Understanding the Algorithm and What it Means for Marketers

The almighty algorithm, the reason behind our joy or annoyance on social media, is a closely guarded secret. Some platforms give us a little insight into their methods of serving content, but for others, marketers and content creators have spent time doing their own research through posting. While research is great to have, the experience and instincts of your marketing team or agency is what will pave the way to success. It takes testing copy and media assets, playing around with formats, engagement, and more to truly identify what works. So, with that said, let’s take a look at what we currently know about posting on our favorite platforms.  

These algorithms play a crucial role in determining the content that users see on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Marketing experts need to understand the specific algorithms of each platform to optimize their content to optimize reach and engagement. By understanding these algorithms and utilizing the insights they provide, marketing professions can improve their social and digital campaigns.  


Ask anyone familiar with social media and they will agree – TikTok has the algorithm game beat! Highly responsive and tuned into what you like and don’t like, this algorithm is unlike any other. As opposed to other networks, TikTok only has one type of media to take into account, so the app determines what you like based on how you interact with the videos — do you like, comment, or follow? Or do you swipe away quickly? Do you share the video? Each of these factors helps curate the videos you’re served.  


Each section of Instagram has a different algorithm, so how you engage with content on Stories will provide different information about you versus how you interact with content in the Feed. In total, Instagram has algorithms for its feed, Stories, Reels, Search and Explore. Aside from the engagement you give a post (like, comment, share, save), Instagram will also analyze the info within the post (image, carousel, or video) and the poster to gain more insight into what might interest you. As most users are already aware, the most chronological Instagram gets is with Stories. Otherwise, they are sorting content based on what the algorithms think you might be interested in.  


The least receptive of the platforms, Facebook’s algorithm is curated from a ranking system of content. The platform will score the content you engage with and then will arrange similar content on your feed in a descending non-chronological order of interest. The same information gathered from your newsfeed will be used to place content across all aspects of the platform including search, Marketplace, Groups, and Watch.  


Everything we know about Twitter right now could change tomorrow, as the app is undergoing near-constant functional changes. Currently, the bird app is the least transparent in what actually impacts a user’s feed. However, it does give users the option to choose between the Top Tweets feed (algorithmically driven default) or Latest Tweets (reverse chronological). As little as we know about Twitter’s algorithm, we do know that location, virality, personal interests, recency, and whether or not the post contains media will impact a tweet’s viewership.  


As the user base for LinkedIn continues to rise and the types of content people share broaden, the algorithm is becoming especially important for user experience. Although we are aware that its purpose is to display postings from users you are connected to and actively engage with as well as topics you follow or are related to your career, the platform doesn’t reveal much more than that. PostBeyond has identified a few key things that will work against your content being shown via the algorithm- the most notable is to avoid outbound links. LinkedIn wants conversation, connection, and community on their platform, so linking elsewhere in your content can do more harm than good for your reach!  

As of June 2023, this is where our favorite platforms stand. As we are seeing a communication shift from in the feed to DMs, these algorithms may up their game even further to accommodate. Stay tuned!  

If you would like help with marketing and advertising, feel free to contact us. We offer a variety of services like digital marketing & analytics, marketing & brand strategy, and more to small and large companies. 

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