagram spokesperson tells PetaPixel that “there is no truth to these claims,” saying:

For background on the algorithm: each time someone opens Instagram, we pull in a batch of new content and append them on top of the previous items in the feed. The batches are different sizes depending on how long it has been since the person last opened Instagram. Within each batch, posts are ordered based on factors like how recently the post was shared, the persons interactions with the author, the number of mutual relationships between viewer and author, and whether the viewer will find the post interesting. Posts that people are most likely to care about will appear higher in their feeds. Signals and interactions include likes and comments, dwell time, skipping past a post or tapping to view a profile. We don’t penalize content that is posted from creator or business accounts. We want people to see the content they care about, regardless if it’s from friends or a brand they are passionate about.