Nowadays, social media platforms mostly earn money through ads; however, the Instagram Explore page remains one of the best options still available when it comes to organic reach.
For the Explore feed to exist, Instagram fine-tuned its algorithm so that it shows people only content they might be interested in based on what posts they like and accounts they follow.
As a brand, if you often manage to appear in the Explore tab, that will lead to higher engagement, more extensive reach, and more impressions. It’s the place to reach if you want to grow your social media following and online presence.
That’s why this blog post will be focused on the latest updates to the algorithm and the steps you have to take so that your content lands on the Instagram Explore page.
What is the Instagram Explore page?
Let’s start from the basics. The Instagram explore page is basically a collection of photos, videos, and reels that are selected for each user individually based on his or her activity on the platform. The idea behind this tab is to recommend content to users that they might find interesting.
However, the algorithm behind the Explore page is constantly changing and developing thanks to machine learning, as it’s desperate to become even better at selecting appropriate content for each user.
The Instagram Explore page is easily reachable for any person; it can be found by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the menu. Then, at the top, there is a search bar that lets you search for accounts, hashtags, and places. Whenever you search for something, the algorithm takes notice, and soon you’re likely to start finding similar posts on your Explore page. Furthermore, when you select one photo or video on the page, if you scroll down, you will be given more and more content related to that first photo that you opened. That’s how the Explore page turns into a portal for even more feed and content.
More than 200 million accounts go to the Explore tab every day, according to statistics.
How Does the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm Work?
If you and your friend open the Instagram Explore page simultaneously, you will see two completely different pages. This is totally normal since the Explore tab is personalized for each user, thanks to what Instagram refers to as its Explore Feed Ranking System.
This system is more known as the Instagram algorithm, and it uses machine learning to make adjustments to the content that’s displayed on each user’s phone. Unlike the home feed, where users see posts from accounts they follow, the people behind the Explore page categorize it as an “unconnected system,” meaning that posts there are chosen based on user activity and are ranked using that data.
To explain it more simply, the Explore tab for each Instagram user is based on
- posts with high engagement.
- the accounts that someone follows.
- what the accounts that someone follows like.
- the types of posts the user often engages with.
That being said, Instagram is constantly working to improve how the algorithm works, so everything that applies today might change tomorrow.
Does Having an Instagram Business Account Affect Explore Page Feed Ranking?
Currently, the algorithm doesn’t take into consideration what type of account you have. Its ranking only favors accounts that people often interact with, regardless of whether they are personal, business, or creator accounts.
However, businesses can still benefit largely from getting on the Explore page since it will make them more easily discoverable to a broader audience.
Benefits of Getting on the Instagram Explore Page
When your content shows up on people’s Explore pages, that means that your content is getting more exposure. But that’s not the only benefit you gain from landing on that page.
If your account manages to appear on people’s Explore pages, then that can lead to
- more engagement for your post (whether it’s a video, a reel, or a simple photo).
- a rise in new followers (if your post reaches a wide audience, some of those people will likely be interested in your account and decide to follow it).
- increased engagement on future posts (due to the bump in followers).
- more conversions (if you’re using the proper call-to-actions, you will likely notice a spike in the conversion rate as well).
- an increase in sales thanks to Instagram shopping tools and product tags.
Now that you know how getting on the Explore page may do a ton of good for your social media presence, let’s look at how you can make that happen.
9 Tips for Getting on the Instagram Explore Page
If you want your posts to be a part of Instagram’s suggestions for your target audience, then here are nine easy tips that will help your content get on the Explore page.
Know Your Target Market
If you’ve been on Instagram for some time, it’s likely that your audience already follows you. However, to land on the Explore page, you have to take things one step further. Check your Instagram demographics and look for target audiences you’d like to reach by getting to the Explore tab. Then try to learn what type of content these accounts like most.
An excellent place to start your research is your own Explore feed. Take a deep dive into all the posts, categories, and feeds you see. Look at things you might be able to emulate. To make this exercise a tad easier for you, try answering these questions:
- What tone resonates with users the most?
- Is there a visual aesthetic that performs best?
- Are there particular captions that get the most responses?
Have Engaging Content
Once you have a better understanding of what your target audiences find engaging, you can start looking to gain some Instagram engagement as well. The first step is by applying the knowledge you gained in your research to your brand’s social media content strategy.
Usually, videos get more engagement as they autoplay in the Explore tab and are often shown in a bigger format on the screen feed. However, pictures with product tags, carousel formats, or just fantastic aesthetics can also be engaging. Don’t forget – captions matter too.
The best practices you have to always follow are to
- have high-quality visuals.
- offer something valuable – great storytelling or a beautiful aesthetic.
Remember that engagement is not only likes and comments. You want to create posts that people will want to share with friends or save for later.
Use New Content Formats
Reels is the newest format addition to Instagram and the platform desperately wants it to succeed. That’s why reels has its place both in the Explore feed and in its own dedicated tab. In fact, in order to accommodate the reels tab, the whole homepage was redesigned.
That means that getting discovered in the Reels tab can also lead to you getting to the Explore page. However, be mindful about reposting TikTok videos – apparently, Instagram tends to mark down videos that contain the TikTok watermark.
Remember that Instagram often changes the formats they’re favoring. Make sure to stay on top of the platform’s updates so that you always know what type of content to create.
Get an Active Following
One of the primary purposes of Instagram’s Explore page is to connect users to larger communities that exist on the app. Instagram points to community building as its main key to success, which means that you should consider it a significant part of your social media marketing too.
Having an active following on Instagram is the best way to get Instagram’s algorithm to suggest your posts to similar audiences through the Explore page.
Try to encourage your audience to engage with your account. Start conversations in the comment section and answer to DMs as much as possible. Along with that, get your followers to turn their notifications on for all your posts so they will be able to boost your engagement quickly.
Have a Posting Schedule
Instagram’s algorithm pays attention to when your posts go live. This means that when your post is brand new, it will get shown to a larger number of your followers, thus helping you get more engagement (as long as they’re active at that same time).
In order to know when your target audience is the most active, you have to take a deep dive into your analytics and stats that exist for your industry. Once you have a particular timeline in mind, then you can start prioritizing posting in that time frame.
Use Relevant Tags
If you want to extend the reach of your content, a great way to do it is through hashtags, geotags, and account tags. Remember that people use the Instagram search bar to look for specific hashtags and locations too. With some of the newer updates, users can even follow particular hashtags that they’re interested in. You should carefully choose geotags and hashtags so that your posts appear in front of people who are searching for them.
Another way to show your content to new audiences is through account tags. Be sure to tag accounts that are relevant to your post – whether members of the company’s team, brand partners, or influencers. The photographer and the illustrator are good choices as well.
Check Your Analytics
Check your analytics to find which posts of yours already get engagement from your audience. By knowing that, you will know which kinds of posts you need to create.
You may find that they like your reels better than your carousels or that you get more responses on your inspirational posts compared to the funny ones.
Consider Having an Ad Run on the Explore Page
If you’re willing to spend some money on advertisement, then you should consider running an ad on the Explore page. However, you have to know these ads won’t get you directly on the Explore feed. Instead, they will only put you in the next best position – the scrollable feed that shows up when someone clicks on a particular post on the feed.
However, this type of ad will only work if your content is incredibly engaging to the audience to begin with.
Don’t Rely on Algorithm Hacks
Doing things like paying for Instagram followers or creating Instagram pods may give you some short-term gains, but they won’t really pay off in the long run.
That’s because Instagram’s feed ranking is based on machine learning that utilizes data and adapts to patterns it finds so it’s able to notice inauthentic activity and mark such accounts down.
How to Reset Instagram Explore Page If You Don’t Like What You’re Seeing
If the posts you see on the Instagram Explore page aren’t to your liking, you can quickly change what you see by simply pulling down and refreshing the feed. That’s, however, only a short-term fix.
If you want to change what you see in the long run, you can show the algorithm which posts you don’t like by
- Opening the post you don’t like,
- Clicking on the three dots above it, and
- Selecting “Not interested.”
If you do that for a certain amount of time and with the different types of posts you don’t want to see on your Explore feed, Instagram’s algorithm will take notice and stop showing you similar content.
Getting to Instagram’s Explore page is the best way to gain more followers, have more engagement, and build a community on social media. It’s also one of the best marketing tools for organic reach, as you cannot buy your way in, as the algorithm places your content there only if it’s engaging enough in the first place.
If there’s only one thing you take from this post, let it be this: if you want to truly inspire brand loyalty and get consistently high engagement on your social media posts, the only way to achieve that is through high-quality content that your target audiences find engaging, informative or funny.
So, don’t spend too much time thinking about what tricks you can do to make the Instagram algorithm pick your content and instead focus on making your posts meaningful, aesthetically pleasing, and tailored to your target audience’s interests.