What is a Smart Instagram Feed and How to Outsmart it

“Smart feed” which appeared back in 2016, has become a real tragedy for active Instagram users. If before it was simple: post a photo of a sunset – get likes and enthusiastic comments from friends, now complex algorithms force users to fight for the attention of the audience.

Yes, coverage is now obtained by generating quality content, and the number of subscribers has rapidly receded into the background. In this article, we’ll explain how Facebook’s tribute has affected Instagram, and we’ll reveal secrets to help please the finicky algorithmic feed.

What is a smart Instagram feed?

To understand this multi-faceted phenomenon, we need to go back a bit to the origins of the introduction of the smart feed, when posts began to be displayed not by date of publication, but arbitrarily, relying on Instagram’s unknowable algorithms. Yes, they began mercilessly “mowing down” low-quality photos of food, cats, and sunsets that didn’t gather the right amount of likes.

The upgrade took place in 2016, and the influence on the modification of the social network, of course, was Facebook – the pioneer of the algorithmic feed. Up until that point, the user was greeted by a “That’s all for now” notification, notifying him that the user had finally sorted through the chaos of the posts and browsed through the feed until he had won.

The social network’s popularity grew and the number of users skyrocketed. Naturally, this had an impact on the content being aired. There was much more of it, but for some reason, no one thought about the quality. Then the management of Instagram made a volitional decision: to introduce an algorithmic feed so that first and foremost the audience saw high-quality content posts. Thus, receiving relevant content, users began to spend more time in the social network. Clever, isn’t it?

No one provided official information about the modification of the social network, but all active users immediately realized that it smells hot and now the posts will have to work hard. In January 2019, Instagram confirmed these speculations in a series of tweets.

How a smart feed is formed?

A smart feed is when you publish a post, but it’s not visible to all followers. Yes, it’s sad news, but this is how Instagram seeks to combat the assault of low-quality content.

True, this does not mean that the social network is hiding any posts from you. If you are subscribed to a large number of accounts, it makes sense that the lion’s share of publications you simply can’t keep up with. Therefore, they are automatically moved down so as not to distract you from the main content.

What does the order of posts in the feed depend on? The publications of the accounts with which you:

– interact with frequently on Twitter;

– interact with frequently by visiting the page;

– Provide feedback by responding to posts with comments, likes, and reposts.

For example, accounts with which you’ve been vigorously communicating in private messages will be among the first in the feed. The quality of the content in this case does not play any role.

The social network also carefully analyzes your interests: hashtags, search terms, subscriptions. The purpose of this is very clear – to find the content to which you are most actively responding.

From time to time Instagram conducts “test days”. What does this mean? You are shown the publications of those profiles to which you are subscribed but for some reason do not interact with them. Instagram monitors your level of interest and if the post deserves likes and comments, it will be shown again. If not, it will disappear from the feed again for a long time.

Let us tell you a secret: the algorithms track the time you spend on the platform. Have you ever gone to the “Your Activity” section in your Instagram settings? No? And you should, the numbers may surprise you.

With this item, it’s very simple. Instagram will show you as much content per day as you can view. Naturally, the amount of content for a profile that spends 20 minutes a day on the social network will be much less than for a user who stares at the feed for 7 hours a day.

How to oversmart the smart feed and increase your reach?

Don’t think that only the ill-fated smart feed is to blame for the decrease in coverage, because it supposedly wants to undo your efforts and efforts. Alas, there are other factors beyond the control of algorithms that influence the decrease in feedback:

Followers are hard to surprise. The amount of content on the social network is growing rapidly, so a beautiful photo and a profound quote are not enough. If before the photos of cats gathered tons of likes, now you have to sweat to impress the sophisticated audience with something original.

It used to be easier to get coverage. Before 2016, even a photo of scrambled eggs published during prime time, when half of Moscow was going to work and hanging out on their phones, could hit the feed and get a response, but now everything has changed. Now it is much more difficult to reach your target audience because subscribers will see quality content first, and then if they are lucky, your eggs.

Advertising. After the introduction of the smart feed, bloggers and commercial pages began to sin with ads. Whether users want it or not, even if they just scroll through it, they’re wasting time they may have spent looking at your publication.

If you are past the stage of denial and have accepted the fact that the algorithmic feed, unfortunately, is not going anywhere, it is time to move to the offensive phase and change something in your strategy to attract the attention of subscribers. By increasing engagement, you will automatically move up to the top of the feed and start to be featured in it more often.

How do you do it? Catch some effective tips.

Taken from: https://unsplash.com/photos/71Qk8ODIBko

Work on the quality of your content.

It’s not just about an attractive picture, it’s also about content. Publish quality photos that you want to look at. Travel bloggers are the easiest to work with because they can post incredible landscapes and locations.

Try to surprise subscribers with posts on relevant and provocative topics. Open-ended questions at the end of the text are a great way to get your audience talking and get feedback in the form of comments. If you have any problems writing posts, you can always ask the professionals to write my paper for me.

Even though the majority of Instagram users believe that the likes are just to amuse their self-esteem, this is not quite true. Comments and coveted hearts allow you to placate your algorithm feed and get more coverage.

More video…more video

Yes, photos and videos work the same way, but the advantage of video content is that it plays automatically, which means it’s guaranteed to grab people’s attention and make them stop while watching the video.

You don’t have to pull out a tripod, set up lights, and shoot something genius to satisfy the aesthetic needs of your followers. Just a little live video or a glimpse of a boomerang is enough.

Post stories regularly.

The Stories algorithm also pays a lot of attention to relevance, since the very essence of Stories is to show the latest news from users’ lives. Therefore, some accounts that post them frequently may end up at the top of the feed, even if you interact with them quite infrequently.

No, we’re not urging you to flood your followers with useless photos and memes every 2 seconds. Everything needs to be approached wisely.

Don’t ignore live events.

Live broadcasts are a cool way to engage with your target audience. Yes, broadcasts have nothing to do with your feed ranking, but when you start a broadcast, your followers are notified when it starts. That means you have an opportunity to get their attention. Especially since this type of content is much easier than video.

Add some interactivity

Games, Stories polls, contests, and giveaways can all greatly increase your reach. Subscribers give you a coveted reaction, and you, in turn, delight them with gifts. Everyone stays on the plus side.

But we recommend you not to overuse interactivity, because your subscribers might just get used to it and stop giving you proper feedback in the form of likes and comments.

Use bots wisely

Stealing subscribers is bad and even dangerous because you risk getting into the “shadow ban”. But no one forbids you to push your followers to actively interact with the published content. There is a logical question: how to bring this process to automatism, so as not to spend hours sitting with the phone in his hands?

Your indispensable go-to guy in this case is the acclaimed bot Jesica, designed to naturally auto-pay and increase the engagement of your own and other people’s followers.

Taken from: https://unsplash.com/photos/XB_VsYA-H7A

Inundate your audience with posts

In the timeline era, a high frequency of posts per day might have alienated subscribers and prompted them to click the unsubscribe button, but that trend has now passed into oblivion. Remember: the more the better.

Because of the algorithmic feed, users see only a fraction of the posts, so even if you put up three posts a day, it won’t annoy your loyal followers. And for you, it’ll help to test your content faster and see which photos and videos “get” your audience and which don’t.

Publish when followers are online.

Publish your posts at a time when most of your audience is online. That way you’ll increase your reach and get good feedback.

Here’s how it works: When a post is actively liked, it automatically appears in your feed, even for subscribers who rarely interact with your content.

Thanks to the speed of the “hearts” set, you can even make it to the top by hashtags. However, you need to approach their selection wisely.

Fix Instagram couldn’t refresh feed (100% working)

Almost all of us check Instagram as one of the most popular social media platforms when we wake up every day. But what will happen if one day you face Instagram couldn’t refresh feed error? In such cases, the first question that comes to mind is why I couldn’t refresh feed Instagram am I blocked? So, we have made the below list for you, and there we will talk about the reasons and the solutions of how you can solve this Instagram error.

How to Fix “Instagram Couldn’t Refresh Feed”?

And now that you know all the possible reasons cause the “Instagram couldn’t refresh feed”, it is easier to find a solution and fix this error. Check the below list and find the best one based on your case.

  • Change your internet connection source:

If you guess your problem is due to a poor internet connection, the best way is to change it from WiFi to mobile data or vice versa. Or you can get in touch with your service provider and ask for help from them.

  • Just wait it out:

When you check Downdetector and know that the “Instagram can’t update feed” error is because of a problem with the app’s server, all you can do is wait until the problem is resolved.

  • Use your phone’s auto-update feature:

Whether you are an Android or iOS user, the best thing you can do to avoid issues from out-of-dated apps is to use an auto-update configuration. If you do not know how, follow the below steps based on your phone system.

Set up the auto-update on Android:

  1. Go to the Google Play Market.
  2. Select the Settings tab.
  3. Choose Connection settings and Auto-update applications.
  4. Enable the auto-update, and that is done.

Set up the auto-update on iOS:

  1. Go to your phone’s settings.
  2. Choose the App Store.
  3. Find the Automatic Downloads section.
  4. From there, tap on the Apps and App Updates option and enable it.
  • Set your phone’s date and time automatically:

Like the previous option, you can choose to set your date and time automatically whether you are an Android or iPhone user and prevent issues like Instagram couldn’t refresh feed by following the below steps.

Set your date and time automatically on iOS:

  1. Go to settings and choose the General option.
  2. Then, tap on Date & Time.
  3. And turn on the “Set Automatically” option.

Set your date and time automatically on Android:

  1. Go to settings and choose “Date & Time”.
  2. Turn on the Automatic toggle.
  • Try another device:

Also, it might be helpful to change the source you are using to connect your account. For example, if you are now using your mobile and you face the Instagram couldn’t refresh feed error, change it to desktop and try to log in through the Instagram website or vice versa.

  • Clear the app caches:

As you know, temporary files are saved in your phone’s memory as caches, and while they do not carry important information, they cause errors and issues like Instagram feeds not showing up. So, the best way is to delete them.

Clear Android device caches:

  1. Tap on the Instagram icon and hold your finger.
  2. Choose the About application tab.
  3. Then select Memory and click on the Clear cache button.

Clear iOS devices caches:

  1. Go to your phone’s settings.
  2. Find General and choose it.
  3. Then select iPhone Storage, find the Instagram app, and choose it.
  4. Now there are two possible ways. First, you can click on the Clear cache button, or delete the app and download it again.
  • Contact the Instagram support team:

If none of the above ways were helpful or in case you are suspicious about an issue with your account, the best idea is to check your account for a hack by going to Instagram settings (profile → burger menu → Settings)> Security tab> Login Activity. Or contact the app support team and ask for help from them.

Why do I get “Instagram Couldn’t Refresh Feed” error?

Before anything, let’s find the reasons that might cause you to face the instagram couldn’t refresh feed error, such as:

  • Poor internet connection:

The first and most possible reason, no matter, you are using WiFi or mobile data, is a poor internet connection with low speed.

  • Instagram is Down:

Just like all other social media platforms, as an Instagram user, you might face errors, like instagram couldn’t refresh feed because of an issue from the app servers. And to check this point, you can use services like DownDetector.

  • An out-of-date app:

I should also add that it is necessary to always keep your installed Instagram app up to date because in many cases Instagram bugs are due to the app being outdated.

  • Wrong date and time:

As you might know, Instagram syncs the date and time with your phone settings, and if it has been incorrectly set on your device, it can cause issues, like not loaded Instagram stories or errors like “Couldn’t refresh feed”.

  • Using third-party apps:

Here, I should add that Instagram is very strict about those who use third-party apps as an automation tool to do Instagram actions, such as liking or commenting. So, that can be the other reason you get the “Couldn’t refresh feed” error, because the app thinks you are a bot and temporarily blocks you.

  • An issue with your account:

Couldn’t refresh feed Instagram am I blocked? This item is the last one I want to mention. Sometimes, you might face this error because your personal data has been stolen or your account is hacked by someone else, or disabled by the app.

Besides, if you log in on several devices at once or even use third-party tools to log in, it may freeze when updating the feed.


Couldn’t refresh feed Instagram, am I blocked

There is no sure answer to this question but as I have mentioned above, sometimes that can be due to an account-related issue.

Instagram couldn’t refresh feed challenge required

While this case can be due to different reasons, one of the most possible ones is using a third-party app.

Instagram couldn’t refresh feed on one account

That can be a result of a wide collection of reasons from a poor internet connection, server down issues, app bugs and glitches, outdated apps, or wrong date and time.


Couldn’t refresh feed Instagram am I blocked? This might be the first answer that comes to mind when we face such an error, but in the above text, you read about all details, reasons, and fixes for this problem. But if you still have a not answered question or any successful experience in solving this error, share them in the comments.

What Makes A ‘Top Post’ On Instagram?

When we ask the question “What’s your favorite social platform?,” to our socialites or peers in the community, we often receive the response of “Instagram!”Which is awesome–we LOVE Instagram too !

Although, if so many entrepreneurs are loving Instagram, we want to be using its features most effectively to get eyes on YOUR content, right?Right! So–have you noticed, since Instagram’s latest update, that there is now a “Top Posts” section on the top of every hashtag or geotag hub?

What does top mean on Instagram?

The top on Instagram means that shown Instagram account is closer to your words written in the search bar. It might happen for you to search for something on Instagram and you see the research results come into different categories. The first categories named “Top” which means the closest results to your search.

This top has many advantages for users. If someone look for something, for sure they choose very first results which come into top section on Instagram search. This can be the same as the results come into google first page. yes, what you see in top, in equal what you see on the first page of google when you search there.

Now, imagine thousands, or even millions of users search for a same word daily, such as Kardashians. The example of this search in shown in the picture below.

The probability of getting into other similar accounts is high. It is true that there is blue badge beside the main accounts, but still other results will show up.

So, getting into top is very important if you want to get more followers on Instagram. but how to get in the Top section of Instagram is important. Apparently, there are two main factors that should match the keywords in the search bar:

  • Username
  • Name

Yes, if you check the words in the search bar, you could see that is the same as what is written in the username or name section. So, Instagram would suggest you the closest account to your search. the main point is that, if you assume that someone may look for you on Instagram by whatever they are searching, you should insert that keyword in the username or name section of your Instagram bio.

How does instagram choose top posts?

Here’s what I’ve found:

Instagram’s “Top Posts” take into account the speed of interacting and engagement ratio.

What do I mean by that jargon? I mean that it’s not only the amount of likes that is placing them in this category but also a few other factors!

As you can see, in the hashtag #bandotodolist, there are images in the “Top Posts” that range from tens of likes to thousands of likes! Why?

Well, there are a few things to take into consideration:

The engagement rate. Or the percentage of interactions compared to the amount of followers. For example–the account @bellobeautyco received 5127 likes on this image (when we last checked). With 516k followers, that means about 10% of the account’s audience is engaging!

So it’s not about how many likes you get but rather how engaged your audience is with your content!

How to get on top posts on instagram?

Next, from what I can gather, there is some element of time used in this part of Instagram’s algorithm. It’s seems that accounts who have their audience interacting on their images/videos very rapidly tend to be the ones favored for this “Top Posts” section.

Pro Tip: If you already use industry-related hashtags (for example, we could use #mycreativebiz to get in front of potential new customers), go ahead and add those to the comments on your post. This will allow your post to stay nice and clean and appear less spammy to your audience all while still increasing the reach of your post to new faces. Then, when you’re adding those industry-related tags, make sure to add a “vanity hashtag” to increase the amount of fast-action ‘likes’ that your post gets. For example, we could add something like #ihaveathingwithfloors or #coffee to our post. These vanity hashtags are less likely to lead new customers our way because of the sheer amount of volume that posts are tagged with these BUT you will see a lot of fast-action ‘likes’ which will come it and help your post rise to the Top Posts of #mycreativebiz and help that post stay there longer. Which as you can imagine, can help you get in front of new customers for a longer period of time. Make sense?

Lastly, there are only 4,000 images in this hashtag, so there aren’t as many images with thousands of likes to ‘compete’ with on a small hub like this, compared to #thatsdarling which has 1 million+ photos in their hub and a considerable amount of those images having thousands of likes/comments.

Instagram has been extremely vague about how they define “Top Posts” so I am sharing what I have observed. Instagram describes the “Top Posts” as those which are ‘trending’ but as I just demonstrated, users that have a higher engagement ratio and a rapid engagement speed, have ranked among the “Top Posts” over those who have achieved more likes (who, in theory, would be up there if it’s simply about likes).

Another theory I would like to explore is the idea that the “Top Posts” algorithm possibly considers the credibility of the account posting and the accounts interacting (just like in SEO, where the link is ranked higher if it comes from a respectable site). Just an idea at this moment… I hope to find out more as concrete information develops!

Now, all this information is great, but how can YOU use this “Top Posts” feature to your advantage?

Gain Inspiration

When you are trying to come up with inspiration for your photos/video for your social media accounts, consider checking the “Top Posts” on hashtags used in your industry.

For example, if you are an organic juicing company, you might want to check out #coldpressedjuice, #juiceservedhere or #organicjuice to see what content is doing really well in the community at the moment! This way, you can include different kinds of photos into your content if you have been stuck in a rut.

Grow Your Reach

Instagram’s goal with their new search, explore page and “Top Posts” sections are to grow the capabilities of people finding new accounts to follow and to interact with! They express this with their statement–”How can you find content that you wouldn’t otherwise see on your feed? It’s always about content that’s not coming from people that you directly follow.”

So, to execute this awesome feature to grow your reach:
Find and use small hashtag hubs (in the thousands range rather than tens/hundreds of thousands) that you have a chance to stand out in! Develop a list of these hashtags to paste into your first comment and see if they increase your reach!

Do you need help getting a better grasp on how to define the best hashtag strategy for YOU? You’ll love this!

Gear Your Content to Your Niche

Rather than just slapping random hashtags (#sunset, #girl, #cali) on your photos, find what hashtags are killing it in your niche! This way, you can connect with other creatives in your industry and develop personal relationships.

Now remember, the elements (that I can find) which affect your content ranking as a ‘top post’ are:

  • Having a large percentage of your audience engage on your post
  • How quickly your audience interacts
  • Using hashtags that are smaller and catered to your niche

Have fun using this tool and happy posting!

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