Making the popular page on Instagram has been a process that has not been all that easy to wrap your mind around up to now. The complexities involved in the procedure have been shady and shrouded in secrecy up until recently when the Instagram developers decided to cast some light on the issue. In their words, they stipulated that picture that makes the popular page is not only based on the number of likes a photo gets but also on a significantly more complicated process.
From what I gather they basically say that there are a number of variables that are fed into a mathematical formula and from this the popular pictures are picked. The other part of the equation is that they are constantly changing the formula to ensure a level ground for people with multitudes of followers and those who have a handful.
So let’s break this down into parts so that we get a clear picture of how the system works.
The popularity of a photograph is determined by a computer algorithm. Knowing this we now proceed to the parameters that are input into the formula to determine what makes the cut for the popular page:
Number of likes from followers
It’s obvious that the number of likes you get on your photo determines the making the popular page. The question is, ‘how many likes do you need to make the cut?
Since it is not only about the number of ‘likes’ you get from your followers that determines which photos make the popular page, let us add another parameter. The other thing is that, today you may get 50 likes and make the popular page but get the same number tomorrow but not make the popular page. It means that once you get to the popular page, the only way forward is UP.
Precisely, the algorithm works with an increasing standard.
Number of followers
The number of followers you have has to play a part in the determination of which photos make the cut. It’s not uncommon to see people with a few numbers of followers making the page with lesser likes than people with many followers. So there must be a relation between the number of followers and the number of likes you need to get.
Most of the photos that make the popular tab are those that receive a large number of likes once they have been posted. So, it is a scenario whereby the early bird catches the worm. The photos that receive a large number of likes within the first half hour to one hour have very high success rates in making the popular page.
Once your photo is on the popular tab
The period within which your photo is on the popular page is also determined by the additional number of likes you get once you get once your photo is there. Some photos that get few likes once they make the popular page do not last long there but others that get many like stay on for a while.
We have put together a bit of analysis to figure out what is actually needed to get your photo onto the popular page on Instagram. We go through the maths and really try to understand if the number of followers and the timing of the likes make any difference. It’s not easy!
Why can’t Instagram just tell us how to get on the popular page?
Exactly, it would be straightforward if the folks at Instagram were forthcoming on the issues. They indicate that they employ a particular formula to determine the photos which will eventually feature in the popular feed - the formula is triangulated to bring forward the latest photo which IS deemed interesting based on a number of factors. The number of likes that a photo generates is not sufficient, but it does have a large popularity stake.
The formula is constantly adjusted to ensure that amidst the plethora of pictures coming from the Instagram community some interesting content could be gleaned. Now, this is not exactly the kind of information one expects to read in the quest to making an appearance in the Instagram’s Popular Page.
However, before you start thinking of making it into Instagram Popular Page you must first have some photos worth clicking home about so to speak - It doesn’t matter how many photos you take and post on Instagram, if they are in any way lacking in appeal and are considered dull, chances are they might never be considered for the Popular Page.
Apparently there is an algorithm in place that determines appearance on the popular page, similar to the algorithm that Google uses when choosing what is the correct result. Now we aren’t mathematicians so we couldn’t place a handle on it but you can be pretty assured that there is an algorithm. Since this turns out to be a numbers game it is in order to learn the game and the numbers of course. As a disclaimer, you should be aware that Instagram changes the algorithm frequently thus making It hard to pin down the exact science.
The formula I am about to show you is the result of numerous trials on Instagram with a varying level of success. The analysis can actually be only be conducted by placement of some photos on the Popular Page The exercise I must admit is not as easy as it sounds. Nonetheless, for my pain I was able to have some photos on the popular page to provide background for the following analysis. Within a three week spell as I posted a total of 18 images with 4 of these making it to the popular page So far, I have managed to have 10 photos on the Popular Page.
The First Hour of likes is key!
Please be aware that the article contains a lot of numbers, and I don’t want to bore you (honest). From here on in, just go with the flow!
Time Total Likes Likes in the first hour Likes in the first hour9:0061220433%11:00123017414%13:002824516%15:0055811420%
In the table above the columns indicates the posting time for each photo, the number of followers during that time, the number of likes the photos generated in the first hour and the number of likes expressed as a percentage of my total followers in the first hour respectively I managed to jot down some information along the way. Of the four photos, two made it to the Popular Page after being liked 43 times after 40 minutes. One photo landed on the Popular Page after 30 minutes on the strength of 50 likes.
Apparently, the number of likes registered within the first hour of posting counts for a lot. Additionally, the first 30 minutes are even of a more critical value. It is instructive to note that the above calculations are not merely based on the ‘pure’ like count. If that was the case, then anyone with more than a thousand followers would be having their photos on the Instagram’s Popular Page on a regular basis.
It could be that the like count IS tied to a threshold that takes into consideration some percentage of one’s followers on Instagram. From my recorded observations I never did have my photos on the Popular Page with a 10% or less likes of my total followers - Thus it must follow that “Likes” which are more than 10% of one’s total following must be registered within the first 30 Or 40 minutes of posting if appearance in the Popular Page is to be made. From my records the lowest I ever registered on this score was a 10.17%.
What does that mean in terms of practicality? Well it means that if you want to be featured at least 10% of your followers have to like your image. Simple!
It might seem a little hard to believe, but if some ‘Instagram myths’ are to be believed there goes a claim that if you make a first appearance on the Popular Page then you must also perform better in the subsequent photos to make it in to the Popular Page again. That is, for example if your photo rises to the Popular Page Within 40 minutes on the strength of say 45 likes, then for the next photo to appear on the Popular Page you must get more than the initial 45 likes within a similar period. This does make sense in a way as Instagram wants a variety of authors to be featured, unless your work is top top quality. The requirement for every subsequent photo rises too accordingly.
Our results do not support this theory however as so far I have managed to get two photos with the same set of numbers of likes within the first minutes make it to the Popular Page on two different days.
There is this though, as I get more followers it has become a little harder to make it to the Popular Page. This could be due to the fact that the 10% likes I get after 30 or 40 minutes of posting are eroded by what I consider ‘stealth followers’.
What? Stealth followers?
These stealth followers will tag along with me but will never do anything else - they don’t like, they don’t comment, they don’t get back to me but I am saddled with them and I can do nothing about them. There is the option of blocking them but I have never considered it.
Apart from the likes percentage within the ‘like Window’ there is a minimum desirable number of likes one has to get as well. This is owing to the fact that, say if one has only 10 followers then just 2 likes (which effectively 20%) could get one into the Popular Page Therefore, the most certainly be some enforced minimum number in place to determine entry into the Popular Page. From my calculations this number must fall between 30 and 40 likes
It is therefore safe to conclude that:
- More than 10% of likes to followers within the first 40 minutes is desirable (if you struggle with this you should consider buying Instagram likes)
- There is a base minimum number of likes required, believed to be around 30.
- It is possible to gain entry to the popular page within 30 minutes of the initial photo posting.
- 20% of your followers liking your photo within 30 minutes of posting will make it to the popular page, whereas 10% within 40 minutes will also increase your like hood of making the popular page.
- Once you are on the Popular Page, the length of your stay depends on the number of external likes you.
Getting to be on the Popular Page sand gaining followers should not be the only reasons for being on Instagram. Learning and perfecting the craft of photography should be a motivation enough as well as getting hands on with the apps that comes with Instagram.
Steve writes for Buy Instagram Followers – a website designed to help boost your Instagram profile artificially.