Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri Offers Insights on How to Grow Reach, Algorithms, TikTok and More

This week, Instagram is hosting its Creator Week panel series, in which a range of internal experts and platform influencers share their insights into how to make best use of the platform, how to connect with audiences, how Instagram’s algorithms actually work and more.

Today, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri took the stage for a live Q and A session in which he answered a range of the most commonly asked questions from Instagram users.

Mosseri provides a range of insights, including:

  • Instagram can’t guarantee stable reach due to constant changes in the algorithm. Mosseri notes that as more people join Instagram, competition for reach is always changing, which means that users will see fluctuations in their reach stats.
  • In terms of best practices, Mosseri says that leaning into video is good, with the first two seconds being crucial to hook viewers in. Mosseri also notes that hashtags are still valuable for discovery, while posting consistently (Mosseri notes two feed posts per week, two stories per day) will help to build your following. In another Creator Week session on working with the platform’s algorithms, Instagram also noted that while posting to newer surfaces like Reels won’t boost your reach, as such, utilizing all of the available surfaces will mean that you’re increasing your chances of getting your content discovered in the app.
  • Mosseri says that the global rollout of Reels has been delayed due to music licensing in some regions
  • Mosseri explains that verification on Instagram is about providing identification for people who are more likely to deal with impersonation, and verification is normally assessed based on press mentions of the applicant.
  • Instagram is looking to do more on direct payments for creators (gated content, subscriptions, badges and tips), which Mosseri is keen to explore, as it gives creators a more direct relationship with their fans.
  • The platform is also looking into new revenue share models for video, including monetization of Reels
  • Don’t buy fake followers. Mosseri says that Instagram’s detection systems are improving, based on a range of factors, and purchasing followers can put your account at significant risk.
  • Mosseri also provides an update on the steps its taking to address systemic bias and abuse on its platform.

Interestingly, Mosseri also addresses a question on what, in his opinion, TikTok is currently doing better than Instagram. Mosseri says that TikTok is better, right now, at breaking new and young talent, which Instagram is looking to improve on, while TikTok is also better at providing reliable entertainment.

As per Mosseri:

“You know that you can tap on TikTok and you’re going to immediately smile and be entertained.”

Which is an interesting point – Mosseri says that Instagram is working to improve its Reels algorithm to provide a similar, or ideally, better experience, but he does think that TikTok, which has been doing short-form video for longer, is leading the way on entertainment.

TikTok’s algorithm is highly attuned to the specific features of each clip that will get you to stick around, which is why it’s so easy to find yourself scrolling through the endless TikTok stream for hours on end. Where TikTok really wins out is that it’s trained its algorithms on just the right elements to hold user interest, with the full-screen presentation of TikTok clips providing it with more insight into exactly what engages you, based on how long you watch, Likes/follows, what other videos people view in relation, etc.

I suspect most people would agree with Mosseri that TikTok is more entertaining, but it’s an interesting admission from the platform either way. 

That said, Mosseri says that Instagram is focused on delivering value for creators in the long run – “and to help millions of creators, over the next five to ten years, to make a living”.

This could be how Instagram ends up holding back the TikTok wave – while TikTok is still growing fast, it hasn’t established a solid framework for creator monetization just yet. Monetizing short-form content is difficult, because you can’t slip in mid or pre-roll ads on seconds-long clips. But on Instagram, creators can monetize their content and presence more broadly, in more ways, while also adopting new trends like short-form content, to a wide audience.

If Instagram can provide more revenue potential, maybe that will prove to be enough of a lure to steal some of those stars from TikTok, and eventually show younger, rising creators that it provides more pathways to revenue for their work.

There are some interesting points of note here for Instagram creators and marketers, and along with this week’s earlier session on the ‘Algorithm Mythbusting‘, and Instagram’s explainer post on the internal workings of its systems, they provide a good overview of the aims of Instagram’s processes, and what types of content it’s looking to promote.

As Mosseri notes, there’s no magic trick that will help you boost every post to millions of people, but by taking note of the signals that Instagram’s team highlights, and the specific explanations provided, you can get a better understanding of the key elements required for an effective platform strategy. 

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