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How to Hack the Instagram Reels Algorithm – According to Instagram!

Knowing how to hack the Instagram Reels algorithm is a huge advantage for anyone looking to grow on Instagram right now.

Why? Reels are one of the hottest growth hacks on the app — and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.

Discover everything you need to know in this blog post:

How Does the Instagram Reels Algorithm Work?

Instagram’s Reels Algorithm has been a bit of a mystery, especially when it comes to what’s shown as a suggested post, or in the Reels Explore tab. 

But in a recent post, Instagram shared that the algorithm will depriorititize content that is visibly recycled from other apps (such as TikTok), as well as low-quality video content.

In particular, Instagram said it will make content with visible watermarks or logos from other apps less discoverable in places like the Reels tab.

Essentially, this update means that recycled or blurry content will be harder for audiences to discover — and will therefore receive less views.

This is a direct move by Instagram to prevent creators from cross-promoting TikTok videos on Instagram — a move that isn’t surprising when you consider how closely the two apps are competing for the same audience.

Instagram also confirmed that it’s prioritizing “entertaining, funny, and interesting content” in recommended Reels suggestions.

Ready to kickstart your Instagram Reels strategy? Learn how to create your very first Instagram Reel in this step-by-step video:

How to Hack the Instagram Reels Algorithm

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
  • 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

By following these Instagram Reels tips directly from Instagram, you’ll stand a better chance of hacking the algorithm, reaching new audiences, and increasing your follower count.

Ready to jump in and create your first Instagram Reel? Here are our top 5 resources on the Later blog to help you get started:

  1. How to Create + Upload Your First Instagram Reels in 3 Easy Steps
  2. The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Reels
  3. 15 Instagram Reels Ideas to Post Today
  4. Instagram Reels Shopping: Everything You Need to Know
  5. How Brands Are (Already!) Going Viral With Instagram Reels

Like to stay on top of all the latest trends and feature releases? Subscribe to Later’s email newsletter for social media news, tips, and more!


Written By

Jillian Warren

Jillian is Later's Editor. A go-to expert in social media strategy and content marketing, she has worked in both London and New York. Next up? Lisbon and Paris! You can reach out to her on Instagram here: @jillwrren.

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