Playing with Instagram algorithm

During a brainstorming session one of our guys wanted to talk about hashtags, again!!, so we started a nice chat that we quickly moved to testing.

Look at this:
Account details: age 5 years old, good ER, steady growth. 60K
We wanted to test banned accounts, in all the forms that exists.
We started with the medium banned and then the totally banned.

Post one pic with 10 hashtags and one banned, let it be for a few hours.
Result: was expected…the posts didn’t show up in any of them

So we edited the post removed the banned and it showed in 10 hashtags after a few mins.
Nothing new here…

But now comes the fun part, in the second test we did the same but instead of editing the post we archived it and a few mins later we uploaded it again, not from archive, from the same phone without the banned hashtag.

We check hashatags and it was for all 10…but… 2 minutes later it started to dissapear from all hashtags!! We checked this from multiple devices.

Became an addictive task and after multiple times we can be sure that IG is flagging the image as spam and no doesn’t matter what you do it won’t show up in hashtags.

Any experience with this guys?

Note: We know about exif and so on, we didn’t change the image whatsoever intentionally.


That’s really interesting…I’m assuming you uploaded it to the same account? I’d be curious to see what would happen if

a) The image was reuploaded to a different account
b) The image was modified and uploaded to the first account

…basically to try to determine if the issue is image specific or account specific. If the image shows up in A then it suggests the problem is with the first account…

If a modified image does NOT show up (b) then it would demonstrate an issue with the account which to me would make sense. Posting to a banned hashtag red flags an account and if the account simply archives the image the account may still be red flagged because the offending hashtag post still technically exists.

That makes me wonder then if it might be prudent with accounts that have historically bad reach to maybe cleanse their archive and see if that possibly helps as hashtags get added to the black list routinely

Are you sure it’s possible to post twice in a row with the same hashtags and have both posts featured in the same hashtag section for the same people twice? Maybe this has something to do with a spam filter in case someone is uploading replicate images? In other words, have you tested the same thing without using a single banned hashtag, i.e. post, delete, repost with same tags, check?

Same account…You have an interesting view, we didn’t think about the archive, was not the point of the tests.

You can post many times and it shows up, we do are doing the experiment of 3 posts in a row for 10 days and all show up, with an interesting added value, if images are similar, type, color, etc, you have 3 of your images in the hashtag page in one row and called the attention of many people. (for big hashtags, other post may get between yours)
We did also the test you mentioned, when no banned hashtags were used all worked fine.

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i think it here where comes the role of modifying a bit reposted pics (exif,metadata…) , cuz at the end who knows maybe like this test prooved ig can linkup a specific pic as a ‘spammy one’ therefore dont make it reach audience

abosultely, some niches are really affected by this propably not knowing it when they repost same image in several accounts. Also depends how you source the images, there are many ways to get them.

i dont think sourcin can affect it , cuz at the end if you modify it after yes it will not be 100% unique but they have everything to know that you taken it from this or that place whatever sourcing method we use

Sourcing is fundamental. It’s not the same to download the image from the browser or to take screenshots or to use the API.

yes 100% but i mean they will know at the end whatever you do that you’ve taken it from their platform but yeh of course it differs and there are way better than other to source

If you mean that IG will know that you are reposting, not always, if you modify the image they won’t know. IG is not using AI to check if the images were previously posted, for that they only use the exif data. AI is used for categorization, clasification and filtering, when you check a hashtag like #blonde you see in the Top 99.9% blonde girls but when you check the Recent you can find many other pics. Hashtag relevancy is more important than ever.

What was the image?

I have had images show up in hashtags only to disappear a few minutes later. However, usually the image just won’t show up in hashtags at all if the image is flagged. There isn’t usually a delay in not showing up.

for the filtering what you mean exactly when they delete or restrict spammy content … to make platform more quality ?

Filtering methods could be used for several pourposes, we can see how IG uses it not only as anti-spam but also to keep cleaner lists of hashtags, the cleaner the list the better IG can show those posts to the people that the algo consider suitable for.

They technology is very similar to Google’s you can test it the link, so you will understand that it is not important anymore to just add hashtags, they must be relevant.

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never hashtag were ranknig accounts that use non matching one so for the targeted and relevant hashtag its logic yeah

the hashtags no longer counted because once it was archived, hashtag longer counted as it is off being pushed – it was not a recent post, it was a image pulled from archive – posted to show on the feed.
also, once edited – all impressions are redone – and if you waited say half and hour, the post will not be pushed anymore among the general public… and go down the list of other feeds.


That little link is actually pretty cool. I just spent like 10 minutes uploading different images to it just to see what would come up.

Do you think the keywords in the results for each image would be good hashtags to use on IG?

They can give you and idea but I think that those keywords are very generic however the system is getting better with more images added daily.

I got your point, but we only posted the image (that was also in archive) from one device, the other devices posted it as brand new image for those accounts. (We all used the same image file)

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