Stripping it back: Instagram’s updated algorithm seeks to revalue the creator-fan relationship

May 09, 2024

Influencer News

Stripping it back: Instagram’s updated algorithm seeks to revalue the creator-fan relationship

Does Instagram’s updated algorithm have what it takes to turn back time?

For years now, smaller creators have been struggling to make their mark and gain an audience on major social media platforms. 

With the rise of the For You page and the increasingly addictive TikTok algorithm, smaller creators are finding it harder than ever to not only build a following, but retain it. The concept of the follow button has all but gone out the window, with the majority of social media platforms adopting engagement based algorithms. 

Yet, Instagram’s updated algorithm might be finally addressing the problem. The platform announced recently that it will be adopting new features that prioritise smaller creators and original content. 

The question on everyone’s mind is, will it be enough? 


Instagram’s promises of a new, creator focused algorithm has raised hopes across the world. 

The platform announced earlier this month that it will be adjusting its algorithm in order to better suit and support smaller creators. Traditionally, Instagram’s algorithm has swayed heavily towards account’s with larger followings and aggregator accounts. 

Instagram’s updated algorithm seeks to boost original content, and is part of Meta’s broader aim to strengthen the connection it has with its creators. 

Many have hypothesised that Instagram’s sudden interest in its creators is spurred on by the looming TikTok ban in the United States. If TikTok becomes unlawed, it will open up a huge opportunity with Instagram, due to the many creators seeking out a new platform. 


You NEED to see this Instagram update #instagram #instagramtips #digitalmarketingnews #digitalmarketing

♬ original sound – Roi | Paid Ads & Social Media

Thus, by adjusting its algorithm to better favour creators, and creating an environment that puts them first, Instagram is hoping to draw in those left seeking a new platform after the TikTok ban. 

So, what does Instagram’s updated algorithm entail? And, how will it benefit creators? 

Banning aggregator accounts from recommendations pages 

Instagram’s updated algorithm hopes to “disincentivize aggregator accounts”. 

Aggregator accounts are extremely popular on the platform, with meme pages and the like garnering thousands of followers by simply reposting viral content. These pages often do not properly credit original creators, causing the reposted content to go viral, rather than the original. 

As such, Instagram’s updated algorithm will seek to put a stop to original content going uncredited and unseen. To do so, the platform will stop recommending accounts to users that have consistently (Instagram defines this as 10 or more times over the past 30 days) posted content sourced from other accounts. Aggregator accounts will break free from this ban 30 days after they last posted unoriginal content.

Labelling reposted content 

To further tackle the issue of uncredited reposts, Instagram will now add labels to reposted content. 

These labels will credit the original creator of the post, in the hopes of rerouting users to their account. On top of this, the platform’s new algorithm will drive more traffic to the original post, instead of reposts. 

If successful, this has the potential to provide creators with a massive boost in engagement. Viral content typically receives a lot more attention and distribution due to re-usage, so if Instagram is able to redirect this engagement back to the original creator, it could do wonders in terms of engagement and creator traction for smaller creators. 


are you excited for the new IG update?? 👀 I’m curious to see how this will affect larger creators’ ranking in the algorithm #socialmediamanager #socialmediaagency #instagram #meta

♬ original sound – Melody Social Collective

Replacing reposted content with the original 

Instagram’s updated algorithm will now place a heavier emphasis on original content in recommendations. 

To do so, the platform will actively swap reposted content in recommendation feeds with the original version of the post. Therefore, rather than scrolling through your feed and seeing the same post shared a million different times, you will see it once, from the original creator. 

Yet, if the repost alters the content in a “significant way” then this rule will not apply; thus ensuring that meme culture stays alive on the platform. 

Content from smaller creators will be distributed more

Finally, Instagram is looking to shine the light on smaller, up and coming accounts rather than prioritising bigger creators, 

Historically, Instagram’s ranking system has favoured creators with bigger reach and followings over smaller, newer accounts. This new approach will give all new content more initial reach, with posts that receive the most initial engagement getting distributed more. 

Instagram’s updated algorithm and its merit based system should allow smaller creators to build up their followings and broaden their reach, rather than already established accounts achieving the most distribution. 


Looking to the future, Instagram’s updated algorithm could have a huge impact on creators. 

As previously mentioned, the creator-follower relationship has greatly dissolved in the past years. Since the early 2010s, social media platforms have steadily adopted a new ranking system. 

Platforms such as Facebook took to ranking content with engagement algorithms, effectively ending the direct creator-follower relationship. As such, it has become increasingly hard for creators to build steady relationships with audiences; users were presented with suggested content aiming to boost Facebook’s engagement, not the creator. 

The rise of the For You page greatly exacerbated this issue. TikTok’s algorithm and For You feed has kicked the idea of the follow button to the curb. Users rarely follow creators any more as there is no need; TikTok readily presents them with content they will enjoy without them pressing a single button. Why follow a creator when you will see their content daily anyways? 


Good news for 99% of creators! #instagramalgorithm #instagramupdate #instagramgrowthstrategy

♬ original sound – Brock – Social Media Expert

The popularity of this algorithm as well as TikTok in general forced other platforms to adopt the same model in order to stay in the competition. Leaving us stuck in a world where users may connect with a creator’s content, but not the creator themselves. 

However, the new changes to Instagram’s algorithm could bring us closer to the days of old. If done successfully, Instagram’s updates would provide smaller creators with a better chance at building their audiences and connecting with fans. 

Rather than For You feeds and recommendations pages filled with uncredited, reposted content from aggregator accounts, users will instead be shown original content from up and coming creators. 

Hopefully, Instagram’s updated algorithm signals a shift towards prioritising creator-follower relationships. Platforms such as Patreon and Substack have grown significantly in popularity recently, due to many creators tiring of the seemingly soul sucking algorithms of TikTok and the like. Users, too, have flocked to these platforms, in search of a more direct connection with the creators they engage with. 

For brands, Instagram’s algorithm shifts could open the door for influencer marketing with smaller creators in more unique niches. For many brands, micro-influencers have always been the gold standard when it comes to influencer marketing, due to their close connection with their audience and high rates of engagement. Instagram’s new tactics could allow these creators to improve their engagement rates further, making them even more valuable for marketing. 

On top of this, if Instagram’s bid for TikTok’s audience is successful – assuming that the US TikTok ban is put into place – brands would be wise to redirect their marketing efforts to the former. Keeping a close eye on Instagram’s popularity over the coming months will be crucial. 

Whether or not Instagram will be able to draw in displaced creators from TikTok with its new algorithm is yet to be seen. Yet, in spite of its impending success (or doom), it is most definitely a hugely positive step in the right direction for creators and their audiences.

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.



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Annette Klar

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