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Instagram Algorithm Shift: Why ‘Sends’ Matter More Than Ever

Instagram prioritizes shareable content in rankings and reveals that the sends-to-reach ratio is key for improved visibility.

  • Sends-to-reach ratio is a crucial ranking factor on Instagram.
  • Instagram aims to promote content that users actively share with others.
  • Creating shareable content can potentially improve reach and engagement.

In a recent Instagram Reel, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, revealed a top signal the platform uses to rank content: sends per reach.

This metric measures the number of people who share a post with friends through direct messages (DMs) relative to the total number of viewers.

Mosseri advises creating content people want to share directly with close friends and family, saying it can improve your reach over time.

This insight helps demystify Instagram’s ranking algorithms and can assist your efforts to improve visibility on the platform.

Instagram’s ‘Sends Per Reach’ Ranking Signal

Mosseri describes the sends per reach ranking signal and its reasoning:

“Some advice: One of the most important signals we use in ranking is sends per reach. So out of all the people who saw your video or photo, how many of them sent it to a friend in a DM? At Instagram we’re trying to be a place where people can be creative, but in a way that brings people together.

We want to not only be a place where you passively consume content, but where you discover things you want to tell your friends about.

A reel that made you laugh so hard you want to send it to your brother or sister. Or a soccer highlight that blew your mind and you want to send it to another fan. That kind of thing.

So, don’t force it as a creator. But if you can, think about making content that people would want to send to a friend, or to someone they care about.”

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Adam Mosseri (@mosseri)

The emphasis on sends as a ranking factor aligns with Instagram’s desire to become a platform where users discover and share content that resonates with them personally.

Advice For Creators

While encouraging creators to produce shareworthy content, Mosseri cautioned against forced attempts to game the system.

However, prompting users to share photos and videos via DM is said to boost reach

What Does This Mean For You?

Getting people to share posts and reels with friends can improve reach, resulting in more engagement and leads.

Content creators and businesses can use this information to refine their Instagram strategies.

Rather than seeing Instagram’s focus on shareable content as an obstacle, consider it an opportunity to experiment with new approaches.

If your reach has been declining lately, and you can’t figure out why, this may be the factor that brings it back up.

Featured Image: soma sekhar/Shutterstock

Category News Instagram
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Instagram Algorithm Shift: Why ‘Sends’ Matter More Than Ever

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