New Instagram Reels Algorithm Update (+ Tips!)

Published by
Kristen Dahlin
6 min read

The launch of Instagram Reels turned heads around the world, and users flocked to the new medium to create engaging content for their followers!

But with the rise of Instagram Reels came a rise in rumors and theories about the Instagram Reels algorithm – we’re sure you’ve heard some of them!

If you’re confused about how Reels works, and how to get the most chance of reach and engagement from your content, we have good news.

On February 9, Instagram released some important clues about what will be  prioritized on Reels – and what will be deprioritized by the algorithm! 

Read on to find out if your Reels content is in line with the new algorithm update, or if you might need to make some changes to your Instagram Reels strategy!

How the Instagram Reels Algorithm Works

The exact algorithm behind Reels remains a bit of a mystery, but we know a few things for sure.

Instagram is encouraging adoption of this new tool, which means Reels content is front and center on the platform right now.

Reels appear in larger squares on the Explore tab, are suggested to users in their feeds, and have the star spot on the Instagram navigation bar (right in the center!)

All of these features spell a big opportunity for uses to have their Reels content seen by existing followers – and potential followers!

However,  some types of Reels content now have priority, and some will start declining in the algorithm. We’re going over what you need to know in the next section!

Changes to the Instagram Reels Algorithm You Should Know About

A few changes to the algorithm and some new best practices from Instagram will help guide your Reels content strategy. Here are the most  important points:

Reels Reposted From Other Platforms Won’t be Recommended

And yes, this  includes TikTok videos! Here’s what Instagram had to say about it:

“We’ve heard that low video quality reels (i.e.blurry due to low resolution) or content that is visibly recycled from  other apps (i.e. contains logos or watermarks) makes the Reels experience less satisfying.

So, we’re making this content less discoverable in places like the Reels tab.”

Humor and Entertainment Will Be Recommended

This one should come as less of a surprise, but after surveying users and observing interactions with recommended Reels, Instagram is doubling down on engaging, light and humorous Reels.

“People tell us they want to see entertaining, funny, and interesting content in places like the Reels tab, and we’ve gotten better at recommending that.”

Heavy Text Reels Are Out

Like the recycled content we mentioned before, Instagram has hinted that Reels content made primarily of text over the images won’t be as likely to be recommended. This applies to other formatting styles too, like videos shot in horizontal mode, and videos with borders around them.

Tips to Make Reels Content That the Algorithm Likes

So now that you know some of the confirmed changes to the way the Reels algorithm operates, here’s some tips from Instagram on how to make Reels content that is more likely to  be recommended!

Make Reels that Are Entertaining and Fun

Use your Reels content to inspire a laugh, a smile, surprise and delight or has an unexpected twist. Even if you’re someone who likes to post tutorials and recipes, consider a humorous slant for your Reels content – and save the in-depth explainers for Posts and IGTV!

Make Reels That Are Inspiring

In this tip, Instagram clarifies “start a trend that others can easily participate in.” That makes sense when you see how popular Instagram challenges are, with many users making their own  versions of popular Reels prompts.

When approaching content this way, think of a viral factor to your content. What can you challenge other users to recreate themselves? Look to current Reels and TikTok trends for inspiration.

Make Reels With All the Creative Tools At Your Disposal

Reels is equipped with text options, filters, camera effects and music! Use all of these when possible in your Reels content.

And if you can create a Reel directly in the app rather than uploading a video, this will make the editing process much easier!

Make Reels That Are Experimental!

Stories brought brands and Instagram users a little freedom away from their feeds (Stories only live for 24 hours, while a Feed is forever!)  and Reels is an  opportunity to do the same thing.

Don’t feel so constricted by your brand or aesthetic that you don’t step out of the box and play around with new ideas or challenges. You never know when you might become the next big hit!

Try something new, be yourself and have fun!

Make Reels that Are Entertaining and Fun

Use your Reels content to inspire a laugh, a smile, surprise and delight or has an unexpected twist. Even if you’re someone who likes to post tutorials and recipes, consider a humorous slant for your Reels content – and save the in-depth explainers for Posts and IGTV!

Make Reels That Are Inspiring

In this tip, Instagram clarifies “start a trend that others can easily participate in.” That makes sense when you see how popular Instagram challenges are, with many users making their own  versions of popular Reels prompts.

When approaching content this way, think of a viral factor to your content. What can you challenge other users to recreate themselves? Look to current Reels and TikTok trends for inspiration.

Make Reels With All the Creative Tools At Your Disposal

Reels is equipped with text options, filters, camera effects and music! Use all of these when possible in your Reels content.

And if you can create a Reel directly in the app rather than uploading a video, this will make the editing process much easier!

Make Reels That Are Experimental!

Stories brought brands and Instagram users a little freedom away from their feeds (Stories only live for 24 hours, while a Feed is forever!)  and Reels is an  opportunity to do the same thing.

Don’t feel so constricted by your brand or aesthetic that you don’t step out of the box and play around with new ideas or challenges. You never know when you might become the next big hit!

Try something new, be yourself and have fun!

Pin Me For Reference 📌:

Kristen Dahlin is the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind — your new Marketing team, helping you create social media designs, schedule posts, and optimize across Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with one easy-to-use social media management tool. Kristen lives in rural Oklahoma with her husband Kyle, daughter Sophie, boxer Lila, and a very temperamental flower garden.

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Kristen Dahlin

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