What Changed on Instagram’s Explore Tab?
You’ve probably noticed, after a recent update or two, that the Instagram Explore Tab is a little more crowded than it used to be. Instead of showing a single collage of content you might like, there are now several category options at the top the screen. Each of those sections reveals an entire “Explore” page dedicated to that specific content area.
How Does Instagram Populate Your Explore Tab?
Before it became the Explore Tab, the ‘Popular Page’ was designed as a way to show the most popular content on Instagram. This surfaced the most liked and commented posts shared on the network. It was common for the Popular Page to feature content from top ‘grammers. It was great for accounts who had a large following but it was difficult for the average Instagrammer to be discovered and it certainly wasn’t the best way to find content tailored to your specific interests.
Now the Explore tab uses artificial intelligence to recommend content specifically tailored to you. This is determined by a mix of factors. The main component it takes into consideration is what kinds of content you’ve engaged with in the past. This can mean liking, commenting, following creators in certain niches, sending images directly to another user, clicking on a hashtag, or even just swiping through certain types of images.
Basically, every move you make on the platform is being analyzed to create a custom experience for you in the Explore tab.
5 Tips to Help Get Your Content Featured on the Explore Tab
Develop a Strong Content Niche
Since the explore tab is personalized to each user, having a good foothold in your content niche will be critical to getting featured. We’ve written about this before-- pretty pictures aren’t going to cut it anymore. Instagram is looking for vibrant conversations and thriving communities around shared points of interest. Make sure your content is dynamic, engaging, and unique to you.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your target audience goes hand-in-hand with having a strong niche. The best way to get to know your audience is to ASK and to LISTEN. Engage with your followers in conversations, take polls, ask what kinds of content they like best and want to see more often. You need to be paying attention to which posts garner the most engagement from your audience. Listen to what your audience tells you-- overtly as they answer your questions-- and passively as they do or do not engage with different types of content.
Use Localized Tags
Since Explore content is partially curated by the people liking and sharing in your proximity, adding Location tags and other relevant localized hashtags to your posts can help you show up in the feeds of nearby users who may not follow you yet.
If you click on your Explore tab right now, the first thing you’ll notice is the top-right marquee video featured there: “a square video that automatically begins playing on the top right-hand side and takes up the space of about four photos.” As we’ve mentioned before, all of the social platforms are prioritizing video right now. Increasing the amount of video you create will help you get served up to new followers as well as improving the way your content is delivered to your current fans.
Interact with Larger Creators
One of the ways that the explore tab selects content to feature is by showing someone’s followers a photo or video that a user has engaged with. “We’re always working to update the types of posts you see in Search & Explore to better tailor it to you. For example, we may show you photos and videos that people you follow have liked or are liked by a large number of people.”
So, if I’m a little, humble meme-maker and I make a meme that @beigecardigan decides to *like* or comment on it, that little meme, and thus my account, might be surfaced up in the explore tabs of some of @beigecardigan’s 3.7M followers. That’s an extreme example, but you get it. The idea is to create relationships with the other creators in your niche. Engage with their content, reach out to them, make friends! When they’re engaging with you, you’re earning exposure to their fanbase.
As always, all of this stands as additional to the baseline requirements of being a worthwhile content creator. That means create consistently, interact with your audience, and don’t be spammy or try to cheat.
Creative Community Director at Snapfluence.
There is often a pen stuck in my hair.