With over 2.35 billion people interacting with reels monthly, Instagram Reels has become one of the most popular ways for creators and brands to reach new audiences and drive engagement on Instagram. As more content floods the platform, standing out in the Instagram Reels feed and getting content seen is becoming increasingly competitive.
Luckily, there are some proven strategies you can use to hack the Instagram Reels algorithm in 2024 and give your content an advantage. In this post, we’ll explain precisely how the Reels algorithm works, plus share our top tips for hacking it successfully next year.
How Does the Instagram Reels Algorithm Work?
Much like the main Instagram feed, Reels uses an algorithm to decide which videos to show to each user out of the vast amount available. According to Instagram themselves, the algorithm is powered by machine learning. It aims to show people the Reels that are most interesting and relevant to them based on a number of ranking factors.
Key Instagram Reels Algorithm Ranking Factors
- Information – Does the Reel provide useful, factual, up-to-date information for viewers? Educational content tends to rank higher.
- Engagement – How well is the Reel resonating with viewers? Metrics like likes, comments, saves, and shares signal to the algorithm that a Reel is entertaining or valuable.
- Account authority – Established accounts with strong followers and engagement tend to see their Reels promoted more by the algorithm.
- Video quality – Well-lit, stable, high-resolution video grabs attention and keeps viewers watching longer, boosting your ranking.
- Original sound – Using popular or trending Instagram audio increases the chances of getting onto niche-specific playlists.
- Niche hashtags – Properly tagging your Reel helps get it seen by people interested in your niche, lifting engagement.
- Watch time – The longer people watch your Reel, the more signals to the algorithm that the content is compelling, leading to further promotion.
Now that we understand what content performs best, let’s look at some hacks for optimizing your 2024 Reels strategy.
8 Hacks to Improve Your Reel Ranking
Follow these Instagram Reels algorithm hacks to give your content an unfair advantage and take your account to the next level next year:
- Hook Viewers Right Away:
You have just a few seconds to grab the viewer’s attention before they scroll past your Reel forever.
Hook strategy ideas:
- Open with an interesting fact, statistic or question
- Feature cute animals or babies
- Use humor – tell a joke or do something silly
- Show off an exciting prop, product or location
- Do a popular dance or trend
The more creative and unexpected your opener, the better chance it has at getting people hooked.
- Educate and Entertain:
The Reels algorithm favors educational content that also manages to entertain and capture attention. So, always aim for facts, hacks, tips or behind-the-scenes footage that informs viewers while keeping them engaged through good storytelling. Short-form video courses and listicles also perform extremely well.
- Leverage Trending Content:
Latch onto trending sounds, songs, hashtags and meme formats that are blowing up within your niche. This helps get your Reel onto niche-relevant playlists and feeds and gives you a temporary boost while that content is hot.
- Dance trends
- Popular meme formats
- Viral soundbites
- Trending songs
- Topical hashtags
Stay on top of what’s trending by checking Reels and hashtags daily. Timing is critical for success here.
- Encourage Audience Participation:
The algorithm favors Reels that spark engagement and conversation via comments. Clever ways to directly ask questions or have viewers participate increase the chance of going viral.
- Ask viewers to comment their opinion on something controversy
- Do a poll or A or B testing
- Challenge viewers – “Can you do this dance better than me?”
- Ask questions – “What hack should I cover next?”
- Respond to Comments:
Beyond your initial caption and hashtags, manually replying to Reels comments shows the algorithm real humans are interested in the content, boosting future reach. So, aim to respond to at least 5-10 comments per Reel, asking questions back or furthering the conversation. This activity directly improves ranking.
- Cross-Promote with Feed Link + Hashtags:
Point your existing Instagram followers towards your new Reels by sharing Reel links in Feed captions. Ask them to head to Reels and like + comment on your latest videos. Also, include relevant hashtags in your Feed posts so both pieces of content work together to improve engagement.
- Re-Share Top Performing Reels:
Repurposing already popular Reels into new edits further maximizes your chances for visibility. Take your best standalone clips that received lots of engagement and introduce creative edits like zooming, text, effects, transitions and stickers to make them feel fresh.
- Post 1-2x Daily During Peak Times:
Posting more frequently means more chances at that coveted algorithm promotion. But timing also matters when competing for eyeballs.
Schedule Reels for when activity spikes on the platform:
- Early Afternoons: 12-3 PM
- Evenings: 5-7 PM
And whenever possible, double up with a second Reel later at night to dominate evening browsing sessions.
Additional Reels Tips & Tricks
Beyond directly optimizing for the algorithm, these best practices set you up for overall better engagement and attention:
- Invest in professional lighting + mics
- Use clean backgrounds
- Have good framing + camera work
- Text effects to highlight key moments
- Zooms for drama
- Use trending AR filters or effects
Leverage Captions Strategically
- Ask exciting questions
- Include niche hashtags
- @ mention bigger accounts
Interact With Other Reels
- Like + comment on Reels in your niche
- Reply to comments from other accounts
- Do remakes of popular Reels
- Pay attention to best times + types of content
- Identify highest traffic sources
- See follower demographics
Promote Outside Instagram
- Link to Reels from other social platforms
- Embed on blog posts and landing pages
- Include links in email newsletters
Ready to Start Hacking the Reels Algorithm?
As Reels continues evolving in 2024, staying on top of updates and fine-tuning your strategy will be key to creating content that performs. But with these proven hacks, you can feel confident your Reels stand a strong chance at ranking higher and getting results.
For even more Reels tips and industry-specific advice, get in touch with Social Sensei. We are a leading social media management agency that will help you ack the reel algorithm and take your follower’s count to the next level using expert strategies and proven techniques. To learn more, explore our website right away.