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Cracking the Instagram Reels Algorithm in 2022


The Instagram algorithm is forever changing and we know, it can be hard to keep up with. So, if you’re trying to gain followers or increase your reach on the platform, you might have wondered if there are any quick and easy hacks you can deploy to cheat the algorithm and score some easy wins.

This year, Instagram announced that it no longer considers itself to be an image-sharing platform and it’s focusing all its efforts on becoming a legitimate rival to video platforms like Youtube and TikTok.

And if you want to be anything like TikTok, a strong algorithm is essential. That’s why you’ve probably noticed that its sole focus at the moment is Reels. You’ll also have noticed that every video you now upload will automatically be turned into a Reel, whether it’s landscape or portrait.

And while the answer to how to hack the Instagram Reels algorithm isn’t entirely simple, there are some tips you can implement. After all, When you know what the algorithm wants from you, it can only help right?

Here are our top quick-fire dos and don’ts for hacking the Instagram Reels algorithm in 2022.

Don’t visibly recycle content

This isn’t just about reposting your own content over and over in an attempt to make it land. If you’re sharing someone else’s content or cross-posting your own videos from TikTok, Shorts, or other editing apps, make sure to remove watermarks.

There are apps that will do this for you, or you can natively upload the same video separately into each app – this is your best bet for hacking the algorithm. Instagram favours what it believes to be original, native content. See our blog on how to remove TikTok watermarks.

Don’t upload low-quality content

It goes without saying that low-quality content will work against your engagement rate. And we’re not just talking about the subjective quality of the topics, tips, and original videos you share. We’re talking about the resolution, the design, and the overall look of your content.

To ‘hack’ the algorithm, make sure your content is hi-res, avoid low-resolution content wherever you can, make sure it has no visible borders, and don’t use horizontal videos on Reels, which are designed to be vertical. Check your iPhone camera settings before you proceed with filming your content.

Do use Instagram tools

We’ve already mentioned that Instagram’s Reels algorithm loves native content, and that goes for its tools, too. Using Instagram’s own filters, text, original audio, and music from the Reels library will all work in your favour and increase your engagement.

TikTok has its own distinctive versions of all these things – especially its closed captioning – and if Instagram gets a whiff of their competitors’ features in your Reels, they’re likely to drop in their algorithmic ranking.

It takes a little extra effort, and if you love TikTok’s look you might not find this as aesthetically pleasing, but it’s worth it when it comes to working in favour of the algorithm.

Do create original content

Similar to our first tip – don’t visibly recycle content – this hammers home the need for truly original Reels if you want to make friends with the machine. As well as editing any cross-posted content, all creators should be fully focused on developing their own, unique Reels.

Start trends if you can. Be experimental with the kind of content you’re producing. And above all, make it shareable. Sure, not everyone can be a viral sensation, and ‘starting a trend’ isn’t as easy as it sounds. But rather than jumping on a theme that’s already been doing the rounds for a week, think about how you can evolve or adapt your own take to feel fresh and exciting, and not just another repeat of the same old thing. And most of all, have fun!

Have you ever considered hiring a social media agency to take your business to the next level and help with your Reels content? We’re one of the largest on the South Coast with an excellent reputation for our expertise across a variety of sectors including hospitality, B2B and ecommerce social media.⠀

Find out how we can help you over the coming months and beyond – get in touch and let’s talk social!