Instagram’s Explore page is an indispensable discovery tool that opens up a lot of benefits for content creators, brands, and everyday users, such as wider organic reach and increased product visibility. However, given the immense popularity of Instagram—approximately 71% of businesses in the US use Instagram—cutting through the noise and attracting a sizeable audience can become a challenge.
Whether you’re promoting your brand or selling products on e-commerce marketplaces, Instagram’s Explore page is a valuable tool for growing your business. In this article, we’ll dive deep into why it’s crucial for brands to get on the Instagram Explore page and share some practical tips to help you get there.
A study commissioned by Meta found that Instagram is the number one social media platform people use to connect with their favorite brands. This means that brands can create a presence on the platform, which, in turn, helps them build brand loyalty and reach new audiences.
It’s estimated that by 2025, 47.5% of Instagram users will become social commerce buyers, meaning that they will use the platform to make at least one purchase.
Furthermore, over 50% of Instagram accounts use the Explore page every month. These figures show how Instagram and its Explore page can be powerful tools for brand discovery and business growth.
The Explore page is technically a collection of content in various formats (photos, videos, Stories, or Reels) that helps users discover tailored and new content from accounts they don’t follow.
According to Instagram, the Explore page was designed to help users “discover new things.” It differs from Feed and Stories, given that the content users usually see from them comes from the accounts they follow. The Explore page focuses on providing users with recommendations to facilitate faster and more effortless discovery.
Reimagined in 2015, the Instagram Explore page enables trends to appear in real time, allowing users to see what’s happening or trending near them or elsewhere. According to Instagram, these recommendations may be based on how relevant the content is to your interests or past interactions on the platform. Factors that can influence what you see on your Explore page include the accounts you follow, the content you’ve liked on the platform, and the connections you have on Instagram.
Instagram itself uses a variety of algorithms and processes to create personalized experiences for users based on how they use the platform. This also applies to the Explore page, which uses an algorithm that enables users to discover entirely new content.
The process of curating the content you see on the Explore page starts with Instagram “defining a set of posts to rank.” To help you discover new content, the platform looks at signals or factors, such as the posts you’ve previously liked, saved, or commented on. For example, if you’ve recently liked several photos from a food-related account, specifically pastries, Instagram checks who else likes the same account and what other accounts they’re following or are interested in. For instance, people who like the same food-related account are also interested in customized cakes. So, the next time you open your Explore page, you might see posts from an account that specializes in customized cakes.
Once the platform has found content that you might like, the photos and videos are then ranked based on how interested you might be in each one. Instagram accounts for how interested you might be in a post based on how likely you’ll do something with the post, such as liking, saving, or sharing it.
Some of the most important signals the platform looks at to create a curated Explore page include:
Getting on the Explore page opens a world of opportunities for your brand. When done well, being on the Explore page can help you attract new followers, drive engagement, boost your visibility, build brand awareness, and potentially generate more sales. However, it’s worth noting that you need to put in a fair amount of work before you can get on the Explore page. This means taking steps to constantly keep your audience loyal and engaged and creating relevant and valuable content to help you gain traction.
Ending up on the Explore page requires a sound strategy and a lot of planning. Below are several tips to help you get on the Explore page.
Checking your own Explore page is a good place to start. See which types of posts are featured on your Explore page, what keywords or hashtags are used, and what makes these posts engaging. Once you’ve pinned down what works for you, you can use this insight to inform your content strategy for Instagram. Having a good understanding of your target audience is also crucial, as this helps you find the type of content or posts that engage them. Use data to uncover the preferences of certain demographics, what tone or visual style appeals to them, and what your competition is doing. Does your audience prefer video over photos? Do they engage more with funny and relatable memes compared to serious posts?
Instagram’s analytics tool, Instagram Insights, helps you learn more about your followers and your performance. It also lets you check audience engagement for specific posts and other types of content, as well as your paid activity (if applicable). Note that you must have a business or creator account to access this feature.
Optimizing your Instagram profile helps you make a good first impression on your target audience. You can optimize your profile by making your bio more engaging. Use keywords that are relevant to your niche, brand, or audience. Make sure to clearly describe what your brand is all about and include a compelling CTA to encourage your audience to take action.
Instagram Reels are becoming more popular than carousel posts. In fact, the usage of Reels has seen a 57.4% YoY increase in 2023. In 2022, Instagram’s Head, Adam Mosseri, announced several new features, which include the Reels Video Merge to make it easier for users to find video content. Instagram now has one video format, which means all videos on the platform are going to be Reels.
Reels are a great way to generate engagement and reach a wider audience. By creating compelling Reels, you’re making it easier for Instagram’s algorithm to promote your content to other users who might be interested in similar content. To make your Reels more engaging, you can add photos and leverage new or emerging trends.
While creating original content can be time-consuming, it’s the best way to get your content on the Explore page. Instagram has made changes to its algorithm and recommends that users refrain from reposting content, particularly recycled TikTok content.
An Instagram user survey found that users had a subpar Reel experience when it came to viewing recycled content from other social media platforms. In response to this finding, Instagram started to demote or deemphasize recycled content in recommendations. This means that reposted or recycled content will be less discoverable, especially to users who aren’t following the account that’s posting this type of content.
Hashtags are a great way to expand your reach and help other users discover your content. Hashtags help the platform categorize your content, allowing people who use the same hashtags or interact with content using such hashtags to discover your content. Instagram lets you add up to 30 hashtags to your posts. You can search for related hashtags on Instagram for your particular niche. For example, if you’re into pastries, you can use hashtags like #pastries, #frenchpastries, or #pastriesofinstagram.
Using different formats can help boost your engagement on Instagram. Consider using carousel posts if you haven’t already. Carousels are interactive and are considered more engaging compared to Reels. In 2022, Carousels were found to have the highest average engagement rate compared to other types of Instagram posts. You can always experiment with different formats to keep your content fresh and engaging. You can test your Carousels and check your analytics to see how each type of content performs.
Using strategic keywords can help the Explore page algorithm have a better understanding of your content and what it’s about. Users also rely on keywords to find relevant or popular content, accounts, or specific tags on the platform. To make an effective caption that makes use of descriptive keywords, you can incorporate such keywords into your first line. Make sure to use clear and concise language to help users easily understand what your post is about. Don’t forget to add a specific and compelling call-to-action to help drive conversions.
“Engaging content” can mean a lot of different things to different people. A good place to look for what’s engaging for your audience is to look at your content and determine the types of content that your target audience is engaging with the most. Whether you’re planning on making Reels or Carousels, it’s important to remember that your content must be useful and should be of value to your audience. Do you want to educate your audience through your content, or do you want to help them solve a specific problem?
Collaborations can help you grow your reach and attract new audiences. The more people interact with your posts, the more likely it is for you to get on the Explore page of other users. You can look into building partnerships with other creators or brands to create a post that’s designed to drive engagement. You can also create Live videos featuring other creators in your network to grow your exposure.
Increasing your engagement entails knowing when your target audience is online. You can use tools like schedulers to see optimal times for posting. If you have an Instagram Business account, you can check when your followers are most active by going to the Insights tab and clicking on the Audience section.
Your Instagram data gives you a clearer picture of how your posts are doing. While you can use other tools like Hootsuite or Later to track and measure your performance, Instagram also has a built-in analytics tool (Instagram Insights). You can use the insights to create a more effective strategy and remove all the guesswork when it comes to seeing what works and what doesn’t on Instagram. Using the tool, you can view metrics like accounts reached, total engagement, reach, and profile visits.
Consistency in posting helps the Explore page algorithm learn about your routine, which also helps it find and suggest relevant posts to users. To improve your consistency, you can focus on the best times to post, as well as your topics. Find the best times to post (when your followers are online or most active) and try to stay on topic with your posts as much as possible, as this can help boost engagement and attract people who are interested in that particular topic.
Instagram’s guidelines and recommendations help ensure that users get the best experience possible. Breaking the rules means your content won’t likely make it to the Explore page. Instagram outlines five content categories that, while allowed on the platform, may not be recommended to users. These are:
Getting on the Explore page unlocks many benefits for your brand, including:
When users like what they see, they’re more likely to engage with it. Actions like liking, commenting, or sharing your post help increase engagement. When you’re featured on the Explore page, you have the opportunity to increase your brand visibility and grow your engagement as your content gets seen by more people.
Social media platforms, in general, are a great way for people to discover brands. This helps build brand awareness and boosts your brand’s and products’ overall visibility online. As more people get to see your brand and what you have to offer by being on the Explore page, you can use this opportunity to promote your products and grow your following.
When more people discover your brand by being featured on the Explore page, you have the opportunity to showcase your products to the right audience. By leveraging shoppable Instagram posts as part of your content strategy, you’re not only boosting your visibility but also your potential to drive conversions and sales. To start, you can include compelling CTAs in your posts to encourage your audience to take specific action.
Being on the Explore page means your brand is displayed in front of people who are highly likely to be interested in what you have to offer. This gives you the opportunity to turn your audience into followers and, eventually, into customers.
Instagram also doubles as a valuable tool to grow your Amazon sales. Through multi-channel e-commerce, you can access a larger customer base, which can potentially translate to more sales. Going this route also increases your brand visibility and gives you a competitive edge over other sellers or brands that only use one platform to sell their products.
Instagram Shopping is a feature that lets users shop through your photos and videos directly on Instagram. With a shop on Instagram, you can create an immersive storefront that allows your audience to discover your brand and what you have to offer.
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