Knowing how to “hack” the Instagram Reels algorithm is a huge advantage for anyone looking to grow on Instagram.
Why? Because the numbers don’t lie.
At Later, we’ve seen a 500%+ increase in our engagement rate since embracing Reels as part of our Instagram strategy.
And creator Olivia Noceda told us she’s gained over 60K followers in the past six months after pivoting to a Reels-only strategy.
So, how does the Instagram Reels algorithm work and how can you “hack” it to your benefit?
We’re sharing everything we know, below.
How Does the Instagram Reels Algorithm Work?
Much like Home feed posts, the Instagram Reels algorithm prioritizes videos based on what it believes a viewer will be most likely to interact with.
According to Instagram, the most important signals are:
Who: Whose posts are you interacting with? If you frequently like or comment on someone's content, you're more likely to see their posts in your feed.
What: What type of content do you engage with? For example, if you love beauty content, the algorithm will continue serving that type of content to you.
When: As digital creator Laurise McMillian explains, "This focuses on when a post has been posted to decide if it's relevant to you." It also takes into consideration how often you scroll on the app — so it will pick and choose what to prioritize.
Instagram also shared that the Reels algorithm will deprioritize content that is visibly recycled from other apps or is low-quality.
In other words: original content is the focus.
This is a move by Instagram to prevent creators from directly cross-promoting TikTok videos with visible watermarks.
It isn't surprising when you consider how the two apps are competing for the same audience.
In a nutshell? If your videos are entertaining, funny, interesting, and high res, the Instagram Reels algorithm is more likely to suggest it.
How to Hack the Instagram Reels Algorithm in 2022
Now we know what the Reels algorithm prefers, we can use this insight to update our content strategy and gain an advantage.
According to Instagram, brands and creators should post Reels that:
Are entertaining and fun (i.e. delights people, grabs their attention, makes them laugh, or has a fun surprise or twist)
Are inspiring (i.e. starts a trend that others can easily participate in)
Use creative tools like text, filter, or camera effects
Use vertical video (9:16 makes sure your content is immersive)
Use music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio you create or find on Reels
Are experimental! Try something new, be yourself, and see what works for you
On the flipside, Instagram advises that brands and creators should not post Reels that:
Are blurry due to low-resolution
Are visibly recycled from other apps (i.e, contains logos or watermarks)
Are uploaded with a border around them
Have the majority of the image covered by text
Do not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines
P. S. If you want to keep up with trending audio, check out Later’s weekly round-up of Reels trends to jump on!
By following these Instagram Reels tips, you’ll stand a better chance at “hacking” the algorithm, reaching new audiences, and increasing your follower count.
Ready to level up your Instagram Reels strategy? Here are our top five resources on the Later blog to help you get started: