How To Navigate Instagram's Algorithm and Increase Follower Base

Have you thought about why some businesses get more views and likes on their social media posts than others, even if they feature similar content? Instagram decides which posts will be seen on users’ news feeds based on an algorithm. While it is regularly being refined, the core mechanic of the algorithm remains “reader-friendly”, prioritizing content it deems will keep users on the platform for as long as possible. Here is our ultimate walkthrough and extra tips to help you gain a better understanding of Instagram’s algorithm and plan your Instagram strategy accordingly!


The Instagram algorithm currently ranks a post on six attributes, the top three being:


#1. Interest

Users’ feeds are made up of behavioural traits on Instagram. Every time they view, like, comment, or share a post, the algorithm will optimize what should come next. The more a user engages with certain categories, the greater likelihood of them seeing similar content. For example, if users like a lot of teeth whitening tips and products, they will likely see more content related to cosmetic dentistry.


As a brand, it is important to share content that is truly and consistently appealing to your audience. Make sure that you are not only posting often but also with relevant and personable content. For instance, if you manage a healthcare practice account, it may not be suitable for you to post driving-related content. The Instagram algorithm will start to recommend your feed to relevant users as you create more posts over time.

 



#2. Relationship

For the most part, the people or accounts we interact with the most on Instagram, are the ones we truly care about, for example, a family member, friends, or brands we follow. The algorithm tracks this through our messages, follows and other ways in which we engage with the content.


As a brand, it is impossible to be best friends with every follower. However, to maximize reach, you can interact with your followers by replying to comments or messages in your inbox so that they feel like they are able to directly connect with you, and are a valuable resource to you. It is also a good idea to repost content featuring your product or services that are being shared by your followers, to your feed as a “feature”.


#3. Timeliness

Users always like to see the most recent updates so newer posts will rank higher on their news feed.


The important question then is, when is the best time to post? In the morning, before people start work? A late-night post, when people are relaxing after a long day of work? As a business, it all depends on your target audience. For example, where are your target audience mostly located? When do they generally browse on Instagram? You can view the engagement data on your Instagram feed to learn more about your targeted demographic and adjust your strategy..



Three more attributes that the Instagram algorithm uses to decide a match are dependent on user behavior. They are: the frequency of login times per day, how long each session lasts, and the number of accounts users follow.


Even though businesses wouldn't be able to influence the above factors, you can use them as a benchmark to optimize when to post your content.





3 Tips to increase awareness about your business and your product/service offerings


#1. Use new features - “Reels”

Instagram has launched new features over the years. The “Reels”’ function, released in 2021 is one of the most recent and striking. To compete for market share with Tik Tok, one of the most popular short video platforms, Reels is the built-in short video upload feature on Instagram.


In comparison to images and text, videos are definitely more visually engaging. More than 70% of marketers claim that videos generate more conversions than other content. To promote this new feature, Instagram will also help users who post to Reels, by directing more traffic to  “Reels content” by recommending it to new users.

 

Instagram is currently promoting more Reels content, so it may be worth your while as a brand to take advantage of this format. For example, post educational videos about your practice, or casual stories about your team to be more personable to users. 

However, if you don’t feel comfortable filming just yet, there is another new feature called “Guides”. It allows users to curate content to recommend places, posts, and products. You could take the opportunity to either repromote your older posts, or repurpose the content from your website to be directly featured on Instagram. As Instagram is favouring posts that use these new features, you can take advantage of them to curate content with an aim to maximize engagement and increase views.


#2. Optimize your profile

Besides posting relevant content, there is another way to gain more visibility - through your Instagram business/page profile section. It is one of the most underutilized methods by businesses, to boost their Instagram search ranking. Here is a list of what you can do to optimize your profile:


  • Add in keywords that your users will search for, so that next time they search for product/service categories related to your business, your account would rank higher than others that are less optimized.

  • Make your bio personable to make a great first impression

  • Add in a “link tree” that links to your official website to lead traffic (“link tree” is a simple tool that circumvents the issue of only being able to put one link in your Instagram bio)

  • Don’t be too textual in your description of your business - keep your bio concise and straightforward 


#3. Create more CTA opportunities

CTA, which stands for Call To Action, is a great method to increase user engagement on social media. One of the many viable functions that Instagram has is the “Story” feature. It is the 10-second video function that appears on the top of the page when a user first opens Instagram. The Story content disappears after 24 hours, therefore, many users utilize the function as a more casual section to promote their posts, or share more personable content. Many eCommerce businesses use this as an opportunity to share various features of their product. As a dental or healthcare practice, you could try uploading a usual day in the office or tell users more about your services such as teeth whitening or sports-guards. 


By adding a poll or a “yes or no” question to get your users to engage with you, you can not only be more involved with your customers, but  also get their honest reviews and dedicated time spent interacting with your page/service offerings. Higher engagement, thus achieved, will get recognized by the algorithm in return for more exposure.


There are more CTA opportunities in addition to the “Story Poll” function. One of them being tagging products on a post so users can click to learn more. Practices can use this as a way to showcase their services. Businesses can also add the text "link in bio" to encourage users to visit their website or specific landing pages. 


With a lot of businesses competing for users' attention in the dynamic world of Instagram, it is important to keep sharing relevant content regularly and engaging with users in the most effective way while keeping what we know about the algorithm in mind.


Since the Instagram algorithm works on the basis of content characteristics and user behavior, it is crucial to create content that is truly meaningful and valuable to your audience. The sum total of your target audience’s Instagram behavior is what determines the reach of your Instagram posts and the success of your overall Instagram strategy.


With the many options that are available to post your content on Instagram, including Instagram Story, Instagram Reels and many more to come, the combination of right strategies and content creation will help your business and it's services stand out on Instagram.


Reach out to an UpOnline Representative for more information on how to effectively manage your business's presence on Instagram!!


Google Analytics 4 Has Arrived! Here Are 5 Benefits of Upgrading or Installing GA4 On Your Website or App

By: Le Dan Pham

Google has recently announced their newest update to Google Analytics, and it is one of the biggest updates that they have done since the program was first launched in 2005. For the past 15 years, Google has continued to advance its machine learning models to make sure that its analytics capabilities were able to keep pace “with the exponential growth and sophistication of digital marketing and e-commerce”. Also, due to privacy concerns, Apple and Google have both announced that third-party cookies will no longer be supported. This will have a direct impact on the effectiveness of the traditional Universal Analytics model. We’ve posted earlier on the ethical issues related to data collection in another blog post.

Therefore, the important question now being: is the new update worth switching to or can you live with the potential decreased functionality of the existing platform over time? In this article, we will be discussing how GA4 works and the changes that you will notice. We will also outline the advantages of the new update to help you achieve long-term benefits for short-term costs.


How to Set-Up the New Google Analytics


The first thing to mention, and one of the main benefits of GA4, is that you can use it for both your website and mobile app versus Universal Analytics, which only worked with websites. Using a single property, called ‘app + web’, you will be able to have multiple data streams like Android, iOS, and web that have website tracking capabilities. 


With this in mind, you can implement the new Google Analytics 4 update to your website in three different ways: 

  1. Add Google Analytics 4 to your site

  2. Add Google Analytics 4 to a site that already has Universal Analytics

  3. Add Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics to your site simultaneously


Google highly recommends that you have both Universal Analytics and GA4 running on your site. If you choose to transition entirely from Universal to GA4, this can disturb your data collection since both systems have different structures. Furthermore, since this is a recent change, there will be continual updates for at least a couple of years.


How Does Google Analytics 4 Work?


Google Analytics 4 measures its data in terms of events, rather than the Universal Analytics interaction measurements such as page views, transactions, and so forth. In this case, as stated by Google, events provide insight on what is happening with your website or app, such as user actions, system events, or errors.” In other words, events allow you to track any action or piece of information that you like. Such as, the pages people view on your website, button clicks, or information that you’ve collected from another platform (e.g. email marketing, CRM). This means that Google Analytics 4 allows for more flexibility in recording your data and gives you more freedom on the analysis that you want to perform. 


There are four categories of events:

  1. Automatically collected events

  2. Enhanced measurement events (these are automatically logged) 

  3. Recommended events with predefined names and parameters

  4. Custom events that you must define yourself and add into the code of the web page and/or app. 


Google Analytics 4 automatically tracks several events when a visitor views a page. These events include first visit, page view, session start, user engagement, and more. These events are permanent components and can’t be switched off. The second category of enhanced measurement events can also be collected automatically, but it is optional. Some of these events include scrolls (viewer scrolling at least 90% of the page), outbound clicks, site search, video engagement, files downloaded, and more. You can learn more about enhanced measurement features here


Recommended events are starting points, and gives you suggestions to start any custom events you want to track. However, you should only pick events that are relevant to you. For instance, if you run an online store, you can choose to track what particular products customers are viewing, using the recommended “view_item” event, a pre-existing event created by Google Analytics. Furthermore, custom events allow you to define your events, whatever makes the most sense in your reports. For example, if you want to track how customers are rating your products, you can create a custom event called “rate_item” to follow Google’s naming conventions. This article explains how to create custom dimensions for them. The benefit of having custom events available is that it allows you to invent metrics that Google has not already created in “recommended events” or “automatic/enhanced measurements events”. There are tons of events that are already created, that you can check here, before deciding if a custom event is necessary. 


In the event-based model, sessions are measured differently compared to Universal Analytics. In GA4, “the duration of a session is based on the time span between the first and last event in the session.” Compared to UA, where a user’s visit counts from the minute they enter your website and ends when they leave it, or after 30 minutes of activity. For example, if a user arrives on your website and spends 5 minutes browsing 3 pages, then goes idle for 30 minutes. UA would record this as 35 minutes, whilst in GA4, the session duration would only be for 5 minutes. 


There are several limitations to using GA4 events, for instance, you can only track up to 500 unique events per website and the name of each event can be a maximum of 40 characters. To learn more about how to use these tools and start tracking events on your page using Google Analytics 4, click here


Compared to Universal Analytics (UA), GA4 allows you to analyze how your customer is interacting with your site rather than just how the customer got onto your site. Overall, In the event-based model of GA4, marketers must think carefully about their data collection, with its more holistic approach to understanding data.


Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4


With the new features installed into an event-based structure, you may notice several benefits that Google Analytics 4 can provide in comparison to using Universal Analytics stand-alone. Here are 5 benefits of upgrading or installing GA4 to your website or app. 


  1. User journey: As a result of integration between web and app as well as enhanced data stream capabilities, Google Analytics 4 focuses on the complete user journey. You can now measure users’ interactions across all the platforms through unique customer IDs. A customer ID is a unique set of alphanumeric characters assigned to the user across all their devices. You can assign the user an ID through a user authentication system, such as when they login to your website, through loyalty cards, coupons, and so forth. After you create a unique customer ID, it can be tracked throughout their buying journey. 

  2. Enhanced tracking and measurement: a new feature in GA4 is called “enhanced measurement”. This feature tracks all file downloads, outbound clicks, video interactions, site search, and scroll events with the GA4 tag. You do not need to create any additional code or tags, which means less time and effort maintaining custom tags. Similarly, GA4 uses data from Google Signals, which are session data from sites and apps that Google associates with users who have signed into their Google accounts to stitch together users across devices, regardless if they have a user ID. This will make it easier to identify the same person across multiple devices. Google Signals can be activated through Google Analytics 4. If you would like to learn more about how to activate Google Signals on your Google Analytics 4 account, click here.

  3. Enhanced data visualizations and reporting: in GA4, you get real-time data visualization in a holistic view with just one glance. In comparison, Universal Analytics uses the Overview function in locations, traffic sources, content, events, and conversion, to view real-time data.

  4. Predictive analytics capabilities: GA4 provides predictive metrics that use machine learning algorithms to measure conversion progress. These metrics will allow you to identify users and the actions that would likely lead to a conversion. There are currently 3 predictive metrics supported by GA4: purchase probability, churn probability, and revenue prediction.

  5. Find more insights at a faster pace: “analysis hub” is currently only available for Analytics 360 users, the paid version of Google Analytics. With the GA4 update, not only can everyone access it, but more analysis types will also be available. Some things that are possible with Analysis Hub include exploration, custom funnels, pathing, and more.


So pay attention to new updates like Google Analytics 4. It will allow you to be more efficient and better equipped to understand customer habits and the predictive capabilities can help prepare you for potential impacts on your business and for your customers. Want to talk more about using these tools to supercharge your site? Contact an UpOnline representative.