Instagram is always trying to refine its features in order to better compete with TikTok.
And a big part of that is through increasing existing user engagement with content, often through a process of discovery.
While it may have started out as a way to keep up with friends and family, Instagram has morphed well beyond that point into a multifaceted platform. These growing pains have made it harder, not easier, for users to find relevant stuff from either the people they follow or otherwise. That’s probably why Meta is opting to have some transparency about the process in an effort to help users understand what they are seeing as well as refine the process for the future.
A recent blog post from the company attempts to do just that, describing a two-part process that Instagram uses to determine what, if any, new content to put in front of the eyes of the millions of users that log on daily.
The first step is to find accounts that have related content to those you follow and then, using a weighting process, sorting them out by relevancy. Instagram then selects the best content from that weighted list and serves it up in the feed alongside other posts from accounts you follow.
“The ranking system picks the best posts provided by these sources and ranks them based on factors like engagement, relevance, user interests, content quality, and freshness. In an unconnected system (like Suggested Posts), sources are derived implicitly based on a user’s activity across Instagram and are then ranked based on similar factors,” the blog post reads in part.
Meta then begins a discussion about the mechanics of how this all works on the back end which some of you might find interesting. You can read that here.
Long story short, the app looks for content related to what you already like, finds the best representations of that content, and then serves it up to you in what is likely an infinite cycle of discovery in theory. Of course, you can still just view content from people you follow if that’s your preference as well. Instagram is about options these days, after all.
Do you prefer to discover new content or exclusively stuff from people you follow? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram’s suggestion mechanisms in the comments below.
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