Mastering Instagram’s Algorithm in 2021 

How to Out-Smart the Bots 

Instagram’s algorithm was designed for the users; showing a personalized feed to each user based on a variety of factors. These key factors determine whether or not your business feed post will be shown on their feed. Visibility comprises 6 key factors; interest, timeliness, relationship, frequency, following, and usage. 

6 Key Factors that Influence Instagram’s Algorithm for Feed Posts:


Instagram's Algorithm: 6 Key Factors of Visibility



Interest is a key factor focused on the user. Instagram’s algorithm generates each user’s feed based on their history of likes and engagement. Based on their subject matter interests, the user will likely see an account that posts their interests. The algorithm assumes you are drawn to this topic. 

For example, if you like reading motivational quotes and engage with them frequently on Instagram you will likely see accounts that post that content. The algorithm sorts out the content from people you follow but don’t engage with as often.


Timeliness takes into account both the user and the page posting content.

Instagram reorders the users feed between their last and current visit. If you spend more time on Instagram for an extended period of time then you are more likely to dig deeper into Instagram’s catalog with recommendations of posts you may like. 

Instagram does care when you post and the engagement in analytics will reflect that. You can find the best time to post by taking a look at the ‘insights’ on your Instagram business profile and seeing when the largest volume of your followers are active on social media. 

A good time-frame without checking your ‘insights’ would be before 9 am, when most people are working,  around lunchtime (11am – Noon), or later in the afternoon when many folks are losing their momentum for the day and taking a break 2-3pm. 


The algorithm prioritizes whom you are in close contact with, on Instagram. The algorithm will show you your friends and families’ content before content that the user does not have a relationship with because Instagram knows that you are likely to engage with that post vs. a non-related post. . 

It’s important to develop relationships with your following by direct messaging them and interacting with their content as well. The high number of interaction and reach on Instagram content will be recognized, and emphasized at the head of the followers feed.


The degree of content that you engage in, and staying active on instagram is crucial for driving engagement and staying at the top of your followers’ feeds. However, the frequency of how often an account is posting is also important. You must have consistent content to post that is engaging AND original. A good rule of thumb for growing a business instagram page is to post on average 3-4 posts per week, along with daily interactive stories. 


What is your following to follower ratio? Do you have a lot of ghost followers? 

The more accounts you are following, the less likely you are to see the content you actually want to see! While you’re thinking about how to decrease your following, think about decreasing who your followers are. Inactive followers aren’t good for anybody and could actually be hurting your algorithm ranking. 


For the user, Instagram looks at how long you spend on their platform each time you log-on and adjusts your feed accordingly. If you are more likely to spend frequent but small bursts of time on Instagram then you will see content that you are most interested in first. This is due to the algorithm expecting the user to only be on for a quick session. 



Focusing on these 6 key factors will ensure that you are reaching a large audience and utilizing your following to its fullest potential.  Visibility on Instagram can be mastered by studying the algorithm and learning how to out-smart the bots!


Feeling stuck with your business Instagram account? Cannabrand can help! Click here to set up a consultation with the masterminds of our company.