The Instagram Algorithm

Tagzgen User Experience Strategy: The Instagram Algorithm

PDF Download: 20190201-tagzgen-instagram-algorithm

Date: 2/1/2019

Ever wonder what goes into a Instagram algorithm ?

Who decides what you see ?

How are posts ranked ?

What variables have more weight than others ?

Does IG care how I post or how frequently ?

How do I attract followers like bugs to a light ?

If you are like me, you wonder the above questions, and more. The following article looks into the basics of the metrics of Instagram, and why the do it. Greed. The purpose of the app is to generate huge mountains of data, which can be purchased, used, sliced and diced to make money for IG shareholders. Like FaceBook, IG has development teams that want to get you hooked and reward quality content over quantity.

Observe and strategize. Organize your content, and you can master the IG chess game, one post at a time. By studying popular posts, you can determine better engagement with viewers, and improve your ranking.

The Algorithm

Organized Chaos: Like Google, Instagram organizes and classifies data into one big number crunching game, called a database.

Structure: IG has fewer variables than a Google spidered website, and it’s perfectly formed with database ready hashtags. Media is limited to static photos, and movies less than 60 seconds.

Forced Compliance: Posts cannot exceed 30 tags, which forces the author to focus on more meaningful tags (which may be divided up in to caption and comments).

Tags: The most ingenious part of IG is its use of tags to organize data. Data is already pre-formed.

Hashtag Development

Caption Hashtags: Could you pick a easier way to set up a data mining database ? Well, you could, but then you’d be Google. It’s brilliant that they’ve developed a way to categorize and index content, and makes your relevancy easier to find. 

Observe: Spend time studying hashtags as they pertain to your goals, organize them and rank them (highest to lowest meaning) so that you can copy and paste into your posts.

Effectiveness vs. Quantity: Using a popular hashtag will result in your post being buried quickly. Search out more effective tags, that bring in more views and comments.

Understand The Game

Psy Ops Reinvented: Instagram had its engineers study and determine viewer addictions and ways to manipulate both authoring and engagement. The average attention span of viewers has been determined to be 60 seconds or less. Your scroll rate, click (like) rate, and other variables are all part of your ranking. It all boils down to your attention span, and how IG can use that to sell you advertising and coagulate your data manners and behavior which is crafted in a nice package to data buyers.

Ranking: Your ranking will determine how, where, and how often you’re seen. The more you understand how you are ranked, will ultimately help you achieve your goals with IG.

The Instagram algorithm has been developed by a team of developers (probably much smarter than you or I) over the years. They’ve taken lessons learned by Facebook (their owner) and Google that data mining is where the riches lie. 

Advertising: You’ve probably seen influxes of sponsored ads over the past few months from a high of ad placement every 4 posts in December, to maybe one every 10-20 posts now.


Here is a partial list of elements of the Instagram Algorithm which are weighted factors:

A. Initial Authored Post:

– post caption

– call to action (typically signed by a question mark ?)

– hashtags (tags)

– referrals

– references (urls which are not actually made active links)

– personal or business

– time to post original caption

– time to post additional comment tags

– frequency of posts per day, per week, per month, per year

– time of post

B. Reaction to Post (Engagement):

– views

– likes

– comments (active engagement)

– comments (active engagement)

– changes by viewers (i.e. deleted comments)

– viewer latency (how much time is spent loitering on the post, commenting, or links)

– scroll rate and latency

C. Follow-up Authored Post:

– reaction to comments (like or actual authored comments)

– post editing or modifying tags or @ referrals

– time to react to comments

D. Penalty Box Actions From Instagram:

– too many hashtags

– too many @ referrals

– too many edits (changes to post caption, tags, or referrals)

– too many deleted comments

– slow reaction time to comments

– duplication of captions, hashtags, and posts

– scroll rate and latency

– bot recognition or bot-like characteristics

– code of conduct infringements

E. Hashtag Top Posts and Recent:

– views

– likes

– comments

– edits

– bot recognition or bot-like characteristics

– code of conduct infringements

F. Pi

– the simple pi constant is usually in all algorithms which involve any type of chance

G. War of the Bots: Bots are becoming mainstream, and eventually, will take over the system (as we have seen in day trader programs on Wall Street). Automatic manipulation via robots are becoming the norm, and there are active algorithms to try and weed out the sometimes very camouflaged warriors and spies.

H. Story: 

Same subset of all the above. Just a unique angle to solidify the addiction, and dependency.

Purpose of Algorithm: Why does Instagram have a algorithm at all ? The purpose of any algorithm is to provide a few key elements, such as order, categorizing chaos, and forming data which can be used or sold. Some of the developers (as seen on Facebook) study addictions and try to get you to spend more time on IG (i.e. messenger) so you are a ripe audience for ads. Manipulating authors and viewers gives IG purpose and data, which can be sold. Your behavior is closely watched, and trends are the results which gives more stamina to sponsored ad prices, or selling of data. Categorically, this is the purpose for any social media site and program. The name of the game is tracking. Any social media app (site) is basically a complex database, which is a vast holy grail of data. Some of it is mined, all of it is stored, for later retrieval. The background motivational force is greed. IG needs to make profits for it’s parent company, and public shareholders. For the viewer, IG is peddling hope. Yes, hope. Hope that you’ll get views and likes, and recognition for what you do. For the business account, that hope is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Retaliation: As seen on Facebook, once the lambs saw the wolf in sheeps fur, they left in droves. The immediate reaction from IG was to back off on sponsored ads. What about the bot posts which are actually ads ? Ever wonder if a seemingly innocent post, was actually an ad ? Yup, they’ve already done that. While the IG social engineers try to feed your addiction, there’s a tipping point where the audience will leave the room. Finely tuning that tipping point is what a good algorithm will do. It will bring you to the edge, then back off, so you want more. It’s the classic definition of addiction. In many aspects, it’s a dependency relationship. That’s why they have the story. The story keeps your addiction fed on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.

It’s all about Control: IG and other social media is focussed on control. The basic human instinct of ego, is front and center. Who doesn’t want a bunch of views, likes, and comments ? It validates who we are (from a manipulator standpoint). Beauty is skin deep, and it shows on social media. IG can easily sell this as you become a Influencer, and learn how to monetize your audience. 

Mind Boggling Stats and Control: If you try to grasp the breadth of it all, it’s quite mind boggling. So break it down into parts, and figure out what you get out of IG, if anything at all. Compartmentalize what you want to do, and how you’re going to do it. Read the book, Extreme Ownership to get an idea of how to strategize, and organize your ambition.

What’s Your Goal ?  Sounds simple, until you mix in IG manipulation, but overall, what do you want to get out of your IG program ? Many just want to post photos, but many want to monetize their posts and make some money.

Set a Strategy: Whether it’s more views, comments (call to action), selling a product, or awareness, write down a strategy so you can outline how to achieve it.

Algorithm Myth: Many Influencers (including myself)  experiment which test the boundaries of the penalty box (i.e. too many hashtags, multiple content edits, etc.). As mere mortals, we can’t even begin to do battle with the development teams, but there are ways to help conform to their nifty little algorithm, to give you better placement. 

Ranking: Similar to Google, IG has a ranking system for its content authors. It’s one of the many algorithms in its quiver to have organized broadcasting and controlling of the masses. Prioritize the stream of outgoing great content from the authors, and stream in lots of fantastic data. In this case, spell check you post, and try to author your caption and tags with some degree of organization. Organize more important hashtags first. I’ve developed my own Filemaker database app to do this. Don’t duplicate captions or posts. 

Organize and Dominate: Organize your posts so that they have some degree of fun, whit, and clarity. Keep in the back of your mind that IG likes to see user engagement, since the name of the game is keeping viewers interested and loitering on the posts (i.e. more opportunity for sponsored ads). Author a caption to get better ranking.

Make Your Time Efficient: There’s no penalty for efficiency. The most valued component here is time – your time. I use a Filemaker database in a simple app solution on my iPhone, called Tagzgen. It boosts my productivity, allows me to focus on caption content, and not on structuring the caption post. Many IG’ers get too caught up (and boggled down) in the time it takes to actually form a post, and then post it.

Reality Check: So will you bulk post, or post for quality ? I’ve seen people post 1-3 times per day for their follower entertainment (including story), but the reality is that your quality will fall if you don’t have fresh content for each post. Sometimes too many posts end up with feeble content, and you leave altogether (poor user experience).

Perceived Value: Does IG do product shorting ? You bet. In this case, it means that because of the ranking algorithm, you may not be seeing what you want to see. For example, the top posts on a hashtag may be based on a formula that benefits IG (data harvesting or sponsored ads), and not what you want. Just compare Top Post versus Recent and see how they differ.

Posting Time: It’s 3 o’clock somewhere. I’ve seen some recent blogs on what time to post (i.e. post at 3pm). Well, that doesn’t take into account that the world is round, and full of time-zones. I would suggest posting to the time zone where your audience is located. If it’s worldwide, then it makes zero difference.

In the End: If this makes your head spin, take a step back. I now have social-media-free-Sunday. If all this gives you a headache, then bail. If you were to die today, and you asked yourself if the time spent on social media made any difference in your life, the answer might surprise you. Your life is a beautiful story, build it, keep it close, and share it if you think it has a message. This may or may not be on IG, or any other social media. Time is your worst enemy, but also your closest confidant. Don’t let others hijack your most valuable asset. 

Contact Info:  Author: Pepe.G6



Tagzgen App – Coming Soon

Tagzgen is a Instagram posting app is for those who want to organize their Instagram posts in a simple database, which allows the user to duplicate tags, lookup tags, and overall make posting faster. For some example posts, please visit my Instagram.

Tagzgen is a new app to make Instgram posting faster and more efficient

Tagzgen allows to you store hashtags # and use them in new posts.

Tagzgen allows you to easily click to lookup new hashtags, and then copy and paste them into your posts.

Tagzgen is a new app that also gives you real-time user posting tips to help engage your viewers and get new followers.

Night mode Tagzgen allows you to post at night with minimal eye strain.

Tagzgen Experience: Review of Extreme Ownership

Extreme Ownership. Most influential book of 2018. Get it, read it. Personal friends, I will give you a copy for free. It’s that important in your life. The gist of the book is to own what you do. Don’t make excuses. Empower yourself, and empower those around you, so they cannot fail you. Prepare, strategize, plan, and execute. You will become more efficient, more determined, more ambitious, and able to deliver on your dreams ~ Pepe [ 2018 – as a result of the book I’m developing a Instagram post and tag generator based on Filemaker called Results? Look at the followers and the views, and decide for yourself ]

It’s a fast read, and you will see immediate results.



Tagzgen User Experience Strategy: IG like a Dyson

Tagzgen User Experience Strategy:  IG Like A Dyson

PDF Download: 20181231-tagzgen-post-caption-comment-tag-like-a-boss

Date: 12/31/2018

Vacuum Up the Competition

Often wonder how to get in the Top likes on Instagram ? Try lots of trial-and-error, and you’ll learn the ways. I use the law of 3’s. I use Tagzgen app to prepare my post, hashtags, and then follow-up comment hashtags – all posted virtually simultaneously. I also do follow-up tags in comments, while leaving the post unedited. That way you don’t have to edit the post to get additional followers, likes, or comments to engage and maintain freshness.

Study high impact posts and see what engages comments, do something similar. 

Structure: While you’re limited to 30 hashtags (#), and 5 mentions (@) per post, I’ve found creative ways to initiate and engage views and freshness. Spend some time on your caption and three top hashtags, then divide comment hashtags as described below.

Most important is to develop good content, and they will follow. Don’t copy images, be original. 


Tertiary Posting: A algorithm post concept I’m developing, that uses three #’s in the Caption, then up to 27 tags in Comments, which can be updated.

Structure: Make a whimsical caption, and try to engage viewers. Be original. 

Dynamic: Look at popular posts, and try using their hashtags. Post in comments (not to exceed 30 total in post). After initial post, I’ve deleted and added new Comments with new tags, to add followers and views, it works.

Tags: Try to pick hashtags with less then 100k followers, or your post will be buried quickly with low views. While popular tags seem intuitive (to reach the biggest audience), it’s actually counterproductive (your post will probably never get seen).

Hashtag Development

Post Caption Hashtag: Pick and post the top three tags, that you want to be on the Top or most recent. Save additional tags for below the post caption (in the comments), which can be deleted and updated. Don’t repeat tags in the same post/comments. More hashtags get more engagement and viewers.

Comment 1st Set: 7 tags. Subject: noun (i.e. yacht, superyacht, jet, gulfstreamjet, privatejet).

Comment 2nd Set: 7 tags. Action: verb (i.e. flying, sailing, motoring, jetskiiing, party, motion).

Comment 3rd Set: 7 tags. Description: adjective (i.e. fantastic, partyallnight, sippingchampage, mood, crazy).


Instagram had its engineers study and determine that the average attention span is 60 seconds or less. If it works well for them, try to implement it with your post. Attract and engage. Crafting is more of an art, than science. Posting structure is more science than art.

Hierarchy: In that 60 seconds, try to review history of why something is, and your resolution.

Updating Hashtags in Comments: Comments can be deleted and new ones added (not to exceed total 30). Some say replacing hashtags will post at same time as original post, but that’s not what I’ve seen, they seem to refresh post to current time.

Contact Info: 

Author: Pepe.G6




Tagzgen User Experience Strategy: Reduce Digital Pollution

Tagzgen User Experience Strategy:  Reduce Digital Pollution

PDF Download: 20181202-tagzgen-reduce-digital-pollution

Date: 12/02/2018

Author: Greg G

Digital Pollution

Reducing your digital pollution makes for a better user experience, and the more likely you’ll have a revisiting user that results in brand loyalty.

In a CBS news article, “Cutting Through the Clutter,” it was estimated that we’ve gone from being exposed from 500 ads in the 1970’s to over 5,000 per day (in 2006). The StopAd Blog estimates that the average Facebook user is shown one ad every two minutes. 

If you frequent InstaGram, then you’ll have noticed that almost 4th post is now a sponsored ad.

So how do you reduce the clutter ? Develop a strategy that makes your view linger on your site, by removing annoying ads, and focus on one ad (if any at all). A better strategy is to sell or promote one specific thing. There’s a good chance that your viewer will respond if you have good content.


Pop-Ups: There’s nothing worse than when your viewing a page, and everything stops for a pop-up. Don’t use them.

What works ? AdWords. Simple text advertising that is nonintrusive to the user. If someone likes to follow, they’ll do it freely, not forced.

Spammy Ads: Try to avoid more than one ad per page. The shotgun method only confuses the viewer, and most likely will send them away quickly.

User Experience

Sharing: If you have a good post, image, or web-page, it will be shared. You can make it easier with one link, where the most popular shares go, but don’t list 10 links, that float on the page following you around like a homesick dog.

Clean Up: Reducing the digital clutter and confusion on a page, will result in more time and engagement on that page. Don’t have a add after every single sentence or bullet point.

Lists: Organize your content, and remember that your viewer has limited attention span. Make it worthwhile and deliver your message with a stunning image, or a bullet point list.


Experience: There’s no a hack for experience. Research and study what popular posts have in common, and copy them. Better yet, combine them into your own clever strategy to engage the user.

Questions: If you’re going to pose a question, make it original. 

Study: Research the psychology of engaging your audience. First identify which age group you are targeting, then hone in on that group and what inspires them. Then craft a message and keep it interesting. Focus on promoting or selling one thing.

Contact Info: 

Author: GregG




Law of Three Instagram Influencer

Tagzgen Solid Profit Strategy:  The 3s • Format • Principle 

PDF Download: 20181124-tagzgen-three-principle-user-experience-concepts

Date: 11/24/2018

Selling a Concept

The concept of user experience extends to attention, and engaging the customer in time and resources to purchase a product, service, or action.

The three basic motivators are product, profit, and time. When establishing and selling or promoting, the overall guide is selling a concept, and having a product to match that concept. 

Engage with only three items in a message. Most can’t remember more than a single point, but three is optimal.

PRODUCT: Sell a concept, not a product. In this case, the product is an extension of the concept.

PROFIT: You are here to make money right ? Don’t give it away, sell it, and make a profit. If you’re not making a profit, you’re selling to lose money, which makes zero sense. If you have excess inventory, bleed it, and be done with the product.

TIME: Time is the most valuable resource, and be sure your customers know that you’re saving them time. It’s one thing we have, that we can’t get back, so why lose it in the first place !




Spider Influencer For Better Page Ranking And Instagram User Experience

PDF: 20181124-tagzgen-spider-influencer

Driving traffic: Every wonder how redirect traffic to your website, while providing excellent user relevant content ?

Page ranking: While you can pay for advertising, why not do the page ranking Google search using your own rich content ? Not only do you save money (i.e. more profit), but get a genuine page ranking for the product or service that you’re offering.

How do I get better page ranking ? Content. Links. Redirects from other sources to your website. There isn’t one way to accomplish better page ranking, but a solid strategy will result in more page visits, and better ranking. Read the book, “Extreme Ownership,” and teach yourself how to develop and optimize your own clever strategies, to obtain, access, and enhance your user experience.

Can you give me an example of how to do this ? Sure thing. Look at our Search Engine Spider solution, which we made on Filemaker (Filemaker is a Mac/Windows/IOS platform that helps you get organized). The overall concept is to search for relevant PDF documents, and then use Filemaker to parse out the text and images for each page. Then take that data, and build your own html search-engine page, that you upload to your server (you can use GoDaddy or other hosting platforms), and then build a index link page, and make sure you link to it via your blog, Instagram post, etc. Here’s the kicker, on each page, have your own text ad (like AdWords), that allows the user to click on a link to your website, Instagram post, along with your email.

How does this improve my Google page ranking ? First, you have excellent, relevant content. Google loves this in their search bot algorithm. Second, on each page, you have content related keywords already in the text. Third, you are providing your visitor a great user experience by providing rich content. In the fast-paced, every-changing world of content delivery, you have to be smarter than the other guy. Do so with a strategy that helps both your visitor, and yourself, by increasing search visibility.

Can you show me an example of how this works ? Here is an example of the top Google searches for Instagram PDF, which were put into the Tagzgen Search Engine Spider solution build using Filemaker.