Guide to Instagram’s Algorithm & Engagement

Instagram’s algorithm values engagement, a lot like Facebook does.

In the article, I’ll break down how you can improve your engagement, besides creating better content – which obviously is the most important part.

How to measure your engagement rate

There are a lot of tools that can calculate your Instagram engagement rate, Try this free tool for example.

The Instagram Engagement rate is usually calculated by taking the Average Engagement Rate (%) Per Post = Total Engagement / Follower Counts / Number of Posts x 100
Instagram comments and likes

My Engagement is 8.5% based on my last 12 posts.

As you see, my engagement rate is 8.49% which isn’t anything crazy, but not that bad either.

How Instagram can measures engagement

  • Profile clicks. People who go to your profile from your post.
  • Comments: People who comment on your post
  • Likes: People who like your post
  • Saves: People who save your post.
  • Shares: People who send or share your post.
  • Maybe even screenshots: I’m not sure about this – but it’s possible.

Instagram Engagement Strategies & Tips

IG Engagement-Groups

These are groups made to help boost each other’s engagement. It’s basically a group on Facebook, Instagram, What’app or Telegram with people who like & comment on each other’s photos.

Should you participate in Instagram Groups?

It’s really up to you. I think it can help you, but I also think Instagram’s developers and the algorithm can spot what fake engagements. Especially if the engagement comes profiles that are unrelated to your topic.

How do you find engagement groups?

WolfGlobal is a popular place. But it’s often a mix of a lot of different niches. So ideally I’d suggest starting your own group if you want to go down that path. And remember, just because you see an increase in likes because of engagement groups, doesn’t mean you will get a bigger reach.

Instagram Shoutouts

An Instagram Shoutout is when another person mentions you profile in either their Instagram Story or in a post. If you get a shoutout from a big relevant profile, it will give increase your followers and if the followers are relevant, it will also increase your future engagements.

How do you get a shoutout?

Some people sell shoutouts. Some people trade shoutouts.

Shoutout For Shoutout

Some people trade shoutouts, which is called “shoutout for shoutout”.

It means that you and another person features each other. This tactic makes a lot of sense because it benefits both of you and comes with a cost. The problem with this strategy is that you need a lot of followers to attract other large Instagram profiles, to want to trade shoutout for shoutout. If you have 500 followers and the person you approach has 10.000, he or she probably don’t want to trade with you, because of your limited reach.

I personally haven’t done much in Instagram Shoutouts – not really sure why, because I actually think the strategy makes a lot of sense and it’s something I want to do more of in the future.

Instagram Power likes

When I first heard about Instagram Powerlikes I was immediately intrigued.

Buying powerlikes means that you pay someone or a network/group of large Instagram accounts, to immediately like your photo when you post. The idea is that it will tell Instagram your post is “trending” and will, therefore, show it on the explore page and in the Top Posts of the hashtags you use.

I tried this for a month actually. And while it gave me a lot of likes, really fast, from accounts that have 50.000-500.000 followers, I really didn’t see any crazy boost in reach or impressions. I think I paid 150 USD for it and it didn’t do me anything good.

The problem with powerlikes, and with my experiment of buying them, was that the accounts I got likes from, were very irrelevant from what my account is about. My account is about street photography and all the large accounts who liked my photo, were meme-accounts, fitness accounts, and motivational-accounts. And the reason for that is that those accounts are usually easier to grow and is there for what the people who sell powerlikes, has a lot of.


  1. How you can estimate your Instagram Engagement Rate
  2. How I think Instagram Measures Engagement
  3. How you can increase your engagement rate
  4. How to hit the explore-page