Back to blog

6 Ways Instagram Is Using AI to Improve Its Services

In June 2018, Instagram hit 1 billion monthly active users, 400 million of which use the app every day. Managing all those accounts, the interactions between them, and the numerous features that Instagram offers requires an enormous amount of data. Thankfully, Instagram is using the latest technologies to make the process much easier.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing huge changes to businesses worldwide. It has become the second largest marketing trend, right after consumer personalization.

To keep up with these trends, Instagram is taking full advantage of everything that AI has to offer. So far, it has become a vital part of company’s many operations. Let’s take a look at what these operations are.

1. Researching Human Behavior and Culture

Instagram wants every user to feel like a part of a large community. To do this, the company needs to understand how people around the world behave. The main issue is that the amount of data this requires is incredibly large.

This is where AI comes into play. It is capable of analyzing massive amounts of data at breakneck speed, which speeds up research by decades.

The best example is a study in which 100 million Instagram photos were analyzed to identify global clothing patterns. Researching a cultural phenomenon of this scope would be pretty much impossible without AI. It just shows how capable the technology is at helping Instagram dig deeper into the way the world works.


<2h>2. Improving the Search Function and Explore Page

If you’ve been an Instagram user for some time, you have probably seen how accurate the Explore page is when it comes to recommendations. Once you enter it, there are all kinds of content that is similar to what you’ve interacted with before.

It isn’t limited by what you like or who you follow. It tracks your activity closely and reflects everything it sees. This kind of technology is both impressive and a bit scary to some. There isn’t much reason for the latter, as the main purpose that this serves is to ensure that users have the ability to find more of what they’re interested in.

Pulling all kinds of data necessary for this is no easy task. It’s AI that makes this possible, thanks to its ability to extract relevant information from a large pool of data.

3. Personalized Feed

Remember the era of the reverse-chronological Instagram feed? Well, machine-learning algorithms have replaced it. Instead, Instagram offers personalized feed, which shows you posts from the people you care about the most.

Before the change, people would miss around 50% of their friends’ posts, according to Instagram’s internal research. The new algorithm promises to deliver 90% of all the content posted by your friends and family. This announcement initially received some backlash, but it seems that the users have gotten used to it by now.

Whether you like it or not, you must admit that the technology behind it is astounding. It is capable of understanding what you consider relevant and sort the information in a way that meets your interests.

4. Protecting Users from Bullying

One in six kids aged 12-17 are getting cyberbullied and 42% of this bullying happens on Instagram. This is why the company is going out of its way to make sure that this happens as rarely as possible.

Earlier this year, Instagram introduced the offensive comment filter. Once you toggle it on, it hides all the inappropriate comments, particularly those that groups at risk of discrimination are exposed to. The filter is also capable of notifying Instagram of any repeated offensive patterns, so that the company can take necessary action.

Recently, Instagram decided to take this a step further by introducing machine-learning technology that is able to detect bullying in photos. It’s still in the works, but it could potentially make a world of change when it comes to cyberbullying.

This is proof of how Instagram can use cutting-edge technology not just to make the user experience better but also to improve people’s lives. Will this feature exterminate cyberbullying for good? Probably not. Still, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

5. Eliminating Spam

Another useful AI-based filter is the Spam filter. It has the ability to eliminate fake messages written in nine different languages. Once it detects spam, it automatically removes it from users’ Direct Messages.

The main driving force behind this function is DeepText, Facebook’s engine that has the ability to understand context almost as good as people. It doesn’t just read text based on fixed parameters, but truly understands its meaning.

This technology will only keep advancing. Facebook is currently improving its accuracy, which is at around 80%. This is very impressive, and it’s just a matter of time before AI will be able to process language the way people do.


6. Ad Targeting

Over the years, Instagram has become a vital part of pretty much every business’ marketing strategy. 68% of users engage with at least one brand on a regular basis. This wouldn’t be possible without the many tools that Instagram offers to business owners.

The ability to effectively target specific audiences with ads is another example of how powerful AI is. It can make an accurate assessment of users’ preferences based on a variety of factors. This gives advertisers a set of powerful tools that they can use to reach their audience.

With this in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise that 72% of executives believe that AI will be the biggest business advantage in the future.

The Final Word

The achievements that companies have reached by using AI for a relatively short time are incredible. As you can see, it’s more than just a smart tool that simplifies demanding processes. It has the power to transform business as we know it.

Instagram is well aware of this. There’s no doubt that it will incorporate AI into more of its services in the foreseeable future. If used properly, the technology could ensure a superior user experience and bring a variety of benefits for the entire community.

There’s really no way of saying where Instagram will take AI in the future. All that’s left to do is wait and see what exciting features we’ll get to try out.