If you’ve gone to type anything in your Instagram search bar lately, you may have noticed things look a tad different.
Now when you type in a search term, magnifying glasses next to suggested searches pop up instead of the usual list of Instagram accounts.
And if you click on one of those magnifying glasses, it’ll take you to an explore page of content about that search term!
This is a big shift away from how search worked previously on Instagram and creates a new opportunity for getting discovered by wider audiences on the platform.
Let’s take a look at what changed, and what it could mean for you below!
Instagram Search 2.0
Before November 17, the closest we came to a keyword search was Instagram hashtags, usernames, and locations.
And even if you searched a particular hashtag, the results would be limited to posts that the hashtag was used on, or that location was tagged in.
Thanks to the new Search update on Instagram, you don’t actually have to include the keyword in your post for it to appear in a search stream. But, it certainly helps!
Not much is known about exactly how the Instagram algorithm decides what a post is about, but factors including the caption and elements of the image itself definitely play a part.
For example, a few posts not directly related to peacocks also appear in the search feed, with the only correlation being the colors in the videos and images.
And that’s not all – you’ll see an additional selection of possible categories and search terms at the top of the screen.
Here, you see “peacock photography, peacock cichlids” and “peacock painting” all suggested.
However, not all searches are supported. General interest topics can be searched for, but anything that falls outside of Instagram community guidelines is out.
If you type in a controversial or unsupported search, you’ll only see the regular Top, Accounts, Tags, and Places screen.
How to Get More Reach with the New Instagram Search
You may be wondering, what does this mean for me? The answer is, more opportunities to get your content found! That’s a welcome relief these days, as Instagram accounts complain of falling interaction and restricted hashtags.
Now, your content can automatically appear in relevant search streams – appearing where it needs to be at the time that people are searching for it.
And even though it seems you don’t actually have to put your search term in your caption, it’s a good idea to take the extra step.
Taking a few minutes to optimize your caption for Instagram search before you hit publish could mean your post is seen right away!
Presently, the new search feature is only available in English in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.
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Kristen Dahlin is the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind — your new Marketing team, helping you create social media designs, schedule posts, and optimize across Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with one easy-to-use social media management tool. Kristen lives in rural Oklahoma with her husband Kyle, daughter Sophie, boxer Lila, and a very temperamental flower garden.