How does Instagram work and what are the benefits for your Business?

by | Sep 14, 2021 | Social

Being uncertain about anything in life makes it hard to trust. The same applies to our digital lives. How can you trust an app if you do not know the usage and benefits of it?

Many people see Instagram as a rollercoaster of visual information and just like rollercoasters; many can be intimidated by it.

Instagram started in 2010 as a personal photo-sharing app, but it has grown rapidly in population to become one of the biggest players in the digital frontier for businesses, influencers and online shopping.

One thing is for sure is, Banter is here to help you. So get strapped in, hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

How does Instagram’s “algorithm” work?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions of Instagram – Instagram doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app.

With the increase in popularity, it became impossible for the majority of users to see everything, much less, all the posts they’d like to see.

Only 6 years after the launch, people were missing 70% of all their posts in Feed including those from their immediate friends and family. Instagram therefore designed and introduced a new Feed that displayed posts categorized by what matters most to you.

The Instagram app has 3 parts:

1. Instagram Feed and Stories: Where you can share and connect with the people, brands and things you care about. At the top of your feed, you will see the best photos and videos from the brands, people and hashtags you follow in addition to suggested accounts that are relevant to your interests.

2. Instagram Explore: Where Instagram carefully selects content for you based on the posts you have liked and pages you follow.

3. Instagram Reels: Where you can create short videos lasting 3 to 15-seconds with filters and music. You can now share your reel on your feed and stories too. Instagram finds and displays interesting photos and videos that you will like.

1. How does Instagram rank your Feeds and Stories?

The ranking of Feeds and Stories are based on thousands of “signals”, which are ranked on importance. These signals help generate content for you that you will be interested in:

  • Information about the post: How many interactions and likes has this post had? When was it posted? How many seconds the video is? Was there a location attached?
  • Information about the person who posted: This tells Instagram if the person posting might be of interest to your preferences and how many people have interacted with this individual over the past weeks.
  • Your Activity: This tells Instagram what your preferences are and how many posts you have interacted with.

Your history of interacting with someone: This tells Instagram if you are interacting with a particular person such as liking, commenting and sharing each other’s posts.

For example:

  • How long do you spend on the post
  • Did you comment on the post?
  • Did you like the post?
  • Did you save the post?
  • Did you tap on name/profile picture and go to the user’s page?

2. How does Instagram rank your Explore?

This ranking is quite similar to Feed and Stories, but with a unique twist. Identifying your interest in something is achieved by predicting the likelihood of you doing something with the post, ie. Instagram predicts your likes, saves, and shares as the most important user actions in Explore.

The most important Explore “signals” are:

  • Information about the post: How popular can the post be? How many likes, comments, shares and saves is the post likely to get?
  • Your history of interacting with the person who posted: Whether someone you may have interacted with previously shared the post, however do not follow their profile yet.
  • Your Activity: What posts have you interacted with before in Explore such as likes, comments or saved?
  • Information about the person who posted: This tells Instagram if the person posting might be of interest to your preferences and how many people have interacted with this individual over the past weeks.

3. How does Instagram rank your Reels?

Instagram Reels is the latest feature designed to entertain the user. Instagram gathers information on which reel was entertaining or funny based on users actions. This helps curate what content is the most popular for users around the world.

The most important Reels “signals” are:

  • Your Activity: What reels have you interacted with such as liked commented and engaged with in order to choose the most relevant content for you.
  • Your history of interacting with the person who posted: Similar to the Explore feature, the video was shared by someone you have never heard of before, but may have interacted with.
  • Information about the reel: The content that was within in the video, background music as well as the information displayed.
  • Information about the person who posted:Popular reels shared around the world helps Instagram find the content best suited for you.

How can you as a business user or brand; influence what you see on your App?

Your actions on Instagram greatly influence what you see and don’t see.

 Interacting with the posts and profiles you enjoy help improve your experience, but you can do more directly to alter what you see.

  • Choosing your close friends: You can select your close friends out of all the people you follow, this feature was made for users to share what they desire to only people who they want to see in there feeds and stories.
  • Mute users you are not interested in seeing: You can mute a user’s account if you do not want to see their content, but do not want to unfollow them. They will not know that you have muted them.
  • Mark recommended posts as “Not Interested”: Instagram is always looking for content that they might feel you may be interested in. However, no one is perfect… you can directly click on not interested in the post and Instagram will try their best to not show similar posts in the future on your Explore and Feed page.


Instagram Direct is a private messaging component which allows you to have conversations across the social platform with any of your followers or non-followers. To find out more about Instagram direct click here.

Safety Guidelines on Instagram

Instagram want users to be able to express themselves without judgement. However, community guidelines are set in place on all features to ensure the safety of all their users. They strive to keep their users wellbeing at the core of their platform, but sometimes people can make mistakes and the user can send an appeal by following these steps.

In addition to their general community guidelines, Instagram has additional procedures for what they deem low-resolution, watermarked reels and / or political issues in Reels with their Recommendations Guidelines.

When it comes to posting misinformation, Instagram will not delete your post, but if the user is posting multiple posts that third-party fact checkers label as misinformation, Instagram will make sure that the post is harder to find.


Hopefully we have quelled your fear of Instagrams rollercoaster of visual information and you have a better understanding of how it works, its benefits; and of course how to enjoy using this ever evolving and growing social platform. But in case, you are still unsure of the vast benefits for your business, here is a quick snapshot.

10 benefits of Instagram for your business

  1. Connect with customers across multiple channels
  2. Attract engaged traffic: Build a community that comes back time and time again
  3. Boost your marketing with User Generated Content: Use photos from customers
  4. Build Customer Relationships
  5. Drive Website Traffic
  6. Reach New Audiences
  7. Make Brand Ambassadors and partner with influencers
  8. Launch Advertising Campaigns
  9. Instagram Is a Sales Booster – sell directly from the platform
  10. You can keep an eye on competitors.

Go on, throw your arms in the air, scream and enjoy the ride!

Still Unsure? Click here to let us build your brands Instagram platform or why not read our recent blog “TOP 5 VIDEO APPS FOR CREATING CONTENT” to create your brand video today.

 The learning never stops with Banter!

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