You can’t work with what you don’t know. So we love to unravel a mystery from time to time. That’s what we did for the Instagram reels algorithm. Do you sometimes wonder why those 15-second videos suddenly get thousands of views out of nowhere? How your reels end up on the explore page? And how Instagram decides which reels you get to see? We are convinced that it is a huge advantage to know how to play along with the reels algorithm. And that’s exactly why we’re sharing how to hack that algorithm.

If you’re active on Instagram with a private, creator, or business account, you probably know that the algorithm sometimes behaves strangely. One reel gets a lot of reach, the other gets nothing. The Instagram reels algorithm has always been a bit of a mystery, but is finally being revealed by none other than Instagram itself. We summarize the most important conclusions for you. That way, you can easily adjust your content strategy and get more results from your video efforts.

How are reels chosen?

Instagram reels are intended to entertain. That’s why the reels algorithm always looks for videos that you are expected to like. This is determined, among other things, based on your previous viewing behavior.

Instagram also regularly asks for feedback: they ask viewers if they found a certain video funny or entertaining. This way, the algorithm learns and looks for what you would like even better.

The most important predictions Instagram makes are based on “signals” or behaviors that characterize you. Based on this, reels are sent your way or not. We list those signals below in order of importance.

#1 Activity

Instagram checks which videos or reels you previously watched, liked, or commented on. These three behaviors help the algorithm understand which content may be relevant to you.

#2 History and interaction

Chances are you’ll see reels from someone you’ve never heard of. However, you may have interacted with him or her before. Think of a profile visit, liking posts, viewing and/or responding to stories… When you interact with a profile, it gives Instagram an idea of how interested you might be in that person and their content.

#3 Reel information

The information about the reel, such as the content, accompanying text, audio, etc., helps Instagram understand the reel. Based on pixels, frames, and popularity, Instagram can determine what kind of reel it is and whether or not it may interest you.

#4 Profile information

Information about the person or brand that posted the reel is also used. The algorithm takes into account popularity to recognize engaging content from a wide range of people. Instagram wants to give everyone a chance to find their audience.

#5 Content

Finally, there are some recommendation guidelines. For example, it is not recommended to create reels with low resolution or a watermark. You also shouldn’t create reels that focus on political issues or were made by political figures, parties, or government officials. Apart from that, all roads are open, and you can unleash your creativity when making a reel!

Get going!

Finally, here are some additional tips and insights that can help you “hack” the algorithm and create reels that score well.

  • Create reels that are fun, as feel-good reels usually score well. So make reels that make people laugh, surprise them, hold their attention… Make sure you inspire. Think of starting your own trend that others can try, creating an original edit, sharing tips or advice…
  • Make use of the creative tools that Instagram reels offer, such as text, filters, camera effects…
  • Go vertical! The reels format is vertical, so it’s recommended to make vertical videos and fill the entire screen. So avoid videos with a border around them.
  • Take advantage of the features offered: use the Instagram music library or add your own original audio.
  • Experiment and try again. Try new things regularly, be authentic, stay yourself and discover what works best for you or your brand. Be sure to follow the latest trends and be inspired by other reels.
  • Avoid blurred videos or low-resolution images. We noticed that Instagram automatically pushes those reels less.
  • Avoid logos and watermarks.
  • Had problems with your reels in the past? That may be due to Instagram’s Community Guidelines. So be careful what content you wish to share.

By understanding the algorithm of Instagram reels better, you can create successful reels. This way, you reach a new audience with more engaged followers. And now… let’s get to work!

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