Know How Algorithms Work: Unlocking The Secret

DSM Digital school of marketing - algorithms

The simple explanation would be to say that algorithms are the process of finding specific solutions to a specific problem. Or we could say the algorithm is a mythical formula for getting things done; we could call it the wizard’s spell for the modern ages, and a definite recipe for success.

Google’s Algorithms

Founded in 1998, Google’s founders started the search engine giant with the ambition to organise the world’s information. (This is according to Randall Stross in his book Plant Google: ‘Full of Revelations’ Guardian.)

As part of the manner in which they set out to organise this information,  they developed certain algorithms. These are various pieces of code that function to help to organise the information according to how relevant people find the information as opposed to what information the advertisers want people to find.

Google gives their algorithm updates various names such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. One of the latest major algorithm releases happened in 2016 with Penguin 4.0. The original version of Penguin was all about combatting link spam and used to run intermittently. 4.0 now runs in real time. The benefit is that if your site is penalised because of a spammy link, one you remove it so will the penalties be removed because the algorithm is constantly being updated.

Social media marketing and algorithms

An algorithm in social media is what determines the content that social media users will see. This has a huge impact on social media marketing because algorithm changes on this platform effect the organic content that brands put out on their social channels. This means that for their content to be seen by the audiences that they want to, brands need to resort to advertising as opposed to solely relying on organic reach.

Instagram Algorithm Factors

With over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is the fastest-growing of the social media platforms. This makes is a great place for brands to undertake their social media marketing. Here are a couple of tips on how to manage the algorithm on Instagram:

  1. Relationships.  These indicators show you content, which is mainly influenced by the posts you’ve liked, or profiles you view regularly. So you’ll find that their content will appear higher in your feed that others will.
  2. Interest. Instagram watches interactions and then predicts what it is you want to see more of.  For instance, if you like a certain type of content, then more of that type of content will appear higher in your feed. Remember Instagram
  3. Timeliness.  Instagram has tweaked the algorithm in a way that it puts more emphasis on recency of posts to ensure you see fresh content.
  4. Usage. If you’re on Instagram for hours a day, the algorithm will dig further into the content sources to give you fresh content at the top of your feed. Compared to only logging on for 10 minutes a day, you’re just going to see the highlights that Instagram thinks are most relevant to you.
  5. Frequency. How often you use Instagram and login will determine how much of the content in your feed is shuffled how often.
  6. Following. We don’t need to tell you that the more followers you have, the more content suggestions you’ll receive.
  7. It’s Personalised. This means that even if two people followed the same accounts, we would get different feeds from them as a result of our interaction with said content.

Killing The Rumours!

Instagram clarified various rumours about the app and its algorithm. Take a look at the below:

  • Instagram will not go back to being chronological status updates.
  • Instagram DOES. NOT. HIDE content! NOTHING is hidden.
  • Interactions Stories and Live videos have no impact on the home feed – or vice versa. These are essentially separate areas of Instagram.
  • There is no preference for videos versus photos in ranking. It’s dependent on each user and how they consume your content.
  • You will not be crucified for switching to a business profile and your reach will not decline if you do so.
  • Shadow banning DOES NOT EXIST.

That’s as easy as it gets. #knowyourinstaalgorithms

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