The Instagram CEO Reveals How The Algorithms Work

Here’s what you need to know

Nick Nolan
6 min readJun 1


Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

Yesterday, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri updated a 2021 article explaining Instagram Ranking.

When I hear “ranking” I usually think of Google search results, but ranking on Instagram is just as important if you want people to see your content. I’m following 608 people right now, and I only see a fraction of the content they’re all posting.

I’ve never run out of new stories, posts, or reels because I never see all of them. I only see the stuff that’s ranking.

For example, there are 150 total story circles at the top of my IG feed. When I checked Instagram this morning, I only watched 9 of them. If you weren’t ranking in one of those top 9 spots, I didn’t watch your story. It’s the same for the posts in the main feed. I might scroll through 20 of those posts before closing the app. If you’re not ranking high enough, I don’t see your post.

All that to say, ranking on Instagram is essential if you want your content to be seen by as many people as possible.

Here’s how to rank better:

There’s a different algorithm for everything

People use different parts of Instagram for different purposes.

We watch stories to see what our friends are doing, and watch reels to be entertained. Each part of the app and type of content has its own algorithm tailored to how people use it.

Ranking stories

Since people watch stories from their close friends and family, they’re based on followers. You only see stories from the accounts you’re following, along with ads. That means only the people who are following you will see your stories.

There are 3 main factors that affect where your stories show up in line.

1. Viewing history

When people click and watch your stories, your stories are more likely to rank closer to the top. And if people chose to not watch your story, you’ll move down in rankings.

2. Engagement



Nick Nolan

Freelance marketing consultant | Writing about Copywriting, SEO, and Social Media