How Does Instagram Know Who to Suggest: Unraveling the Instagram Algorithm

By: Ellen Bartolino

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media platforms, Instagram stands out as a hub of connectivity and discovery. With 2024 ushering in new features and sophisticated algorithms, understanding how Instagram suggests friends and content has become more intriguing than ever. At the heart of this experience is your Instagram account, a portal through which the platform tailors your social interactions. But how exactly does Instagram’s algorithm work? From suggesting accounts based on mutual friends to curating your Instagram feed through search history and hashtags, the algorithm is a complex machine.

As users engage with various elements like Instagram stories, Instagram posts, and suggested followers, the algorithm dynamically adjusts to offer a more personalized experience. It’s fascinating to consider what Instagram might know about our preferences and social circles. The platform’s ability to suggest accounts and content is not just a random process; it’s a carefully designed system that takes into account various factors, including phone contacts, linked social media accounts, and even your activity on other platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.

In this article, we will dive deep into the workings of the Instagram algorithm, exploring how it influences the suggestion list, affects the Instagram experience, and continues to evolve with new features. Whether you’re curious about how Instagram suggests you follow certain accounts or want to understand how your Instagram settings and actions, like the decision to delete or follow someone, impact your IG feed, this exploration will offer valuable insights into one of the most influential social media platforms of our time.

how does instagram know who to suggest

Understanding the Instagram Algorithm in 2024

As we delve into 2024, the Instagram algorithm continues to be a topic of fascination and curiosity among users of the platform. This algorithm, an intricate system behind your Instagram feed, suggestion list, and Instagram stories, is designed to enhance the user experience by personalizing content and connections.

The Evolution of Instagram’s Algorithm: From 2023 to 2024

The transition from 2023 to 2024 has seen significant changes in how the Instagram algorithm operates. Historically, the algorithm primarily focused on follower interactions and hashtags. However, recent updates have introduced more sophisticated methods of content curation and suggestion list generation. Instagram now takes into account a wider range of user activities, including the time spent viewing certain Instagram posts or stories, search history, and interactions with other users on Instagram.

This evolution signifies Instagram’s commitment to creating an Instagram experience that is not only engaging but also deeply customized to each user’s interests and social circles. For instance, when you follow someone, the algorithm analyzes your interaction patterns and suggests similar accounts, potentially leading you to discover people who share your interests or belong to the same social circles.

How Hashtags Influence the Instagram Algorithm

Hashtags have always been a cornerstone of content discovery on Instagram. In 2024, their role has become even more pronounced. When you use a hashtag, you’re not just categorizing your post; you’re signaling to the algorithm about the content’s relevance to specific topics or trends. This helps Instagram in suggesting accounts and content that align with those themes.

Moreover, the algorithm now also considers the context in which hashtags are used. For example, a post with a #fitness hashtag that receives high engagement from fitness enthusiasts will likely appear in the Instagram feeds of similar users. This context-sensitive approach ensures that the content you see and the accounts suggested by Instagram are more aligned with your actual interests.

As an avid Instagram user, I’ve noticed the algorithm’s evolution firsthand. For instance, when I started exploring travel photography, my feed and suggestions quickly filled with accounts featuring breathtaking landscapes and travel tips. It felt like Instagram knew exactly what I was interested in.

How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work for Account Suggestions?

Understanding how the Instagram algorithm works for account suggestions is key to unraveling the intricacies of this social platform. In 2024, it has become more refined, using a variety of factors to determine which accounts might be of interest to you.

Analyzing Your Instagram Account for Tailored Suggestions

The algorithm’s first step is to analyze your Instagram account. It looks at your follower list, the types of accounts you already follow, and your overall activity. For example, if you’re frequently engaged with content about gardening, Instagram’s algorithm is tailored to suggest accounts related to gardening, leveraging its design to help users find relevant content.

It’s important to note that the algorithm also considers your Instagram settings and search history. This helps in refining the accounts suggested for you, ensuring they align with your recent searches or expressed interests.

I recently started a small baking business and used Instagram to promote it. Initially, my reach was limited, but after consistently using targeted hashtags and engaging with similar accounts, I saw a significant increase in my follower count and interaction, demonstrating how effectively the Instagram algorithm connects users with similar interests.

Instagram settings and search history

The Role of User Interactions in Generating Instagram Suggestions

User interactions are instrumental in molding the Instagram suggestion list. Each time you follow people, like a post, or interact with content, you’re essentially guiding the algorithm to understand your preferences better. This learning process is sophisticated, taking into account not only your direct actions but also how other IG users respond to your content. For instance, if your posts attract attention from photography enthusiasts, the algorithm might infer your interest in photography and suggest related accounts.

Moreover, the algorithm is designed to help users expand their social networks efficiently. By analyzing patterns like many mutual friends or shared interests, it can introduce you to new accounts that you might find appealing. This feature is particularly useful for those looking to use this feature to discover people on Instagram they might not have encountered otherwise.

In essence, Instagram’s algorithm is a powerful tool that not only helps you reach a wider community but also enriches your Insta experience. Whether you’re looking to connect with someone’s Instagram profile you admire or explore Instagram’s suggested users, it works tirelessly in the background to facilitate these connections, proving itself as an essential Instagram feature.

Instagram’s Algorithm: What It Might Know About You

In the realm of social media platforms, few are as adept at personalization as Instagram. Its algorithm, a complex and ever-evolving beast, knows much more about us than we might initially think. Understanding what Instagram might know about its users is crucial in comprehending how it shapes the Instagram experience.

Deciphering the Data: What Your Instagram Activity Reveals

Every interaction on your Instagram account, from the posts you like to the stories you view, feeds into the algorithm’s understanding of your preferences. This goes beyond the obvious metrics like the accounts you follow or the hashtags you use. Even subtle behaviors, such as the amount of time you spend on a particular Instagram post or story, contribute to the algorithm’s profile of your interests.

Your search history on Instagram is particularly telling. It directly informs the algorithm about the types of content and users on Instagram you are interested in. This data is then used to refine your suggestion list, making it more likely that the accounts suggested will be of genuine interest to you.

Comparing Instagram and TikTok's Approach to User Data

Comparing Instagram and TikTok’s Approach to User Data

When we compare Instagram with other social media platforms like TikTok, it becomes evident that each platform has its unique approach to user data analysis. While TikTok is known for its highly dynamic and trend-based content suggestions, Instagram takes a more holistic view. It considers not only your in-app behavior but also potential connections through phone contacts, facebook friends, and linked social media accounts. This comprehensive approach allows Instagram to create a more nuanced and targeted suggestion list.

A study conducted by Oberlo in 2023 indicated that 70.8% of Instagram’s 1.3 billion monthly active users are under the age of 35. This demographic insight is crucial for businesses targeting a younger audience, as it helps tailor content strategies to engage this significant user base effectively.

Navigating Notifications and Suggestions on Instagram

The Instagram algorithm not only influences what appears in your feed and suggestion list, but it also plays a crucial role in the notifications you receive. Understanding this can significantly enhance your Instagram experience.

Understanding Notification Algorithms and User Engagement

Notifications on Instagram are not random; they are carefully curated by the algorithm to keep users engaged. When you receive a notification that someone liked your Instagram post or commented on your Instagram stories, it’s part of Instagram’s strategy to encourage interaction and maintain user interest. The algorithm determines which notifications are most likely to bring you back to the app, based on your previous interactions and engagements.

For instance, you might notice that notifications often involve posts or stories from accounts you frequently engage with. This is because Instagram’s algorithm has recognized these accounts as important to you, and thus prioritizes notifications from them to keep you informed and connected.

The Impact of Deleting Content on Your Instagram Suggestions

When you delete content from your Instagram account, it sends a signal to the algorithm about your changing preferences. This can have an immediate effect on the types of accounts and content that are suggested to you. The algorithm quickly adapts, recalibrating the suggested list to align with your new interests or disinterests.

For example, if you remove several photos related to a specific hobby, the algorithm takes note and may reduce the frequency of similar content in your suggestions. This dynamic adjustment ensures that your Instagram feed remains relevant and engaging, reflecting your current interests and preferences.

When you delete content from your Instagram account, it sends a signal to the algorithm about your changing preferences

Exploring New Features and Future Directions of Instagram’s Algorithm

As we look towards the future, Instagram continues to evolve, introducing new features and refining its algorithm to enhance the user experience. 2024 has already seen exciting developments, and there’s anticipation for what’s next.

The Latest Account Suggestion Features in 2024

A standout development in 2024 is the revamped account suggestion feature. Instagram has transcended traditional parameters like mutual followers and hashtags. Now, the algorithm leverages advanced AI to delve deeper into user behavior patterns, uncovering more intricate connections and interests. This means the accounts Instagram will suggest are determined by a blend of your current interactions and predictive analytics, considering potential interests you might not yet have explored.

This feature is designed for users who want Instagram to offer more personalized and relevant connections, expanding beyond the scope of existing social circles. It’s a sophisticated approach that Instagram uses to refine its user experience, making it easier to find and even follow accounts that resonate with your evolving interests.

Predicting the Next Big Changes in Instagram’s Algorithm

As we look forward, Instagram shows promise in integrating even more advanced AI and machine learning techniques into its algorithm. A key area of future development could be enhanced recognition of visual content. This innovation would enable Instagram to suggest accounts and posts by analyzing not just textual interactions like comments and hashtags but also the visual aspects of the content you engage with. Such a feature would represent a significant leap in how Instagram makes content recommendations, further personalizing the user experience.

Moreover, the potential for cross-platform data integration is on the horizon. Being a part of the broader Facebook family, Instagram might soon offer suggestions based on your interactions across various platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp. This interconnected approach could significantly expand your social network, introducing you to new communities and conversations.

In essence, Instagram is not just a platform where you frequently appear to scroll through content; it’s evolving into a more intuitive and interconnected space. As the algorithm becomes more sophisticated, it might even offer ways to manage or delete content you no longer wish to see, making your feed a true reflection of your current interests. With these advancements, Instagram is not just responding to how users interact; it’s anticipating what users might want to know and who they might want to connect with in the future.

Manage or delete content you no longer wish to see


In the ever-changing realm of social media platforms, Instagram’s innovative algorithm stands out, significantly shaping how users discover accounts to follow and interact with content. The advancements in 2024 have made Instagram more intuitive and user-centric, emphasizing the importance of relevant, personalized suggestions.

Central to Instagram’s appeal is its algorithm’s ability to curate suggested people and content based on user behavior, interests, and mutual friends. This smart curation not only enriches the Instagram following experience but also encourages users to expand their social networks in meaningful ways.

The algorithm’s adaptability is key; it learns from actions like how users scroll through the list, open the app, or interact with carousel posts. This ensures that even if you don’t actively manage your feed, the platform still tailors your experience subtly yet effectively. Features that allow users to delete unwanted content or use specific features for feed management offer more control, making Instagram a more customizable and engaging platform.

Ultimately, Instagram’s algorithm is a dynamic force, continually evolving to enhance user engagement and connection. It’s a crucial component that makes Instagram not just a platform for sharing but a space for discovering and connecting with a global community.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Instagram Determine Who Appears in the ‘Suggested People’ List?

Instagram’s algorithm uses various factors to curate the ‘suggested people’ list. This includes mutual friends, common interests indicated by hashtags and likes, and engagement patterns on the platform. The algorithm also considers the number of followers and profile pictures to suggest accounts that are relevant and engaging to you.

Can I Influence the Type of Accounts Instagram Suggests to Me?

Yes, you can influence your Instagram suggestions. Engaging more with certain types of accounts or content, like liking posts or following similar profiles, will prompt Instagram to suggest similar accounts. Conversely, scrolling past or not engaging with certain content tells the algorithm to reduce those types of suggestions.

Is There a Way to View More Suggested Accounts on Instagram?

To view more suggested accounts, you can scroll to the bottom of your Insta feed or visit the ‘Explore’ section. Instagram also offers a list of suggested friends in your profile section, which you can access by opening the Instagram app and navigating to your profile.

How Does My Activity on Other Social Media Platforms Affect Instagram Suggestions?

If you’ve linked other social media accounts to Instagram, the algorithm may use your activity on these platforms to refine its suggestions. For instance, friends or accounts you interact with on Facebook might appear in your Instagram suggestions, especially if you have your Facebook friends linked to your Instagram profile.

Can I Opt Out of Certain Types of Instagram Suggestions?

While you can’t completely opt out of all suggestions, you can influence what Insta suggests. If you don’t want certain accounts or types of content suggested, simply turning off notifications for those accounts or hiding their posts from your feed can signal to the algorithm your preferences. Additionally, regularly clearing your search history can impact the types of accounts IG suggests.

Author Bio

Ellen Bartolino

Ellen is a seasoned author and communication expert, with a particular focus on Instagram. Her extensive knowledge of the platform has allowed her to create engaging and effective content for businesses and individuals alike. Ellen has a proven track record of crafting compelling Instagram captions and influencer marketing.