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    How does Instagram work out the Top Posts


    So I'm getting my feet wet with Instagram and posted an image this weekend with a fairly popular hashtag. It became the number one top post after a couple of hours and has stayed there for two days so far.

    Instagram describes the top posts as those which are trending but other people have posted images since which have achieved more likes than mine so they should, in theory, be first.

    On a second hashtag I'm not in the top posts at all but images posted before mine that achieved fewer likes are.

    I'm theorising that it is not just about the number of likes but who those likes come from just as in standard SEO the link counts for more if it comes from a more respectable site.

    Just guessing ... anyone know better?
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    Hmmm! This is an interesting topic - I haven't worked with Instagram before, myself. I still have a "crack-berry" old fashioned phone. It gets the job done!

    I did a little looking around though, and I think you might be right about some kind of Google-like algorithm. Here's an article I found that talks about "top posts" as a new feature.

    The relevant text is:

    The question Instagram was trying to answer all along, Schmidt continues, was: "How can you find content that you wouldn't otherwise see on your feed? It's always about content that's not coming from people that you directly follow." That led to Popular giving way about a year ago to a new Search & Explore tab, based on a more complex algorithm than merely tallying up likes. The features Instagram is launching today build upon that fresh start....
    Schmidt says that as the company thought about how to roll all the new features into Instagram, it toyed with adding multiple tabs. In the end, though, it settled on one section, with a search box, a marquee to promote highlights, a section of trending hashtags, and more. And if you tap through to something like a particular trending place, the app isn't doing away with the classic Instagram reverse-chronological feed. Instead, it's providing both a section of "top posts"—chosen algorithmically based on multiple factors—and purely chronological "recent posts."
    Instagram's own explanation of "what are top posts" is extremely vague and unsatisfying...which I think supports the idea that there might be a kind of algorithm.

    I wonder if it also does what Google does and personalizes your results? Do you get different top posts if you search from different Instagram accounts?

    Hope you'll share if you learn more!
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    I think many of us in the 'old school' are guilty of ignoring something that is potentially very powerful in terms of brand building a relationship with customers.

    I have found a clue here: Trending at Instagram - Instagram Engineering which explains how Instagram defines a hashtag as trending.

    The key is the base versus recent activity. So if #myhashtag appears, or is liked, on average 5 times a day for a time period and then it appears or is liked 50 times a day then it is trending more powerfully than a hashtag that was appearing 100 times a day and is now appearing 110 times a day.

    The latter is more popular but in percentage terms it is not trending as rapidly as #myhashtag.

    There is more to it than this as I can get my images into the top posts of some mid range popular hashtags but not very popular ones but I think that is the base of it.

    I've found no evidence of personalisation having tested using proxy servers when logged in and out of two different accounts (one of which has thousands of followers).

    Comments on this post

    • Will-O-The-Wisp agrees : Interesting! Thanks for sharing this!
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    Hi,

    I have worked on Instagram for couple of my clients.

    Regarding your question:
    Instagram arranges the TOP posts according to engagement you get on your photos.

    for example:
    If you post some picture and it quickly gets more number of likes and comments than previous Top post Picture.
    You will get on Top.

    This is one factor by which Instagram arranges TOP posts.

    other factors like popularity, Followers and Engagement on your Account plays a vital too!
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    Originally Posted by Doodled
    So I'm getting my feet wet with Instagram and posted an image this weekend with a fairly popular hashtag. It became the number one top post after a couple of hours and has stayed there for two days so far.
    I am also getting my feet wet with Insta. Can you please share some popular hashtags?! because I thought I had them but I only get up to 300 like on average per picture and I never had one on the top posts. How did you do it, I would love to know.

    Thank you!
    Stav
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    Hello @doodled. have you experimented with bought likes (fake ones). Do you think fake signals can affect hashtags and trends? I have an account with 5000 followers but I have not explored instagram much yet. So you know how the 5000 happened. Can you give me a small task to test with fake signals. Let me replicated your methods with them and see if it works.
    Last edited by NewDelhiSEO; Sep 24th, 2016 at 11:08 AM. Reason: typos
    SEO Professionals in NewDelhi It is different. Don't believe me? Go check yourself.
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    I've been using Instagram for some time now. It's definitely more effective in the creative fields (art/design/fashion/etc.) than Facebook.

    Right now I don't need to experiment. Top posts are all about what is trending, not what is the most popular. So if you post an image that gets 500 likes in 2 hours it will rank higher in the top posts than one that got 5,000 likes in 24 hours.

    It's the rate at which you get likes that matters along with looking for grey tail hashtags where you are more likely to stay at the top for longer.

    Thanks for the offer though!

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