The Hidden Instagram Algorithm: Boost Your Reels Now

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While you can most definitely post anything you want to the internet, if you are a business owner and want more users on your IG account, you need to be aware of the all-important algorithm.

This algorithm extends to the reels feature, which are short, 90-second videos that are visible to the public. One part of Instagram’s algorithm includes how many likes are on a post or video content. The best way to increase this number is by creating impressive organic, quality content as well as making the decision to purchase likes for Instagram reels

Any social media channel, including Instagram, uses an algorithm to decide what to show to other users. If you know how the algorithm works, you can more easily share videos and posts and know that others will see them.

The problem is that occasionally, Instagram will change its algorithm, so you need to constantly be aware of what it is and how it is created. Then, you can adapt to ensure your Instagram profile remains as popular as possible.

Instagram Reels in today’s social media landscape

Short form video content is everywhere on the internet. Whether it is TikTok videos or YouTube’s new YouTube Shorts, everyone wants to view video content on their smartphones.

Instagram may be owned by Meta, who also owns Facebook, but it is still a social media platform that is beloved by the younger, target audience. In fact, over 60% of Instagram’s users are between the coveted age group of 18 to 34-year-olds.

Those that fall into this age category have disposable incomes, so are more likely to purchase goods and services. They are also more likely to share their interests through social media, thus generating free advertising for businesses.

Instagram reels may be short – they are capped at 90 seconds, but that is what viewers want. Whether they are in line at a store or waiting at a coffee shop to meet a friend, younger people are more likely to whip out their phones and scroll through Instagram to fill their time.

Yes, there is still an avenue for traditional posts and articles, but if you can get your point across in a 90-second video rather than a wordy essay, you will have a much broader audience reach. Really, the way forward for any successful business is through short videos such as Instagram reels.

Reels vs Stories

A really important aspect to understand about Insta is that there is a difference between Instagram reels and Instagram stories. If you don’t have this information, you can miss out on a lot of potential to grow your Instagram page as well as your business.

While both Instagram reels and stories are videos, only reels are public. Stories, on the other hand, are only for Instagram followers. This means only the people who specifically sign up to be followers of accounts will see stories, whereas anyone who has an Instagram account can potentially see a reel.

Naturally, if you want the Instagram algorithm to take over and show your videos to potential followers, you need to create Instagram reels as these become part of the public domain.

Posting reels frequently creates more engagement with other Instagram accounts.

Understanding Instagram’s Algorithm

The Instagram algorithm is both easy to understand and complicated. Basically, the Instagram reels algorithm works so that the content you see while scrolling through Insta has been curated so that there is a high probability that you will click on it.

How does the Instagram algorithm work?

On Instagram, just like other social media platforms, you see some content you have deliberately subscribed to see and some content that is new. This new content is not produced by the Instagram algorithm but it is responsible for you seeing it.

Every time you click on a picture or stop scrolling to watch a reel, Insta takes note. Then, it will show you more content with a related theme.

For example, if you watch a reel about cats, you will be shown more content about cats. You may also see Instagram reels about dogs, as Insta wants to test out broader categories. If you watch these new dog videos, you will be shown more dog videos but if you keep scrolling, you will be shown other animal videos to sort through what your likes are.

The whole point of the Instagram algorithm is to keep you on the app. The more interested you are in the videos you watch, the more likely you will keep watching.

Feed ranking factors

In order to calculate the Instagram reels algorithm, there are many factors to consider. Remember that the goal is to generate more followers, so having reels that are interesting and engaging, will achieve this.

Instagram Likes

The most basic include what posts or videos are liked. This simple mechanism records what you like and goes from there.

At a larger level, the more overall likes that a post or video has, the more likely Instagram will share it with everyone.

If a video is liked universally, whether the users are men, women, old, or young, then Instagram will ensure that the video shows up on everyone’s feed, thus making the video become viral.

Instagram Shared Posts

Another simple but important function is if a post is shared. This takes more effort because you are curating your content and telling the people who follow and trust you that something is worth viewing.

Again, the more shares a post or video has, the more Instagram will also share that content on other people’s feeds.

Instagram comments

The third basic ranking factor is if you comment on something. This takes the most effort because you are choosing to spend your free time engaging with a post.

These comments will often show up on other people’s feeds. Again, the more comments a video or post has, the more it shows that people are interested in it, thus Instagram will want to promote it.

Past Instagram activity

Think of the algorithm as a funnel. It feeds you content and keeps track of what you click on, view, and comment. Then, it takes all this information and continues to narrow it down.

Instead of merely presenting you with pet videos, which is too broad of a category, the Instagram algorithm will try out different types of pet videos until it discovers that you prefer watching 20-second videos of kittens sleeping in awkward positions. Then, it will show more of these videos in your feed.

Instagram continually collects data. It will remember that a few years ago you went through a phase where you loved hockey. Even if you no longer love hockey as much, you might see the odd hockey reel pop up in your feed.

Length of interaction

The maximum length of an Instagram reel is 90 seconds. This doesn’t seem like a lot but there are many viewers who think 90 seconds is far too long, especially if they aren’t hooked in the first few seconds.

The algorithm knows how long you watch a video. If you start the video but stop and continue scrolling after just three seconds, it knows you didn’t care for the video and thus don’t want to watch similar content.

Engagement metrics

Basically, user engagement metrics refer to how much you interact with content. This includes not only if you like or share a video but also if you comment on it.

Many posts, both written and video, will ask a question. This will then inspire viewers to write a comment, thus boosting the engagement metrics.

The more Instagram engagement there is on a post, the more Instagram’s algorithm will want to promote it.

Even simply watching the entire video counts as engagement. If somebody sees an reel on their feed but does not stop to watch it, then it won’t count as any engagement.

Strategies to Boost Instagram Reels

Now that we know more about engaging content, the Instagram algorithm, and how it works, it’s time to take that knowledge and apply it to creating reels.

The more you can take advantage of the given information, the more interesting you can make these reels, which will result in Instagram sharing them with more people.

With more exposure to your Instagram reels, more people will visit your profile and if you are a business trying to sell a service or product, you will have more exposure, more access to your target audience, and achieve your ultimate goal: making more money.

Start with a hook

The first five seconds of Instagram reels are the most important and should be the top priority for your content strategy.

If you don’t hook your viewers in, they will instantly start to scroll, meaning all your hard work won’t be seen. This ultimately means you won’t have any new followers.

Start off with a bang. Use a catchy song, frame the video in an interesting manner, and get right to the topic. If your Instagram reel features a tutorial, tell everyone right away what the tutorial is about to catch their attention.

Start with a question

Most people can’t leave a question alone. Questions are begging to be answered and if you start a reel off with a question, it will force people to stop to answer it.

You can also pose a question that you yourself will want to answer. This tease at the beginning of a reel will hold viewers’ interest as they will want to watch the entire video to get the answer.

Think of this strategy like old-school radio. How tantalizing was it to hear someone on the radio tell you what they were going to talk about, only to play a song or go to a commercial. You then had no choice but to keep listening to the radio station to hear what the answer would be.

Posting Instagram Reels Frequently

The Instagram reels algorithm is especially interested in what is being viewed at the moment and in the past few weeks. Just because an Instagram user watched a video from your account yesterday doesn’t mean that the same video will be shared with the other accounts.

It is imperative that you create content daily. If you are worried about the workload, take some time to create a batch of content ahead of time and then post it when applicable.

Posting Instagram reels should be a daily occurrence. This way you can stay on top of current trends, relevant hashtags, and current events.

Be real

What we see online is not the real version that most people live in private. How refreshing is it, then, if we see people being real?

Show yourself without makeup, without a filter, or without special effects. Be vulnerable.

You can also share times that you have failed, or times that were particularly tough. The more real you are, the more relatable you will be, which will inspire others to view your content.

Be creative

There are millions of Instagram reels so you need to be creative to stand out and boost your performance. Here are a few tips to get you or your content creator started.

Share a tutorial

You only have 90 seconds but if you use your time wisely, you can share informative tutorials. Start by thinking about what you’re good at. Maybe you’re a natural in the kitchen or handy with tools.

Practice a few times and then set up your phone. Once you have a video, stitch it together to create a 90-second reel that shows somebody exactly how to do something. You’ll be amazed at how many people are interested.

Share a day in life

Your life may seem ordinary but trust us; people want to know about it. There’s something voyeuristic and interesting to see how other people live.

In order to fit everything into a 90-second reel, start with part of your day so it is more manageable.

What does your morning routine look like? How do you juggle taking care of your children while you cook dinner? Do you have a wind-down routine in the evening?

Once you feel more confident, you can expand these videos to include your entire day. Take snapshots of your camera to show what time it is and then hit the fast-forward button on a video to speed up your daily tasks.

Be inspirational

Everyone needs some inspiration at some point in their lives. If you can provide that, you can make the world a better place.

If you have experienced a challenge, be sure to highlight it and explain how you overcame that challenge. What steps did you take to make life easier and how can they apply to other people?

Weight loss struggles or mental health struggles are unfortunately common for most people, so if you post a reel that is relatable, while also being inspirational, you can attract more user activity from those who are seeking comfort and guidance.

Share a challenge

You have two options if you want to share a challenge on an feed. You can either share an existing challenge or make your own one.

There is always a new craze, so spend a little time researching it, make your video, and issue the challenge to all your viewers.

Be sure to include the same hashtags that are trending so that when people search for Instagram reels, yours will pop up.

If you are creative, you can also create your own challenge. This can be a dance challenge, a way of dressing, or even a way of acting. The more eager you are to take risks in your videos, the more inspirational you will be to other people.

Create a reel of photos

Not confident about your video-making skills? Don’t worry as you also have the option of simply sharing your photos. Instagram reels can include a series of photos that you stitch together.

This is incredibly easy as Insta supplies all the tools you need. You can even add music to the photo reel to make it more interesting.

Just make sure the photos are linked together by a common theme. The same goes for the music. Include slower music if you want to share photos that are reflective and upbeat music if you want to share photos that are inspirational.


The Instagram reels algorithm shouldn’t be something scary. Instead, the more you understand it, the better you can post content that will reach a larger number of Instagram users, thus supplying you with more followers.

Social media managers should be well-versed in their ability to create reels but there are enough easy-to-use tools with that anyone can create reels that are interesting and engaging.

Remember to post Instagram reels that answer a question, provide inspiration, or teach you something new. And keep posting your reels so new followers will find you.