The Secrets to Instagram Reels: What Instagram Has Revealed About Its Reels Algorithm


Since Instagram launched its Reels feature to lure creators from TikTok, there have been constant questions about its algorithm. Instagram has finally revealed its secrets.

Since Instagram launched its Reels feature to lure creators from TikTok to its own platform, there has been no shortage of speculation on algorithmic features and priorities. Many creators are looking to Instagram Reels as a new growth opportunity, but don’t know how it works or what they should post to maximize engagement.

Instagram released a new overview of the key factors that it considers in ranking Reels, which ultimately points to maximizing the reach of each Reel. It’s straight from Instagram’s mouth- not conjecture or hypothesis, which makes this information incredibly valuable for creators.

Here’s the scoop on Instagram’s Reels algorithm

The more Reels you view - and ideally, if you view an entire Reel - the more signals Instagram has to decide what you want to see. There are also direct factors, such as likes and comments.

Instagram prioritizes engagement to get more creators interested in making it their primary platform. If you create your own Reels from a sound or clip of another creator, you will see more of that content. Creators might also want to tap into the trending audio in order to maximize their exposure.

These are the more common elements of the algorithm - users will see more content based upon their previous engagement history (including their audio history).

Instagram is trying to match what you are interested in by showing you more content that’s similar to what you’ve seen.

An AI system that determines what’s displayed in each clip. Facebook’s video identification algorithms are always being updated, so this technology will continue to evolve. This technology will likely reflect viewer interests more accurately over time. The Reels you engage with on Instagram will be identified by their visual content, and more of these Reels will be shown to you.

If you watch a lot of crafting content, snowboarding content, or roller skating content, that’s what you’ll see more of. Whatever you view will be picked up by the AI and snowball into similar content in your feed.

This AI could be very specific about your visual preferences. And again, it’s constantly learning and improving. Instagram has already limited the reach of clips that have been re-shared from TikTok, which it can pick out using watermark identification within its AI technology.

How should creators adopt these insights in their Instagram Reels?

Despite these new insights from Instagram, it’s intimidating to put them into practice. Algorithms also change over time, much to the chagrin of creators looking for consistency.

While technical details can be lengthy, the bottom line is that Reels will only resonate with content that is entertaining and encourages audience responses. It’s hard to consistently create quality, engaging content. There are no shortcuts or tricks that will make it happen. You can’t simply follow a prescriptive formula that will turn every one of your videos into viral hits.

If you want to make great Reels, Snaps, TikTok clips, or any other type of content, the best thing is to spend time with each app and find out what works. Then, it’s up to you to develop your ideas.

If you’re looking for more one-on-one guidance on transitioning to Reel content, you can read our earlier blog posts or apply for an advisory membership with us for personalized guidance.

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