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How to Get on the Popular Page on Instagram

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This is not a new topic for me. Several months ago I wrote this article on how the popular page algorithm might work. That has been my most viewed and most commented on post to date. It just goes to show exactly how popular Instagram is today. Despite the recent news that the service is changing hands, I think it will continue to be a major player in social media.

Most people who joining the service naturally want to grow their audience and one of the fastest ways of doing that is making the Popular Page on Instagram. However, Instagram is very secretive with exactly how the popular page works. In Instagrams own words they us a “special formula”, in other words this is their Secret Sauce. You cannot really find a definitive answer to exactly how the formula works.

I have spent hours and hours doing analysis and coming up with my own theories. I do recommend that you read my previous article to get a foundation for what I’ll be talking about in this all new article. Before I get started I want to let you know this is not a post about what activities you can do to improve your changes of making the popular page. I have already written an article that will help with that and I have another one queued up to be published soon on that topic. What this article is about is the theory craft behind the Popular Page. If you can understand how it is that your photo makes the popular page then you can begin to plan a strategy that will help you get there more consistently. Let’s begin…

First off, Instagram is code. There are not hundreds of cheap labor human beings reviewing the thousands of images that get uploaded every minute and determining which ought to be published to the popular page and which ought not. No, the Instagram Popular Page is being determined by computers executing code. This means that it can be reverse engineered given enough information. It all comes down to the maths. I’m going to do my best to spare you the algebraic equations and talk in broader terms.

What we all, for the most part, already know is that your photo must receive a large number of likes within a small window of time. Since my last article, I have evidence to believe that the time window is now 10 – 20 minutes rather than the 40 minute window that was in place months ago. That’s something else we need to note (you are taking notes aren’t you?) the exact formula changes. Regularly. The magic formula is a constantly moving target. This makes it an even more difficult puzzle to solve.

Number of Likes received quickly is the primary factor.
So why do some people only need 50 likes in 20 minutes and others need 300 or more? The number of likes is a direct correlation to the number of followers you have. If you have few followers you need fewer likes. If you have a large number of followers, you need a large number of likes. So likes divided by followers would give you a percentage of likes to followers that you needed to achieve to make the Popular Page. It used to be roughly 10% but that has now changed. The number of followers you have is still a part of the equation but the specific percentage you need to achieve is too hard to pin down now – I believe the percentage is different based on the number of followers you have. But the formula is not so simple as IF Likes / Followers > 10% = Popular! If that were true then new folks who have only 50 followers would make the popular page as soon as they got 6 likes on every image. That is not happening. However, people who have 25,000 followers can get on the popular page with 500 likes which is a lot less than 10%. I think the specific percentage you need to achieve is relative to the number of followers you have, higher percentages are required for those who have few followers and lower percentages are required for those who have more followers.

Hashtags might not help like you think…
There is something else that we can say is almost certain to be true. Likes received from non-followers via the use of #hashtags do not have as much weight on the formula. Suppose James, who has 100 followers, posts a new sunset image and he uses the hashtag #sunset which has nearly 2 million images posted to it. Lets suppose James happens to get lucky and before his photo drops off the first page of other #sunset images he receives 40 likes all from non-followers who are viewing the pics in #sunset. Lets suppose also that James only got about 5 likes from his followers during the same period of time for a total of 45 likes in 20 minutes. That would normally pop James’ photo to the popular page but due to the fact that only 5 of his 100 followers liked his image, I don’t believe he’ll make the popular page. If all 45 likes came from his followers then there would be no question he’d make the popular page as he’s at 45% likes to followers.

Along the same lines as above, it may be that for every #hashtag you add to your photo Instagram increments the number of likes you have to receive. For instance, if the same James whom we spoke about in the previous example still has 100 followers  and he posts a new image without using any hastags at all and receives 40 likes on that image in the first 10 minutes of his post, it is very likely he’ll make the popular page. Now suppose that James posts another image right after this and he adds 10 hashtags to his image. This time he gets a total of 60 likes but doesn’t make the popular page. What do you suppose changed? The use of hashtags! I can’t pretend to know the exact math on this, or even if this one has much validity, but from the experiences I’ve heard, and my own experiments, there seems to be something behind this theory. Imagine for just a moment that Instagram added, say 5 likes, to the total count required to reach the popular page for every hashtag you use. In James’ case, he’d have to get an additional 50 likes to make the popular page for a total of 90 likes in the first 10 – 20 minutes. Am I suggesting you stop using hashtags? Not at all. I’m suggesting that the overuse of hashtags is very likely hurting your chances of getting to the popular page. I think you ought to keep your hash-tagging to no more than 10, and that you should only ever use relevant hashtags. Go ahead and post to some of those community tags like #JJ and #all_shots but if you do, I highly recommend you support that by going out to those community hashtags and liking a bunch of photos. This will help support your own photo as you bring attention to your feed within that community hashtag.

Likes from popular users may really help.
Here’s another tasty bit of information to mull around in your head and make this even more complicated yet! What search engine has absolutely the most relevant searches above all other search engines? Google. Why? Because Google uses the best algorithms. If you want better search ranking on Google, one of the best ways to do it is to be linked to from other highly ranked pages. Why am I talking about Google search engine ranking? Because make it into the top 10 in search rank puts you on the first page of results on Google and that is not unlike getting to the Popular Page on Instagram. (I’m actually not sure which one is harder to accomplish to be honest!) Getting linked to by other “heavy hitters” is a proven strategy to surface good content. The Instagram team has some smart people on it, and I’m pretty sure they’ve heard of Google. This leads me to believe that there may very well be a large amount of weight assigned to receiving likes from people who have a large following. How would that work? If your image receives 100 likes all from people who have less than 100 followers that might not mean as much as receiving 100 likes all from people who have over 5000 followers.

You are competing against everyone for limited space.
When you post a new image you are jumping into the pool with everyone else who is also posting images at the same time. You are competing against those people for the limited number of spots on the Popular Page rotation. You may post an image and get on the popular page with only 75 likes and the very next day you post another image and don’t make it after receiving 125 likes in the same time frame. What gives? Well, on the second day you where competing against different people who were all getting likes at a different rate. In general this isn’t going to effect you that much because the sample size has grown so large that, for the most part, you are going to be competing for likes against the same general counts. These types of factors have a greater impact on smaller control groups, but with a pool of 30+ million users, they are going to have next to no impact; it may still make or break your photo getting to the Popular Page. This is exactly why I’ve always said to be aware of the time of day you are posting. Even worse, don’t spam your followers with a bunch of images all at once or you’ll be competing against yourself for a coveted Popular Page spot!

I have gotten many, many questions and comments about why and how people are experiencing wildly different counts on the number of likes it takes to make the Popular Page on Instagram. That can easily be answered by two of the the things we’ve already established: 1) The formula is constantly changing and 2) You are competing against a pool of other photos for limited spots on the popular page. I would also like to suggest one other wild and crazy theory and this is my last one, for now anyway… When I was in banking I was responsible for a 4 billion dollar credit portfolio. My specific job was to develop automated strategies for determining the absolute most profitable scenarios for handling delinquent and over the limit credit accounts. I created competing strategies, one was called the “Champion”, and the several others I would create where “Challengers” that would compete against the Champion. At the end of every month I would evaluate the performance of these different strategies. The one that produced the most revenue and reduced the most delinquent accounts would become the new Champion and I would then design a new Challenger strategy to compete with it. Since we know Instagram wants to eliminate certain types if images from the popular page (I don’t need to elaborate here, we ALL know what I’m talking about) and surface “the most recently interesting” images the only way they can consistently improve their formula for surfacing the right kind of images is to run competing strategies against each other and compare the results. What this means to you is that you might not be operating under the same formula as other people; you could be in one of many control groups in a champion or challenger scenario.

Lets simplify and summarize what we’ve discussed:

  1. You need a certain number of likes within a small window (likely 10 – 20 minutes)
  2. Hashtags may help a little but they don’t help a lot
  3. Likes from people who have large numbers of followers may have more impact than likes from those with small followings
  4. You are competing against a pool of other photos for a limited number of spots at that current point in time
  5. There may be control groups with competing formula which differs from one person to the next

I hope this new article on how to make the Popular Page on Instagram was helpful to you. You may also like the Instagram article I wrote: 8 Rules for Rapid Instagram Growth. I’m @appdaptation on Instagram. If you like what you’ve read on this blog, consider popping by and saying hello on Instagram!

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Discussion

  1. insta_balthazar  April 16, 2012

    Well put artical, in my opnion the more people join instagram the hard it gets. and it’s hard to track to formula, it’s pretty much as google SEO to get high rank the more you link to the high profile and link back to you, there are more chances to grow and get popular. And those who are populars have put a lot of houres engaging with other IG. You coverd the most points
    thank you @insta_balthazar

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    • Jen Lawrence Fans  August 11, 2012

      I tried to follow a lot of people to get more followers but that has been inefficient because of the time it waste. What should I do to get to 10k followers?
      @jenlawrence_fans

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  2. Chachad  April 17, 2012

    I completely agree with your hypothesis.. I have 1600+ followers and there is this specific time that I always Land on pop page for just 80 likes in 5-7 mins. An I’m shocked to know (if it is true) that the persons followers who’s liking your photo has an effect on hitting the pop page.. This is becoming more and more complicated..

    Instagram
    @chachad

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    • Chris Smith  April 17, 2012

      Just a wild theory regarding the weight of a follower who has lots of followers. However, if I were building an algorithm, I would more than likely take that into consideration in some fashion.

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      • Chachad  April 17, 2012

        Do you have any idea how long a photo stays on the pop page?

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        • Chris Smith  April 17, 2012

          It varies depending on how many likes it gets once it gets there. It can be for as little as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours. I’ve heard some people claim less than 5 minutes and up to 3 hours but personally, I think it is more like up to 2 hours tops.

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  3. Anonymous  April 18, 2012

    Chris, as of today Apr 18 2012, this is no longer true. To get to the popular page, you now need at least 10,000 followers. When you get there though, you’ll stay for an entire day. Check how different the popular page looks now.

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    • Chris Smith  April 18, 2012

      Hello Anonymous,
      While it is true that a large percentage of images on the Popular Page do have a large following, I just did a quick sampling of what is on the popular page at this very moment and found that a good number of images had fewer than 500 likes from someone who has 3000 followers or less.

      I put forth a number of possible factors that the current formula takes into consideration thus I can’t tell from your comment which one you have a problem with unless you are saying the whole thing is rubbish, which I will strongly disagree with you on. :-)

      The current formula DOES make it more difficult for people with a small following to make the popular page on their own. And, unfortunately, it really hasn’t improved the quality of images on the popular page IMHO. Here’s to hoping the engineers at Facebook can come up with a formula that promotes quality and not quantity.

      I’ll keeping studying this and continue to bring updates as new theories and information surface.

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  4. Anonymous  April 19, 2012

    Hi Chris,

    IG did change their formula again on the April 18th 2012 – whereas it previously took 8-13 minutes to pop – it now goes back to the 30 minute (ish) marker.

    I have to agree with Anon above. Whenever I have looked on the pop page today, the vast majority of users on there were all people with at least 10K followers. The smallest following base when I looked was 10500. I really only even care because it seems to be discouraging the “middle man”. I see many are commenting as such and some have stopped/slowed their posting. I hate to see so much real talent go – Tadaa or otherwise.

    In summary, the only constant I know is (a) change happens and (b) Mostly selfies, tweens and the occasional good pic will always appear on the pop page. Let’s hope quality and more diversity will return to IG soon. Cheers and thanks for your sleuthing!

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  5. anon  April 20, 2012

    you should add that using IG filters when posting helps.. TRUST ME on this.

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    • Chris Smith  April 23, 2012

      Interesting theory but I don’t think it holds much water. Unless IG is doing some sort of encode/decode thing when filters are applied they wouldn’t have a clue what filter, if any, was used on an image. There is no “Filter(s) Used” meta data in pictures.

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      • anon  April 23, 2012

        That’s not true, there is, if statigram is able to pull the data, that means IG has it, but since you’re not sold, I’ll provide a sample data. On Thursday at 6:25 PM after the most recent requirements update to make pop, I didn’t make it at 430 likes in 21 minuntes (no filter, 2 hashes), the next day on Friday around the same time with IG filter, no hash, I made it to pop at 320 in 21 minutes. That’s a significance difference in ratio of likes…

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        • Chris Smith  April 23, 2012

          Hi Anon,
          Good point on the filter used – I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet! :-)

          I respectfully disagree with your theory that using an IG filter reduces the number of likes needed to pop. Your sample was done 24 hours apart which means that you were competing against a different pool of users and images. Now if you posted the exact same image, with the exception that one had an IG filter and one did not, at the exact same time and got the exact same number of likes and the one with the IG filter popped and the other one didn’t then I’d say you have a good case study. Two different images posted 24 hours apart just isn’t comparable.

          Please don’t get me wrong, I love hearing theories on how this thing works – it helps me formulate my own theories. I’m just giving you my gut on this one since I don’t have any data to back up my point here either. :-)

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  6. Nathan  April 23, 2012

    Well i think the formula has changed a bit, from my experience . i’ve been on the Popular page 12 times now. and the first time i was on it i had roughly 2k followers and 80 likes in the first 10 minute. i stayed on it for roughly 2 hours and i say 2 hours based on the amount of followers i was pulling in before it stopped.
    now as of today, with at 11k followers. i posed a photo witch literally took an hour and a half to make it to the popular page. and it had some where around 950 likes. so i went on the popular page to just take a look on how long it was taking for others . what i through a series of trial , almost everyone on the Pop page had post their pics 2-3 hours ago and had generated 1k+ likes already … weird

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  7. anon  April 23, 2012

    Anyways to more precise before it was about 10 likes/minute for 9-14minutes for someone who has 10K, now it’s around 20 likes/minutes for the same amount, I’m popping at 15minutes every time with about 300 likes, I have about 13K. I’ve always maintained a great ratio.

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  8. Anon3  April 23, 2012

    Found this article via @gmystudio, It seems there is a lot of IG #protest going on today. Doubt it will make any difference, sadly. I saw a large discussion of people stating they are no longer making the pop page as of recently. Im in that group too. Many think it is now IGs interest to cater to celebrities and those with many followings in order to impress upon how popular is to all the new users. I don’t know, but I hope not. Hate to see real, creative talent dismissed.

    Excluding all the teens, fashion posts and stolen images, the same users (with many followings) are now on the pop page every single day – every few hours posting the same type of images. Don’t get me wrong, I love foggy trees, ferris wheels and grungy fields too but I also appreciate diversity and creativity above all.

    Here is my experience. I have made the pop page well over 200 times – posting around the same times each night. That all changed around (1) the time that androids entered and then again (2) around April 17th/18th. Previously I needed 10x the likes in a 8-13 minute period. Now I can get over 250 likes in that time and still not make it. I’m alright with not making it myself because all it ever really gave me was (a) ghost teen followings (b) teens requesting shoutouts and (c) spammers. I don’t like, however, all the friends and real talent that are discouraged and what the poop page has become. Great discussion here sir. PS. he is right about the filter usage.

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    • Chris Smith  April 23, 2012

      Not sure if that was a Freudian slip – the “poop page” but it made me laugh non-the-less.

      Thanks for chiming in, I really appreciate the additional comments. Also, if you support the idea that IG filters make a difference, well, that’s 2 against 1 so I’ll open my mind to the possibility. Hey, I’m not unreasonable here! :-)

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  9. Instaspy  April 24, 2012

    It’s more than obvious that the formula has been changed over the last couple of days radically. The vast majority of pics in the pop page now have more than 1.000 likes. And if you go deeper and make a good research, you’ll find out that no matter what the posting time was, the IGers behind those pics have a great amount of followers.
    I agree with you Chris, I’ve read all your articles and I’m not going to disagree with your theory in general, about the formula that IG uses. What I’m trying to say is that there will always be exceptions to the general Rule, just to make that Rule valid. ;)

    Having talked with a lot of IGers (as I am one of the Administrators of “All_Shots Team”) and having been in the game for a long time now, I can tell you for sure, that even after the removal of “ghost” followers and the decrease of the total followers down to the original ones, some really great IGers keep getting popular only after a really large amount of likes (exceeding 800-900 at the time I write these lines). This number is a really increased number when some day before the got popular with half the likes received or less.
    That means that the formula has radically changed the last days. The percentage of likes needed to be pop, in relation with the total number of “active” followers, and of course the time-window, has been been changed to almost “impossible”… :)))

    Nevertheless, I still think that all these are an ongoing procedure, and we gonna witness even more changes in the next few days.

    @instaspy (on Instagram)

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    • Chris Smith  April 24, 2012

      Thanks for commenting Instaspy! I strongly support the @all_shots team so glad to hear from one of the members.

      It seems that just about the time I posted this updated theory craft on the Pop page the rules changed. If you do a quick review of what’s on the Pop page right at this very moment you’ll notice that most of the pics have 1000+ likes, and those that have fewer have only been posted within the last 10-15 minutes and are still building their like count (from off the popular page). Every sample I reviewed the person had 25000+ followers.

      This tells me the current “Champion” is built around surfacing pics that are receiving massive amount of likes in a very short period of time. There is zero chance that a person with a few hundred followers is going to get to the popular page, no matter what your percentage of likes to followers is. I believe the current formula being used is simply some sort of likes per minute within the first 5-10 minutes. If you have 50,0000 followers you’ll get on the popular page easily even if you post an image of your already-been-chewed breakfast bagel.

      Personally, I think this is a very sad state of affairs. Instagram no longer celebrates the quirky and talented shooter. It is strictly a popularity contest and whomever has the most followers wins regardless of your quality of content.

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      • Jeremy Worst  April 24, 2012

        yes and thats whats going to piss me and every other iger off..

        Now i have to use my hack i made a while back to like tens of thousands of photos every 15mins to get my followers up.. until im able to make the pop page consistently again. lol don’t judge me ..

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  10. Rafael  April 24, 2012

    I also think that the difference you have between followers to nonFollowers really matters! If you have ten thousand followers and you follow one or two hundred, you have a better chance of getting to the popular page.

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    • Chris Smith  April 24, 2012

      Hmmm. That doesn’t compute in my books. Anyone else have an opinion on this one?

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      • Instaspy  April 26, 2012

        I think the same as you Chris.
        This must be irrelevant.

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  11. Dole  April 24, 2012

    “…we do our best to make sure everyone has a fair chance of seeing their photos on the Popular feed.”

    Right… This statement by Instagram is no longer true.

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  12. Jeremy Worst  April 26, 2012

    just saw 228 likes / 36m on the pop page .. lasted 40m with 266 likes. but its 4:30 AM here in Atlanta .. dunno where the girl was. she has 7150 Followers and following 320. the pic had a lil blur filter on it..

    she was super lucky .. obviously i need to try to post every 2 hours one day just to test out the best times.. but then again i need to load up my best paintings to even get alot of likes.

    its all about the times .. when u think most of your followers are on and your not competing with so many people.

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  13. Linzzz  April 26, 2012

    If you make it to the popular page, do you receive some type of notification that your photo “made it”?

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    • Chris Smith  April 26, 2012

      Your news feed will tell you that you made it to the Popular Page. Also sites like webstigr.am and statigr.am show an icon on the photo that it was Popular.

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  14. A N O N  April 27, 2012

    i have 12180 followers and haven’t made it to the popular page in quite some time now, i even gave up on ig for a bit. until the ig exorcist site came back up and running, i ran my numbers through and it turns out i have about 6-8,000 ghost followers! could this possibly be the reason my photos aren’t making it ? because the number of likes that im receiving aren’t balancing out with my number of “followers” that i have ? i’m thinking about doing the exorcist. what do you guys think ?

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    • Chris Smith  April 27, 2012

      Given the recent changes to the formula, I would say not, don’t use IGexorcist if you are just after the popular page. If you want a tighter knit community of followers then by all means, slay the zombies. But as of right now the popular page is overrun with people who have 20,000+ followers and receive 1000s of likes on every image. So you are 1/2 way there, keep growing and maybe you’ll make it back to the popular page under the new rules.

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  15. A N O N  April 27, 2012

    hmm okay, i’ll try posting some photos with the followers i have now and see if anything is different. i just figured if i get rid of them i’ll still get the same # of likes that i get now and it’ll be more balanced between likes to followers. but i’ll give it a try.

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  16. john  May 8, 2012

    Reading these posts has given me great insight into what is really going on in the secret inner-world of instagram. I would be more likely to take a look at an “interesting”, “quality”, or even “random” page than “popular”. Perhaps the formula could include filters that would remove pics with hashtags belonging to brands, proper names, and pre-pube-boy-bands. They could also limit how often one person lands on the popular page. If they’ve been on a hundred times, dump em and give someone else a chance.

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  17. songbrd  June 1, 2012

    So frustrating. I actually managed to get the 45 likes in under 30 minutes with only 136 followers thinking that I would surely make it today and…….nope. Then I find this updated article. Thanks for alerting the little people.

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  18. Josh  June 4, 2012

    @joshuadwaugh on instagram – Great article! – Im guilty of too many hashtags but your reasoning makes sense. Thanks for the info…

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  19. Kirsteengreen  June 12, 2012

    Was trying to achieve 10,000 followers to get any hope of getting on the popular page but IG has limited me to only being able to follow 7500 people why is this does anybody know?

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    • Chris Smith  June 13, 2012

      Yes, Instagram capped people at 7,500 following if they have fewer than 7,500 followers. Here’s a link to the page that explains this:
      http://help.instagram.com/customer/portal/articles/585788

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      • Leaveashoutout  June 22, 2012

        I have 7600 followers but IG still limited me and i cant follow anyone :((((((

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        • Boatty  July 10, 2012

          Hi I’ve got the same issue atm. wonder when I can follow more people.

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  20. S  July 7, 2012

    wow I dont believe you did so much research on this

    I’m enjoying my none popular existance on instagram since I read your articles… I used to long for being popular And mostly followed but now I enjoy the sharing and trying to be better every time :)

    and thanx for following back

    maderebacha@instagram

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  21. J Robert Hromas  July 11, 2012

    Thanks for taking the time to analyze this! I’ve been instagram for about two months now, and was baffled about the popular page. This is great, and I’ll totally send a link here from my website. Keep it up, I look forward to some more insightful instagram related posts!

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    • Chris Smith  July 11, 2012

      Thanks for visiting! I just had a look at your site and think it is fantastic!

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  22. Paula  August 24, 2012

    Hi! I’ve been on the popular page 22 times now and the first 18 photos I would usually get over 5k likes. Everytime I make it to the popular page, my photo would usually stay there for 2-3 hours and maybe 2 of them stayed there for more than 5 hours. Lately though after the new vesion came out, I’ve noticed that my photo would make it to the popular page but doesn’t stay there for more than an hour even though I get enough likes and comments. I look at other photos who doesn’t get enough likes stays longer. Maybe I’m just paranoid but do you think there are people flagging my photo to take it out of the popular page?

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    • Chris Smith  August 27, 2012

      I doubt your photos are being flagged but haven’t not seen any of them, I can’t be certain. The rules to how long a photo stays on the popular page are almost as confusing (and hidden) as the mystery of getting there!

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  23. karan  September 11, 2012

    Hey
    Chris, will you plz, tell me, how I reached, at my Goal, my Goal is 1.m or more following people, now m at 7500 following people, plz help me, 3200 follow me back, help me chris

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  24. Fouad Salha  October 9, 2012

    The feed you guys are giving is really helpful. But one thing i got to moan about is that it is really tough for a photographer to be recognized, i mean i have seen alot of lame pix on the popular page from people having 100K+ followers. Any user having 100K+ followers is bound to have a high like/min rate. And honestly, i dont get how people follow others who post lame pix (such as a toilet seat).

    Instagram should adjust its formula to give new joiners (such as me and many others) a fair shot to be recognized.

    @fmsalha

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  25. Hi  December 4, 2012

    I’ve been reaching the popular page seven times and it was 7 weeks ago. I posted one last week and it seems like they changed their formula because I haven’t reached again. I have over 7,000 followers. I don’t understand….I don’t get why they keep changing the formula. One pple that just started will never make it…I’ll see like hand lotion up there…ill see someone photocopying their face…like Instagram has gone too shit. Like I thought it was about the quality of the photo not how many followers you have. Like on the site it says we give everyone a chance even pple with less followers what do they mean 10k …it’s bull shit…it really is. There are people that have amazing photos but they won’t get on but someone taking a picture of a tissue box will.

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  26. Semiralove  December 21, 2012

    Good article!! ✌✌

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  27. @laurynchaveyy  February 7, 2013

    Thanks for the major help!!

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  28. wondering  March 12, 2013

    I have 19k followers is that enough to get to popular page if yes , how many likes per minute or per 10 minutes do I need ? Would greatly appreciate if you could answer. Thanks !! :)

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    • Chris Smith  April 2, 2013

      the rules change as the service gets more and more popular. It becomes even harder to compete for the limited popular page space with other accounts getting 100,000 of followers. I’d expect you’d make the popular page if you managed to get about 1000 likes in 5 minutes but that’s of course just a quick guess.

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  29. Rhiannon H.  March 18, 2013

    I’ve found out that if you get over 500 likes, you automatically end up in the popular page.

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    • Chris Smith  April 2, 2013

      Wish this was the case but it isn’t. The logic is MUCH more complex than that.

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  30. zaina  March 19, 2013

    Hi,
    I’m just curious to know, is the popular page standard world wide? Or does it depend on the region you are in ??

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  31. Diana  April 13, 2013

    very informative, and the fact it’s constantly changing and not really a solid is utterly confusing. my dream one day, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon. i mean i got like 500 followers, i post all my own pictures, and only a few of them actually like my pictures. then i’m like, what’s the point of following me then? but whatever, looking at the 500 is nice, but i’d like to have people who enjoy what i post one day. maybe when my career gets up and running?

    the thing that i find sad is and kind of annoyed by it, a lot of people who make it to the popular page post pictures that are not their own, at times they’re not even credited to the original owner. so the competition is even more fierce do to that.

    sigh, i’ll just enjoy what i can, make the best of it and appreciate what i do have. thanks for the great read though!

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    • Chris Smith  April 22, 2013

      Good luck on your Instagram journey. Just have fun and enjoy the community you build along the way!

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  32. shondarayan  June 28, 2013

    great analysis bro,, ,, i think non follower users finding and liking your picture via the (following) section of their (news) section is a factor in the equation

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  33. Justine  June 29, 2013

    Hi, I currently have 31K followers and I gain 1000 likes in 30 minutes. I have never gotten on the pop page, do you think that the number of my followings (7500) affects my chances of getting on the pop page?

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    • Chris Smith  July 11, 2013

      I don’t think the number of people you are following is taken into account. The issue is that your percentages aren’t high enough compared to the other people posting at the same time.

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  34. Carly  August 18, 2013

    Hi! I currently have 500k+ followers and I post fashion photos. Every photos I post always make it to the popular page and I post 2-3 photos everyday. I’ve noticed though that ever since yesterday until today, none of the photos I’ve posted made it to the popular page. It’s really frustrating coz I’m losing a lot of followers too. I’m not sure if it’s the update or someone trying to flag my account. This doesn’t only happened to me. I looked into other fashion accounts with huge followers and a lot of them have stopped making the popular page also. Every photos I post are my own and I’ve never violated any rules. I hope you could help me with this or I just need an answer as to why this is happening. I emailed IG but I’m not sure if it’s going to help. Thank you!

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  35. Jml  September 25, 2013

    What if you post different groups of hash tags and delete them and post new hash tags and delete them after you’ve gotten likes? Does this still make it more impossible for you to reach the popular page? by causing them to require you to have more likes as a penalty for using so many hashtags?

    If that the case, then I need to delete my instagram and start a new one if I ever want to make the pop page…. because i’ve been doing that for a while….

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  36. tori elisabeth  November 12, 2013

    Hi I am Tori Elisabeth!

    I lost my account with 1k due to a jealous bf. PLease help me with ideas to regain my followers.
    I will follow back !!! :) :) :)

    @torielisabeth_

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