Getting on the Instagram Explore page is a guaranteed way to increase views and expand your reach to high-intent potential customers on the platform. Even better – it’s free.
If your business is not considering this question, you’re missing a big opportunity to promote your brand and get your content in front of the people most likely to become customers – and to do so organically.
Before we get to the how, let’s take a quick look at the power of Instagram as a marketing tool. Instagram has more than 2 billion users. Of these, more than 500 million are active on the platform, signing in and engaging in some way every day. The overwhelming majority (90 per cent) are following businesses, 83 per cent are discovering new products or services, 81 per cent are researching brands, and 80 per cent are deciding whether or not to make a purchase. Nearly half of Instagram active users shop weekly.
That’s the backdrop to what makes the Explore page a valuable resource for your business. Instagram reports that more than 200 million accounts check out Explore each month. The page/feed is turning into the hub for Instagram users to discover content that reflects their individual interests. For businesses, showing up on Instagram’s Explore page is one of the few ways to expand organic reach and get discovered on social media at no cost.
What is the Instagram Explore page?
Explore is Instagram’s search engine. It allows users to find content on the platform. The Instagram Explore page is a collection of photos, videos, reels and stories. Instagram’s algorithm has automatically selected based on the Instagram accounts a user follows, the photos and videos a user likes on Instagram, and the people and businesses a user is connected to on the channel. No two Explore pages are alike because each Explore page is tailored to individual users.
Instagram users can access their Explore page by tapping the magnifying glass at the bottom of the Instagram app to go to Search & Explore. Tap Search in the search bar at the top and then type in who or what you want to find. Users can search using keywords and hashtags. To filter results, you can tap the Top, Accounts, Audio, Tags or Places buttons below the Search bar.
While an Instagram user’s home feed displays posts from accounts they follow, Instagram describes the Explore page as an “unconnected recommendation system.” The algorithm is trained to choose posts based on a user’s activity across the platform in order to select posts outside the accounts a user follows. The algorithm ranks these posts based on how current they are and how much engagement they generate, the quality of the content, how they align with a user’s interests
, and the types of posts the accounts a user follows engage with.
For businesses on Instagram, this means you’re just as likely to get on the Explore page as personal accounts and influencers.
Tip: The Instagram Explore page displays carefully curated IGTV videos, stories, shoppable Instagram posts, Instagram videos and images. The posts a user sees on the Explore page are from accounts they aren’t following – yet.
- A bigger and highly targeted audience beyond current followers.
- Increased engagement for the posts that land on the Explore page.
- Increased brand awareness.
- More new followers.
- Increased conversions and sales.
Look beyond your current target audience
Explore the demographics of Instagram’s users to identify other target groups you’d like to reach. Millennials and Gen Z represent the majority of people on Instagram. What types of content do they seek out? Use Meta’s Audience Insights to learn as much as you can about the people you want to reach. This will help you create the content they want to see, which will help Instagram’s algorithm find you.
Share relevant, compelling content
Engagement is one of the major ranking signals that Instagram’s algorithm seeks out. Once you’re clear about who you’re targeting and the content they want to see, build this information into your content strategy. The best way to show up on Instagram and build engagement is to create content that educates, helps followers solve a problem or entertains. In all cases the content should align with your brand’s mission and voice. Use analytics to see which posts are resonating and where impressions are coming from.
Tip: When putting together your social media content strategy, conduct a quick audit of Instagram’s Explore page to see what types of content are featured. Use this information to create content your target audience will use and share. For added impact, include captions with calls to action to help further boost engagement.
Use a mix of formats
Instagram is focused on attracting new creators and is introducing new features and formats to make this happen. Stay up to date on these new formats as Instagram will display them prominently to help them succeed. For example, Instagram Reels has a dedicated tab on the app to increase engagement with the format. For brands, developing reels will help improve the likelihood you’ll land on the Explore page.
As a best practice, use a variety of formats – e.g., video, high-quality photos, carousels, boomerangs, shopping posts, stories and reels to keep content fresh and capture your audience’s attention.
Fast fact: Video content on Instagram experiences 49 per cent more interactions than image posts.
Give your brand community a reason to interact
Building communities is a core objective for all social channels. The Explore page is Instagram’s way of delivering on this mission and connecting people on the platform. The more your followers engage with you and each other on the platform, the greater the likelihood Instagram’s algorithm will recommend you to “lookalike audiences” via its Explore page.
Three best practices:
- Use industry, branded
,and topic hashtags, as well as geotags and account tags.
- Start a conversation with followers in the comments section.
- Create contests and require entrants to follow an account and comment.
These are all proven ways to expand your reach, help users find you, and encourage engagement.
Post for maximum impact
Activate Instagram Insights to learn when your followers are most active on Instagram. Schedule posts to appear during these periods and track performance. This will improve the likelihood of engagement and help Instagram’s algorithm find you. Make sure to post regularly, which will meet another important criterion for landing on the Explore page.
Think about amplifying organic posts with paid ads
Instagram allows brands to run ads in the scrollable Explore feed of photos and videos. While these ads won’t show up on the main Explore page, they are displayed prominently when someone clicks on a post from their Explore page.
Instagram’s Explore page is a proven way for brands to reach the audiences that are most interested in their products – and most likely to make a purchase. Make it part of your marketing strategy and start reaping the rewards.