Are you on Instagram? Whether you have a business or personal account on “The Gram,” landing on the “Explore Page” could change your life as a brand, influencer, or independent content creator. The Explore page is one of the platform’s last bastions of improving organic reach.
The Instagram algorithm governs the content that makes it to the Explore Page. Learning how to game the algorithm gives you an edge in getting your content on this page. It gives you the best opportunity for new users to see your pictures and videos and a chance of going viral.
If you use Instagram, understanding the nuances of the algorithm helps you get more views and engagement in your content strategy. Landing on the Explore page for brands and companies helps build awareness and improve conversion.
For independent creators and influencers, landing on the Explore page could send you to superstar status overnight, springboarding your career to the stratosphere. This post unpacks everything you need to know about getting your content on the Explore page.
What is the Instagram Explore Page?
The IG Explore page is a curated collection of content published on the site. It includes photos, videos, Stories, and Reels, tailored to the user’s unique interests, and is different for every account.
The algorithm utilizes the accounts you follow, hashtags, engagement metrics like likes and comments, and hashtags searched to serve your content on the Explore page. So, you’re sure to see the content you find interesting when visiting the explore page.
So, how can the Explore page benefit your content strategy? Essentially, your content follows a theme and the algorithm pushes your content to users with a specific interest in your brand category and the type of content you publish on the site.
If you optimize your posts correctly, the algorithm selects your content to appear on the Explore page. The Instagram team continually develops the algorithm, fine-tuning it to determine the content organically displayed on the Explore page.
You don’t have to be a huge influencer with millions of followers to gain exposure on the Explore page. That’s great news for smaller accounts looking to build their following and gain exposure through the site.
You can find the Explore page by tapping the “magnifying glass” icon on the bottom ribbon of your screen. You’ll see it next to the icons for the Reels and Shop tabs. When opening the Explore page, you’ll see a search icon at the top, allowing you to search the page for keywords, usernames, hashtags, locations, and accounts.
You have options for discovering content categories on the Explore page. Choose to open dedicated IGTV feeds or search topics related to sports, beauty, food, travel, and more. When you search terms on the Explore page, the algorithm presents a continuous feed of content relating to that search.
In essence, the Explore page is a primary feed of portals to other category feeds, refining the content presented to the user with each search request or category they click. For instance, you could open the Explore tab to see content like puppies, surfing, football, and food.
If you click on surfing posts, the Explore page drills down to present more posts relating to surfing and less of the other content categories. More than 200 million accounts look at the Explore tab every day, and landing on the Explore page could revolutionize your success on the platform.
Understanding the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm – How It Works
Every Explore page presents differently for each user. It’s a completely unique and curated experience for everyone who uses the platform; no two results are alike. The algorithm personalizes the content served to your using the Explore Feed Ranking System, aka “the Instagram algorithm.”
The algorithm uses machine learning to adjust the content displayed based on factors like ranking signals and data sources. The Explore page is an “unconnected system.” It’s different from the home page content served to you.
The home page displays content from the accounts the user follows. The Explore page presents posts from all users on the platform, producing content the algorithm assumes the user finds interesting. The Explore page algorithm chooses content based on the user’s activity on Instagram, ranked on similar factors.
In context, the algorithm selects content for the Explore page based on the following metrics.
- The accounts the user follows.
- The content the user views and engages with on the platform.
- Posts with high engagement metrics (likes, comments, replies).
The Instagram team introduced Machine Learning Model Cards to ensure the Explore page algorithm doesn’t create a bias toward specific user accounts. Anyone can land on the Explore page, provided their content meets the earlier requirements.
Does an Instagram Business Account Affect Your Chances of Landing on the Explore Page?
No, the Instagram Explore algorithm doesn’t differentiate between content from personal and business accounts. That means brands have a chance of landing on the Explore page, even if they’re new to marketing on Instagram and don’t have a large following yet.
Instagram aims to create an environment enabling business accounts to develop meaningful connections with their target audience. It provides a platform where they can have their content discovered by people looking to expand their interests in the content they view on the site.
What are the Benefits of Landing on the Instagram Explore Page?
So, what are the benefits of landing on the Instagram Explore page? The benefits are similar for personal and business accounts.
- An increase in views and engagement on your posts (likes, comments, replies, shares).
- An increase in new followers.
- An increase in residual engagement from those new followers.
- An increase in conversion for businesses and influencers selling products through Instagram or off-site.
How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page – 7 Strategies that Bring Results
You should now understand the importance of getting your content to the Instagram explore page. Let’s look at seven proven strategies to help you make that happen.
Strategy 1 – Understand Your Target Audience
Do you know your audience? What kind of content do you create, and who’s interested in viewing it? Are you producing kids’ entertainment? Or are you creating beauty how-to tutorials for women? Understanding your demographic is critical to your content strategy.
Dive into posts on your Explore feed and see what those accounts offer. Look at the tactics they use that make them successful.
- What content seems to resonate with the audience?
- Is a visual theme or style outperforming similar posts in that category?
- What captions and copy produce the best engagement rate?
Strategy 2 – Connect and Engage
The Instagram algorithm promotes content that receives high levels of engagement from users. The core function of the algorithm is to connect communities using the platform. So, focusing on building a following should be the backbone of your content strategy.
The more engagement you receive on your posts, the more the algorithm considers your content as adding value to your community. So, take the time to spur engagement on your account and your content.
You can ask the audience directly to like and comment on your posts. Take that tactic to the next level by incentivizing your audience to leave engagement on your posts. You can initiate a giveaway contest for your followers to boost your engagement.
Offer a cash giveaway or a free product to your audience. Tell followers to comment on your posts and tag a friend to enter to giveaway. Ensure you’re transparent with the contest results and promote your winner on your account.
Strategy 3 – Use Reels
Reels are the latest video feature on Instagram and its answer to TikTok. With TikTok dragging market share away from Instagram with its short-form video platform, IG hit back with Reels to retain its user base.
Reels get promoted above all other forms of content on the site. Apparently, the IG team manually reviews Reels instead of relying on the algorithm to do the work. That means you have a real person reviewing your content and a better chance of your Reels ending up on the Explore page.
Reels are short videos, and you have opportunities to use the video to ask your viewers to engage with your content and your account. If you have the chance to use a CTA, take it. The more engagement you drive, the better.
Strategy 4 – Implement Hashtags, Tags, and Geo-Location Tags
Location tags, hashtags, and user tags effectively extend your reach throughout your community and content category. The Explore page allows users to search content based on these tags, making it critical to implement them in your content strategy.
Take a strategic approach to geotags and hashtags to leverage the search function and get your content in front of people interested in those specific tags. User account tags offer another way to serve your content to new audiences.
Share content from your audience and build your community to trigger better engagement rates with your posts. Tags offer you a new dimension to leverage the algorithm without the need to implement a CTA.
Strategy 5 – Use an Analytics Tool
You can implement new strategies to improve your chances of reaching the Explore page. The problem is there’s no way of knowing if it gives you results without an analytics tool. An analytics tool can tell you what content your audience engages with on your account.
You might find results that take you by surprise. For instance, your audience might prefer your Stories over your Reels, or they have higher engagement on black-and-white pictures than on color posts. Understanding what your audience wants to see helps you produce content that drives engagement.
Analytics tools like SproutSocial, TapInfluence, and Bitly give you a wealth of data you can use to identify your top-performing content. When you understand the formula for your success, all you have to do is replicate the strategy.
Strategy 6 – Post at Optimal Times
When you post on the platform matters. If you post your content late at night, chances are no one’s going to see it. If no one sees your post, you won’t get optimal engagement rates, and the algorithm will pass over your content.
Follow this guideline and post your content at the following times to get the best engagement and chance of landing on the Explore page.
- Monday 6am to 10am, 10pm.
- Tuesday 2am, 4am, 9am.
- Wednesday 7am to 8am, 9am.
- Thursday 7am to 8am, 11pm.
- Friday 5am, 1pm to 3pm.
- Saturday 11am, 7pm to 8pm.
- Sunday 7am to 8am, 4pm.
Strategy 7 – Use a Content Mix
Instagram has several photo and video features available for creators. If you’re just posting pictures or stories, you’re missing out on engagement and opportunities to reach the Explore page. Use a combination of publishing features in your content mix.
Publish a story every day and a picture post twice a week. Drop a Reel every other day and a video post once a week. Use IGTV and Instagram Live to promote live events and carousels to advertise new product launches.
There are plenty of ways to diversify your content strategy to improve your engagement metrics and reach the Explore page. Don’t forget to track your analytics and adjust your content strategy as you go.
How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page – Key Takeaways
Landing on the Instagram Explore page can change your experience of using Instagram. All it takes is one post on the Explore page to see your follower count blow up overnight and your engagement rate explode.
Follow the ten strategies in this post to get your content on the Explore page. Implement as many as you can and track your metrics to see how the changes you make to your content strategy affect your engagement and follower count.
Repetition and time are key. You might not experience success overnight, but stay persistent. If you keep pushing out purposeful content, it’s only a matter of time before your post hits the Explore page.