What Creators Need To Know About Instagram Recommendations

clock iconAugust 30, 2022

Many people use Instagram to connect with their passions and discover new things. To create more opportunities for discovery, we’ve been adding recommendations (content from accounts you don’t follow) to more places. This includes feed where, like within Reels and Explore, recommendations are personalized to your interests. Recommendations bring about new chances for people to be inspired or entertained—and for creators like you to grow your community so you can make a living doing what you love. We're constantly improving Instagram recommendations to strike the right balance for people, so we’re sharing our current tips and will keep you updated on the latest.

How Instagram Recommendations Work.

We look at a number of signals to personalize recommendations, such as how many and how quickly other people are liking, commenting, sharing and saving a post; a person’s interaction history with the person who posted; other posts a person has liked or commented on; etcetera. We also give people a lot of different controls over what they see on Instagram, including the ability to tell us if they’re not interested in something or have a different comfort level with more sensitive content. This all works together to power our recommendation system and help us get your content or account in front of the people who are most likely to join your community or become your next biggest fans.

How to Be Eligible for Recommendations.

  1. Follow our Recommendation Guidelines: Because recommended content is shown to people who don’t already follow you, we have a higher standard for what we recommend than what we allow your followers to see. This is to reduce the likelihood that we recommend something potentially offensive or inappropriate to a broader audience who hasn’t explicitly indicated they want to see it. Content that goes against our Recommendation Guidelines can still be distributed normally to your followers, but we try not to recommend it to non-followers.

    Content that goes against our Recommendation Guidelines includes:

    • Content that may depict violence, such as people fighting
    • Content that promotes the use of certain regulated products, such as tobacco or vaping products
    • Content that may be sexually explicit or suggestive, such as pictures of people in see-through clothing

    Also, keep in mind that if you repeatedly post content that goes against our Recommendation Guidelines or have something in your profile (like your profile photo or bio) that goes against our Recommendation Guidelines, your entire account may become ineligible for recommendation, and none of your content will be recommended for a period of time. Check out the full guidelines for more details.

  2. Follow our Community Guidelines: While Recommendation Guidelines only govern what we avoid recommending to non-followers, our Community Guidelines apply to all content on Instagram. We remove content that violates our Community Guidelines, and recently or repeatedly posting this kind of content can result in your entire account becoming ineligible to be recommended. If you think your content was removed by mistake, you can request a re-review in Account Status.

    You can learn more about how we use technology and human review teams to detect and review content and accounts that may go against these guidelines here.

  3. Check your Settings: We only recommend content from public accounts, so make sure your account is set accordingly. Your account is automatically public if you’re using a Creator or Business Account.

Best Practices to Be Recommended

  1. Post original content: This includes content you filmed yourself or content that hasn’t been posted on Instagram before. Avoid reuploading reels that are already on Instagram or posting unoriginal or aggregated content. If you see a reel you think your followers would love, you can share it to your Story by using the share button. If you’re working with another creator, use our Collabs feature to create a single post that is shared to both of your followers or use Enhanced Tags to include their public and self-identified profile category.
  2. Create engaging reels: Make sure reels are part of your content strategy to maximize your opportunities to be recommended. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re creating your reels:

    • Optimize your video content to be viewed full-screen and vertically. This means using high-resolution, 9 x 16 vertical videos with no borders, where text does not cover the majority of the screen.
    • Keep it short. In order to be recommended, your content has to be 90 seconds or less.
    • Make a good first impression. Pull the viewer in within the first 3 seconds and keep them interested the whole time.
    • Avoid visibly recycled content. Don't post reels that contain watermarks, that are blurry or otherwise low quality.

    See more specifics about which reels we try to recommend or make less visible here and a few other tips and tricks here.

  3. Get discovered via Search: Search results are matched by text, so make sure you’re including relevant keywords. A few tips (though you can learn more about how search works here):

    • Use an Instagram handle or profile name that’s related to the content of your posts.
    • Make sure your bio includes keywords about who you are and what your profile is about.
    • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. To have your post found in Search, put these keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.

Monitor Your Insights

Fluctuations in reach are common, but if you’re using a Business or Creator Account you can check your Instagram Insights to monitor trends and content performance. Watch out for patterns and keep tabs on which pieces of content are getting more reach to help inform your content strategy. Within Insights, you can break down Accounts Reached by followers and non-followers so you can see how much of your reach is coming from people who don’t already follow you—and track that over time by changing the time frame selected. We’re also working on tools to provide more transparency into your account’s eligibility to be recommended and will share an update here soon.

Check Your Eligibility

We’re introducing the ability for professional accounts to check if their account’s content is ineligible to be recommended to non-followers in Account Status. With this update you can:

  • Check if your account’s content can be recommended: See if your content may be eligible for recommendation to non-followers in places like Explore, Reels and Feed Recommendations.
  • Understand issues: If your account’s content is not eligible to be recommended, you can see a sample of content or components of your profile that may go against our Recommendations Guidelines and any content that has been removed for violating our Community Guidelines.
  • Fix problems: You can edit or delete posts that may go against our Recommendations Guidelines. You can also request for our review team to take another look if you think we made a mistake.

We want to help you understand issues with your account and better explain how our systems and rules work. We’re continuing to improve Account Status to cover more areas (like Search and Suggested Accounts), and add more ways for you to understand and fix issues that may affect how you reach non-followers.

You can visit Account Status by tapping into Settings, tapping Account, and then tapping Account Status.

For more details on recommendations, download our latest recommendations handbook.