Updated: May 19, 2020
Tired of wondering if you are posting at the right times, why you aren't seeing your friends posts on the regular, or how to you can increase your engagement? Let me break down the Instagram Algorithm for you. When you make a post on your timeline, Instagram displays this post to ONLY your top 7-10% of followers. What "top" means is up for debate. This has been described over the years as the people who engage with you the most, the ones YOU engage with, recent new followers, or generally really active accounts who follow you. Basically this is saying your friend who is glued to Instagram will be shown your picture, not the friend who's last post was in 2017. What about the other 90-93% of followers? This is where the big stick happens. Instagram determines if your post will be released to the remaining followers based on a few factors. These can include how well your post does with the original 7-10%, your image quality, and how much text is in your graphic.
What's important to note here is that Instagram is not exactly "hiding" your post from your followers. They claim to "feature content that the viewer will like on your timeline". Eventually that post will appear on their timeline, just not chronologically... it could be 5 days later! Hence why it's important to look at your analytics and specific posts that did great.
Maybe that 1 great post used some different hashtags than your normal content. Maybe you posted at a prime time and day. Maybe you got a ton of comments because you asked a question. Maybe you got a ton of likes from the stunning photo. Or maybe... Just maybe... it was a huge coincidence.
My biggest piece of advice... KNOW YOUR MARKET! Know what your followers like, know what they respond to, the hashtags they follow or use. And don't be afraid to straight up ASK your followers what they want to see.
Now this is the simplified version of how the IG Algorithm works, use this as a quick reference when you are mulling over your insights or writing a new piece for your page. But remember that things are always changing. So stay up to date on the platforms you use so you can have the best chance at building a successful business online.