The Impact of Instagram Algorithm on Marketing

  • This month, Instagram algorithm has changed, so let's review what we can work on to make the most of it.

  • Instagram is one of the key networks in the online marketing strategy of many eCommerce businesses. That is the reason why it is mportant to stay up-to-date with the latest developments around it.

    We are talking about features that have been progressively incorporated (stories, reels) and, as in this case, changes in their algorithms. These may seem less appealing at first glance, but they are crucial because they determine the reach of our posts.

    Let's get into the details, but above all, let's discover what we can do to improve our positioning on Instagram as an eCommerce business.
  • What does Instagram algorithm do?

  • Like Google and other online platforms, Instagram uses an algorithm specifically designed to show personalized content to each user based on a series of variables and signals.

    This algorithm works somewhat differently within different parts of the network. Depending on the section, it uses various signals to determine the optimal content.
  • Feed Algorithm

  • When we access the feed or timeline, we see a set of posts from the accounts we follow, combined with others that the system determines are relevant to us.

    The signals it uses to establish this ranking are related to:

    • Your interests: what kind of content you have viewed, liked, commented on, saved, etc.
    • Recency: this refers to the content being recent, not necessarily newsworthy.
    • Relationship with other accounts: it analyzes your interaction with other accounts to understand what types of content are relevant to you.
  • Stories Algorithm

  • Although in this case, Instagram only shows content from accounts we follow, the algorithm works similarly to those of other platforms. It uses different variables to determine which stories appear and in what order.

    • Engagement with a profile's stories: if you have previously viewed stories from an account, you are more likely to see more of their stories in the immediate future.
    • Proximity to other profiles: when we react or comment on third-party stories, the algorithm understands that it is relevant to us, so it will show us more of their content in the future.
  • Reels Algorithm

  • Reels, which some accuse of being a TikTok clone, are increasingly popular among Instagram users. Here, users look for a lot of content and recent content.

    So these are the signals Instagram uses:

    • Engagement with content: not only the number of views a video has but also the total watch percentage and the number of times it has been rewatched.
    • Popularity: this is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, but that is how it works; the more popular a reel is, the more the algorithm will expand the audience it shows it to.
    • Trend-setting ability: It's not just about going viral with a video but about creating a trend that other content creators want to replicate. This is very clear on TikTok, where dances and trends are repeated endlessly.
  • Explore Tab Algorithm

  • And if we talk about trends and novelties, the Explore tab is where users go to discover content and creators outside of those they usually follow.

    Here, two variables take precedence:

    • Popularity: the number of interactions a video has been able to generate.
    • Relevance based on previously shown interests.
  • What has changed in the Instagram algorithm?

  • Actually, it still uses the same ranking factors, only it has started to weight them differently, and above all, there are certain types of content that it is beginning to show less.

    Positive signals, as we have mentioned, relate to the ability to generate interaction, the time spent viewing each video, the frequency of posting (it values consistency and high frequency), and the originality of the content (this is fundamental).

    Therefore, the ideal content in the eyes of the algorithm must meet these variables.

    The main novelty is that the size of your audience or the number of followers you have will no longer matter as much, so any account can go viral if their content deserves it.

    In this sense, it once again "draws inspiration" from how TikTok works, one of its best features being the ability to achieve significant reach with small accounts.

    On paper, this is a very interesting move because, after many years of seeing the natural reach of posts decline, the new algorithm could make Instagram organically interesting again for many brands.
  • Tips for Growing on Instagram with the New Algorithm

  • Let's be specific with a quick list of tips that can be very useful to get the most out of the new Instagram algorithm:

    • Reels to increase reach: Instagram has long favored video, but in 2024, vertical videos are its favorites, rewarding them with more views.
    • Short reels are better than long ones: it is proven that videos under 90 seconds are better consumed and therefore influence the overall performance of the account.
    • Fine-tune your posting times: post stories when your followers are active and reels when most users are online.
    • Carousels and photos: do not stop posting photos; a portion of the audience is still very interested in that format. In any case, I recommend posting carousels with multiple images; their engagement is much higher.
    • Adapt your content to each section of the platform to strategically enhance its visibility.
  • What I should not do on Instagram if I want to grow

  • Now that we understand how the content should be, it is almost equally important to know what does not work and even what practices or types of content can penalize your account's performance.

    • Posting non-original content.
    • Uploading low-quality videos: very compressed, blurry, with poor sound...
    • Videos and photos with watermarks: Instagram does not like them at all.
    • Avoid clickbait: your content must be coherent in its message from start to finish and deliver what it promises from the beginning.
    • Sensitive topics, such as those related to health: is this type of content allowed? Yes, but it will not be promoted by the new algorithm.
  • Who can we look up to?

  • There are many brands doing great on Instagram, and we could recommend hundreds of eCommerce accounts. Here are some examples to inspire you:
  • Coconut Bowls

  • @Coconutbowls is a company that sells kitchenware made from coconuts. It is sustainable, ethical, and handcrafted.

    Why is it going well for them? They have embraced reels, in short formats, technically and artistically polished, and provide an extra for their community by including a healthy recipe in each post that can be enjoyed in one of their bowls.

    Of course, all the content is original and created specifically for their channel.
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond

  • The Instagram profile of the online store @bedbathandbeyond, although it already has a significant number of followers, has everything needed to rise rapidly thanks to this algorithm change.

    Their content is fresh, well-crafted, and often manages to make you smile. Their "trick" is knowing their audience very well, so all their videos and photos are thoughtfully planned.

    Pay special attention to the editing of their videos; they have many stimuli, transitions, effects... the narrative is fast-paced to keep the user's attention.

    This is not only a current trend but will continue to grow because social media users need an extra incentive to watch videos fully and not skip to the next one.
  • Flamingueo

  • Since we are talking about content focused on its audience, we cannot miss the opportunity to recommend the Instagram account @flamingueo.

    Products for such a young audience, like their decor items and accessories, require an Instagram strategy that guarantees high interaction.

    Especially in stories, where they hold many contests to ensure engagement. Very recommendable to keep them on your radar.
  • Are you already noticing the impact of the Instagram algorithm on your eCommerce marketing? I hope I have helped you improve your brand's presence!

Miguel Nicolás

Miguel Nicolás O'Shea is a life-long copywriter (more than 15 years working in agencies) and a specialist in Search Marketing (SEO and PPC). From now on, he will contribute with his online marketing experience to Oleoshop, publishing regularly.

search posts

Last posts

This website stores data as cookies to enable the necessary functionality of the site, including analytics and personalization. You can change your settings at any time or accept the default settings.

cookies policy


Necessary cookies help make a web page usable by activating basic functions such as page navigation and access to secure areas of the web page. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.


Personalization cookies allow the website to remember information that changes the way the page behaves or the way it looks, such as your preferred language or the region in which you are located.


Statistical cookies help web page owners understand how visitors interact with web pages by collecting and providing information anonymously.


Marketing cookies are used to track visitors on web pages. The intention is to show ads relevant and attractive to the individual user, and therefore more valuable to publishers and third-party advertisers.