What's New with Instagram: January 2022 Update

Andie Phoon

Andie Phoon

As one of the most popular social media platforms out there, Instagram has recently achieved a new milestone of surpassing 2 billion monthly users. With more competition from newcomers like TikTok, Instagram has been periodically rolling out new updates to enhance their users’ experience on the app. Like many other social media platforms, it is heavily dependent on the algorithm.

The Instagram Algorithm has always been fascinating and challenging to grasp. In fact, since Instagram changes their algorithms like people change clothes, many people are curious on how it actually works. Here are some key factors that influence the Instagram algorithm for feed posts. 

Table of Contents

1. Factors That Influence the Instagram Algorithm

  • Information about the post

These are signals on how popular a post is (likes and comments), and information about the content itself (when it was posted, the location of the post/video).

  • Information about the person who posted

This includes signals like how many times a user has interacted with another user in the past few weeks.

  • Your Activity

This helps Instagram understand what users might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts users have liked.

  • Your history of interacting with someone

This gives Instagram a sense of how interested users are in seeing posts from a particular person, through the number of times they’ve commented on someone else’s post, for example. 

Other factors like time spent on each post, how likely you are to comment, like, save, or tap on a profile come into play as well. Based on this information, the algorithm calculates how likely someone is to interact with a post, known as a Score of Interest, which ultimately determines the order in which posts are displayed in their feed.


2. Instagram Updates

Throughout the last few years, small businesses and influencers have been trying to make full use of the Instagram algorithm by asking for as many likes, comments, saves, shares and story engagements as they can get from their followers. However, even with all the engagement, the majority of the posts were somehow still hidden from many of their followers’ Instagram feeds. To overcome this issue, Instagram has announced that there are newly added features that would change the way businesses and content creators reach out to their audience. The three feed option is the latest update introduced by Instagram.


Three Feed Options

Instagram has begun rolling out new feed options, and users will now have three options to sort their feed. This includes Home, Favorites, and Following. Here are what each of them mean and what they do.

Source: MacRumors

  • Favorites

One of the new additions, the ‘Favorites’ list, is where users get to curate their own feed by favoriting accounts that they don’t want to miss any updates from. This feature is perfect for those who are always missing out on their friends’ posts on their latest adventures or even posts from their favorite brands who may be launching new products or having flash sales! 

  • Following

Also a newly added sorting function, all ‘following’ accounts will be sorted in chronological order on Instagram. When your feed is sorted by following, you’ll be able to only see posts from your followed accounts. Say goodbye to those random posts from random people!

  • Home
    The ‘Home’ sorting option was introduced back in 2016, and is the type of sorting that we’ve all been using and are all familiar with. It is AI-based and all posts that appear on our feeds are entirely decided by the Instagram algorithm. The new update to the ‘Home’ sort would show more posts from accounts that users may not be following. Essentially, the Home Feed is intended to function as a discovery hub for content that will gradually feature more and more recommendations over time.

3. What's Next?

The new and updated algorithm system has left many businesses wondering how they can adapt to these recent changes. But fret not, we’ve got you covered with some tips on how to improve your algorithmic ranking.

  • Consistently Share Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels may be over a year old now, but they’re still being heavily promoted by Instagram, which goes to show its popularity amongst Instagram users. Reels get twice as much exposure on the Explore page, and businesses have been hopping on the Instagram Reels bandwagon to add a bit of fun into their Instagram content.


Source: Instagram

  • Encourage More Interactions with Instagram Stories Stickers

Instagram Stories Stickers are not only great for adding more personality to your stories, they’re extremely useful in helping to grow your businesses, improving engagement, building brand awareness, driving traffic, and increasing online sales. Poll and emoji stickers are definitely the crowd favorite, since they make engagement quick and easy. The best part? It works for almost any business or brand.


Source: Instagram

  • Drive Conversations with Engaging Captions and Comments

Likes and comments are important when it comes to feed ranking. I’m sure that’s not news to any of us. However, the pressing question is: how do we get as many likes and comments as possible? Start by writing good captions that are relatable, timely, and engaging. 



  • Optimize Your Hashtag Strategy

When you implement a good hashtag strategy, you broaden the potential of view growth for each post. By hastaging, you’ll be able to reach your target audience and those who are more likely to engage with your post. In a recent study conducted by Later, it was discovered that feed posts with 30 hashtags get a higher level of engagement as compared to posts with fewer hashtags.




  • Cross-Promote Your Instagram Content

Looking for strategies with a quick and easy engagement win? Try cross-promoting your Instagram content through Instagram feed, stories, Reels, and Guides. The newly introduced Instagram Collabs feed posts (with co-shared authorship) also serves as an effective new way to reach new audiences.


Source: TechWyse

  • Utilize Instagram Analytics as Much as Possible

After hours of planning for the right content and posting it up, you’ll want to track how well your content is doing. Having a clearer picture of what’s working and what isn’t will help you in coming up with a more finely tuned marketing plan that saves you time and effort in the long run.


The Bottom Line

There is no surefire way in working around the Instagram Algorithm, since it’s always changing and adapting to people’s habits and behaviors. However, we believe that the tips shared in this post can be a useful guide in helping you create content that’s favorable to the algorithm. Of course, having engaging social media content is crucial for every business, however, being consistent and building a genuine relationship with your followers is also equally as important. Not to mention that it would help your business up its branding game as well! 


Instagram’s Algorithm is always changing and adapting to the behaviors of its users, so it’s safe to say that mastering Instagram Algorithm is a lifelong task for most marketers, business owners, and social media managers. However, we believe our guide can help you navigate these new changes in ways that save you time, money, and headaches.


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