Figuring out how to get on the Instagram Explore page can pave the way for big things. Posts featured on this primary feed have the best chance of gaining traction and going viral. Irrespective of the type of content you publish, your goal should be to get on the Explore page. All is well and good, but how to get on the Instagram Explore page when faced with ferocious competition?
Last year, it was estimated that there were around 1.3 billion active Instagram accounts in operation worldwide. More recently, two Instagram insiders interviewed by CNBC suggested it’s more like 2 billion active monthly users.
Either way, Instagram is one of the world’s most popular social networks by a clear mile. Not to mention, one of the most chaotic, congested, and competitive. Putting your own Instagram content in the spotlight means doing what it takes to hit the Explore page.
Whether your run an Instagram business account or personal account, this is the kind of exposure you cannot afford to overlook. The question is – what kinds of tactics and activities will give you a genuine shot at making it happen?
What is the Instagram Explore Page?
Every Instagram Explore page is unique. This is the extensively personalized Instagram feed every Instagram user is presented with. The Explore page you see will comprise a wide variety of public photos, videos, Reels, and Stories. All are showcased and recommended on the basis of your tastes, your preferences, and your habits.
It’s exactly the same as the For You Page at TikTok. Based on things like the people you follow and the posts you like, you’re presented with tailored recommendations accordingly. The more appropriate something is to your tastes, the more likely it is to appear in your feed.
This ‘front page’ of sorts is hugely influential, determining which posts get seen and which go overlooked. According to Instagram, the Explore feed is used by at least 200 million different people each day.
A figure that highlights the importance of doing what you can to get your own content featured—something which, of course, begins by learning how the whole thing works.
How the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm Works?
Thankfully, you don’t need to get bogged down with the technicalities to learn how Instagram’s algorithm works. Basically, the Explore page is powered by what’s known as the platform’s Explore Feed Ranking System. On your home page, you see posts from accounts and people you have chosen to follow.
You’ve clearly demonstrated an interest in them, so it makes sense to show you what they’ve been up to. With the Explore page, recommendations are provided on the basis of other factors. Instagram’s goal is to present you with content from publishers you don’t already follow but will probably be interested in.
To do this, Instagram examines a variety of factors, including but not limited to the following:
- Accounts similar to those you already follow
- The types of posts you engage with most often
- Popular and trending posts with high engagementWho your followers are following
- Your general browsing habits on Instagram
Essentially, Instagram is monitoring every move you make 24 hours a day. The platform’s algorithm tracks what you do and makes assessments accordingly. All of which results in a 100% unique Explore page for every Instagram user. Not to mention the most immensely powerful promotional platform for those who get their content featured.
Advantages of Getting On the Instagram Explore Page
In terms of benefits, there’s really no better way of growing followers on Instagram or boosting your reach. Each piece of content that gets featured on the Explore page could open you up to a bigger audience of potential followers.
Then there’s the benefit of getting more people to engage with your posts in general. Be it a post, IGTV video, or Reel, engagement translates to exposure. The more people see and engage with your content, the easier it becomes to catch the eye of the Instagram algorithm.
More sales, better conversion rates, improved visibility, a major credibility boost – all benefits of getting your posts on the Instagram Explore page. Not to mention the possibility of your best posts going viral.
10 Tips on How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page
Sadly, there’s nothing you can do to force your way onto the Explore page. Recommendations are provided purely on the basis of merit, meaning you have to earn your way into the listings. Your goal is to convince Instagram that your content deserves a place on the Explore page.
Not the easiest task, but perfectly possible with the right approach. Here’s how to improve the likelihood of your content being featured on the Instagram Explore page:
1. Share Engaging Content
First up, you need to create the kind of content Instagram users engage with instinctively. Remember that all signs of Instagram engagement play a huge role in catching the eye of Instagram’s algorithm.
Likes, comments, shares, saves – anything that goes beyond simply viewing the content in question. Compelling captions and the strategic use of CTAs can make all the difference if looking to boost your overall engagement rate.
2. Do Reels
Reels make an appearance on the Explore page on a near-constant basis for a good reason. It’s a feature Instagram wants to succeed, so it’s plugged and promoted at every opportunity. Consequently, putting together your own ultra-engaging Reels can be great for getting featured on the Explore page.
The same also applies to any other features Instagram decides to introduce in the interim. If it’s something Instagram has a vested interest in, you can bet it will be promoted on the Explore page.
3. Grow Your Community
Is there a connection between audience size and the likelihood of hitting the Explore page? Absolutely, for the simple reason that more people = more views and more engagement. The larger and more established your community, the easier it becomes to convince Instagram your content is legit.
Your job is to start and participate in conversations, remain as active as possible, and do everything you can to interact and engage with your target audience. Remember – Instagram is keeping an eye on everything you do at all times and engagement is a big deal.
4. Identify Your Target Audience
The tastes and preferences of all target audiences differ. Hence, the very first thing you should be doing is identifying and analyzing your target audience. Ask yourself – how much do you really know about those you are targeting? Is there a visual style they prefer?
What captions, CTAs, and hashtags generate the most engagement? What do they expect, prefer and demand in a publisher on Instagram? The truth is, everything you do will be of little to no consequence if you do not know your target audience inside out.
5. Post At the Right Time
The best time to post on Instagram is the time your audience is most active and engaged. All is well and good, but different audiences are active on Instagram at different times. It’s, therefore, your job to figure out exactly when your specific audience is at its most engaged and receptive.
Posts featured on the Explore page are prioritized based on timeliness and recency – i.e., how fresh and relevant they are at the time. If you don’t want your posts to be seen by the algorithm as yesterday’s news, you need to publish them at the right times.
6. Use relevant Hashtags
We’ve already touched upon the use of hashtags, but it’s a point that warrants repeating. The hashtags you use tell the platform’s algorithm what your content is about and who it is aimed at. The same can also be said for geotags, highlighting the importance of using them appropriately.
The only hashtags and geotags you should be using are those that are of relevance to your content and of value to your audience. Never (ever) jump on the bandwagon with popular or trending hashtags that aren’t relevant to your content; you’ll live to regret it.
7. Consider Explore Feed Ads
You can’t force your way into the Explore listings, but you can certainly buy your way in. Paid ads don’t appear directly in the Explore feed grid but can still generate huge exposure for your content. In any case, a well-executed paid ad strategy on Instagram can deliver an excellent ROI.
Plus, Explore feed ads can be surprisingly inexpensive, with options available to suit most budgets. Just be mindful of the fact that paid ads and promotions aren’t seen as nearly as trustworthy, authentic, or believable as unpaid, organic recommendations by most users.
8. Don’t Do Algorithm Hacks
Instagram’s feed ranking is powered by machine learning, which is constantly adapting to new patterns in data. So it can recognize inauthentic activity and make adjustments, explains Instagram. Roughly translated, any black-hat attempt to cheat your way into the listings won’t work.
The platform’s algorithm is far too sophisticated to let these kinds of nefarious activities slip the net. Hence, if you come across anyone claiming they can get you featured organically on the Explore page for a few bucks, you’re looking at a scam, period.
9. Use Custom Video Thumbnails
It’s often the simplest things that add up to the biggest differences on Instagram. A case-in-point example is the use of custom video thumbnails of the highest quality. Your thumbnails will play a key role in determining how attractive and engaging your posts are.
More clicks mean more credibility and appeal in the eyes of Instagram. Low-quality thumbnails, generic thumbnails, and (worst of all) misleading click-bait thumbnails will only steer you in the opposite direction of the Explore page.
10. Use Captions
Last up, Instagram hasn’t yet reached a point where its indexation system can scrutinize visual content. Instead, it’s the text that accompanies an image or video that tells Instagram what it’s about. The captions you write give Instagram the information it needs to categorize and showcase your content to the right people.
Precisely why they need to be used and used properly. Research what kinds of search terms your target audience is using at the time, and embed them strategically in your captions.
How to Reset Your Explore Page on Instagram?
Last up, and there’s a neat little trick you can do to reset your Explore page on Instagram. If you’re not particularly happy with what you’re presented with, you can simply place your thumb on the screen and slide it down until the spinning circle appears. Taking things a step further, you can also tell Instagram’s algorithm straight up that there’s something you don’t like.
When you’re recommended a post that’s not your tastes, here’s what to do:
Step 1: Open the “Posts” that are of no interest to you
Step 2: Tap the “Three Dots” to open the menu
Step 3: Select the “Not Interested” option
After which, Instagram won’t show you any content of a similar nature again.
There’s no better way of boosting your reach on Instagram than appearing on the Explore page. The overwhelming majority of Instagram users make full use of their personalized feeds on a regular basis. Content recommendations that come directly from Instagram carry serious weight and influence.
Likewise, posts featured on the Explore page have the best possible shot at going viral. Shortcuts never work, and forcing your way into these high-profile listings is impossible. Content for the Explore page is selected purely on the basis of merit.
Hence, your job is to convince Instagram’s algorithm that your content is worthy of being featured. Something you’ll find much easier to accomplish by bringing each of the above activities into your publishing strategy.