What is an algorithm?
In computer science algorithms are defined as a set of rules to solve a problem. If for example, you want to use an algorithm to know the result of 3(5+5)-10=X the algorithms will need to be set to follow the order of operations. If set correctly the result will be 20 and not 10 or 0.
Algorithms should solve a problem most efficiently while also not being actually composed of code but just enunciating the rules and allowing it to be implemented in different programming languages.
Why do social media use algorithms?
In social media, algorithms are used to rank content based on user preferences. The rankings are used to show each user content they will find fitting their taste.
Considering the amount of content posted each day on social media, algorithms are essential to present the user with a better experience, filter through the noise, and highlight content that is going to drive engagement.
Why social media algorithms are important?
Algorithms not only base their ranking on users’ preferences but also on platform-wide settings. Each platform has specific triggers that will boost content circulation based on content format, engagement metrics, or other factors.
When working with social media platforms, it is important to be aware of these settings to create content that will have a better chance of being boosted and served to your audience by the algorithm.
Social media companies are not keen on sharing the exact inner workings of their algorithms to avoid bad actors flooding the sites with algorithm-friendly content that would have the only merit of being crafted exactly to fit the algorithm specifications.
YouTube is the biggest video-sharing platform in the world and the second social media by number of users.
Every day over one billion hours of content are watched on YouTube.
Founded in 2005 by 3 ex-PayPal employees, YouTube rapidly became the house for video content on the internet.
In 2006, Google acquired the website.
While the platform has been mainly the home of long-form video content, in 2020, YouTube launched its Shorts feature. Catering towards the short-sized content that had made the fortune of TikTok and Instagram Reels.
YouTube Algorithm Overview in 2023
YouTube algorithm focuses on maximizing watch time, therefore, it mainly considers
- click-through rate
- watch time
- how many videos from the same channel the user has watched
Other secondary factors that weigh in:
- search history
- previously watched videos
- user demographic
YouTube Shorts Algorithm Overview in 2023
While relatively new shots are using a different algorithm for ranking and discovery. No certain information is out yet, but so far, we know it seems to prefer longer content 20-40 seconds, and content that is viewed in its integrity is going to benefit from the algorithm.
How to get the best out of the YouTube Algorithm
When dealing with YouTube, you want to focus on ways to maximize watch time and click-through rate. Consistent uploading, good initial hooks, and end cards are all best practices to maximize view time.
Each audience is inherently different, so many other aspects need to be adapted to your audience’s liking. Especially when it comes to video length, thumbnail aesthetic, and content category.
Instagram is the largest image-based social media platform in the world. It currently has over 2 billion monthly active users.
Founded in 2010, Instagram was acquired in 2012 by Meta. While initially only allowed photos to be posted, 15-second videos were introduced to the platform in 2013. In 2019, Instagram went after TikTok’s short video format with the introduction of Reels.
Instagram Algorithm Overview in 2023
The Instagram algorithm seems to use 3 main ranking factors and 3 secondary factors to organize the posts to show to each user.
The main factors are:
- Engagement. How close the creator and the viewer are to each other, if they message, leave comments, and so on.
- Interest. This is extrapolated by keeping tabs on which kind of content any user prefers to engage with and tends to show more of the same content to the user.
- Relevancy. Or how the content fits with current trends and how recent it is.
Secondary factors are:
- Frequency of use. Fewer app openings will translate into prioritized more relevant content.
- The number of following. More followers will translate into stronger competition for appearing in the feed.
- Time of the session. Shorter sessions are going to prioritize posts from close users.
- Information about the post. The amount of likes it received so far, how long ago was posted, and if it includes a tagged location.
Instagram Reels Algorithm Overview in 2023
Reels rely on a similar algorithm that ponders the user activity, the history of interactions with the creators, and the performance of the reels themselves to determine what content should be shown.
How to get the best out of the Instagram Algorithm
In late 2022, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri introduced what would have been the goals for Instagram in 2023:
- Instagram will strive to introduce users to new things
- Content that inspires conversation will be promoted
- Focus on original content over reposts
Based on these indications, it can be deduced that the direction of Instagram’s algorithm will take in the near future. If your goal is to make it big on Instagram, you should consider creating original content around which your community can rally and build upon.
TikTok is the main platform for short-format video content. It allows videos from 3 seconds to 10 minutes and is known to be powered by an algorithm extremely effective when it comes to promoting engaging content.
Launched in 2016, in China with the name Douyin and released to the international market in 2017. In 2018 it merged with another similar Chinese social media platform, Musical.ly. While Douyin and TikTok have mostly the same features and interface, there is no direct access to each other’s content.
TikTok is the favorite platform for Gen Zers and flaunts a billion monthly active users. TikTok is the most engaging platform with an average session duration of 10.85 minutes doubling Pinterest which is in second place with 5.06 minutes.
TikTok Algorithm Overview in 2023
TikTok algorithm bases most of its rankings on the previous user’s interactions with content. Therefore:
- Followed accounts
- Liked and favorited videos
- Videos watched to the end
- Content created
- Interaction with organic and paid content
- Creators, sounds, and videos hidden or marked as “non-interested”
Weights heavily in the choice of what is going to be presented in the “For You” feed.
Videos data like
- Sounds used
- Trending Topics
Are used to weigh the results in the Search function.
Other factors like language preferences, locations, and categories selected upon registration weight in the content ranking in minor measure.
Overall TikTok algorithm is tuned to provide users with more of the content they have shown to enjoy over pushing large accounts or historically viral content. Based on what we know about the method TikTok uses to rank content following or previous performances are excluded from the equation potentially allowing any piece of content to become viral.
How to get the best out of the TikTok Algorithm
As we saw compared to other platforms the TikTok algorithm plays in favor of small creators. And while many of the factors in the ranking are out of the creator’s control there are a few things that can be done to help your content perform better:
- Focus on a community
TikTok is known to span communities around many topics being books, farming, or anything else you vibe with. This translates into the possibility for your content to find an audience no matter what is the topic of it.
- Be fast
TikTok is known for short content, you need to grab your audience’s attention right off the bat.
- Engage with other users
Being an active participant in your community is a great way to create interest in your content and make them feel connected to you.
- Follow the trends
Use popular sounds and current trends to create content that has momentum and is going to easily connect with your audience.
- Use TikTok SEO
The right keywords and hashtags in the caption are going to make your content easy to discover.
As of April 2023, Facebook has 2.989 billion monthly active users, it is the most active social media platform, and the third most visited website just after Google and YouTube.
Founded in 2004 as a social media for college students, Facebook rapidly expanded to become the main social media platform. It welcomes many different kinds of content from text-based posts to photo album passing for any length of video content.
Facebook Algorithm Overview in 2023
Similar to Instagram’s algorithm Facebook ranks the content based on:
- Who posted it
Accounts with frequent interactions are shown more frequently
- Type of content
The algorithm takes into consideration which content a user is more likely to interact with and features it prominently
- Previous interaction with the content
Posts that are receiving high engagement are going to be more likely to be shown than the ones that have little engagement
The Facebook algorithm also features a prediction part in which by considering a user’s personal ranking along with other similar users’ rankings makes guesses on which kind of content a user is more likely to enjoy and provide more of it.
The best way to gain the favor of the Facebook algorithm is to foster the community around your content. Spark discussion and drive engagement in each post.
Concurrently the format of the content should be chosen to follow the community’s likings and again play along with the algorithm.
LinkedIn is the largest business-focused social media platform. With over 922 million users LinkedIn reaches about 16% of the population over 18 years old.
Founded in 2002, within two years LinkedIn reached 2 million users, 10 million by 2007. In 2016 the company was acquired by Microsoft which remains a subsidiary of.
LinkedIn Algorithm Overview in 2023
LinkedIn underwent an algorithm change at the beginning of June 2023. The most recent change was in line with the effort of the company to focus the platform around business and weed out personal content.
The new update features:
- Less reach for personal content, selfies, or non-business-oriented posts
- Less reach for long text posts, as a result of less impact of the time spent on a single post for its distribution
- Tagging in the comment without text is seen as spam
Overall the LinkedIn algorithm focuses on providing high-quality content from your closer connections to your feed. Once the closer connections react to your content, even better if they leave comments LinkedIn delivers that content to more users. In a sense, your closer fans are the litmus test for your content.
The LinkedIn algorithm also weighs the interest shown based on the user interactions with posts and groups in order to prioritize content in line with such interests.
How to get the best out of the LinkedIn Algorithm
The first and most important tip for making it big on LinkedIn is to develop an audience interested in your content niche. Since the algorithms try to match one’s interests with the content that it gets shown having a following that is closely interested in your content is going to play well into content distribution.
The content should also be crafted to encourage engagement. Therefore, posts that end with questions or push your audience to share their stories are going to play well for the algorithm.
And overall, be relevant and professional. LinkedIn is doing all possible to keep the feeds as professional-oriented as possible, share only content that fits in this track, or risk being penalized.