Instagram just announced two major improvements in an area where it's been severely lacking for its entire existence - discovery. There's a new Explore page with trending tags and places and a more powerful search experience making it easier for users to find people, places, and tags.
Instagram says it sees over 70 million photos and videos posted every day. As this rapid content sharing continues, discoverability will only be increasingly important. It should also help businesses with their Instagram marketing strategies.
The new Explore experience (pictured above) includes trending tags and places as they emerge in real time.
"Through trending Tags and trending Places, you can experience moments like #bonnaroo or #fathersday from every perspective," Instagram says in a blog post. "Rich visual content captures everyone’s unique take — not just what the community is talking about, but also what they’re doing and seeing."
The trends are frequently refreshed based on what's popular at the moment. If you've enabled location services on your phone, it may show you places nearby.
There are collections at the top of the Explore page, which feature interesting accounts and places in various categories:
The content in the collections is editorially chosen by Instagram. They choose new topics to feature twice a week that it thinks the larger Instagram community will like.
The company says it's always working to update the types of photos and videos it shows in Search & Explore to better tailor it for users, and may show photos liked by people whose posts the user has liked or posts that are liked by a large number of people. Note that just because you see a post in Search & Explore doesn't mean everyone else is seeing it.
Here's a look at the new search experience:
"For everyone on Instagram, we’ve dramatically improved the ability to find what you’re looking for," the company says. "With the new Places Search, you can now peer in at just about any location on earth, allowing you to scout out your next vacation spot in the South Pacific, get a look inside that hot new restaurant or experience your favorite music festival — even if you couldn’t make it this year. The new Top Search also lets you search across people, places and tags all at once."
The new features are available in updates to the iOS and Android apps. It's unclear if and when they'll come to the web experience. The new Explore will only be available in the U.S. for now, but will launch in more countries eventually.
Various studies have shown that businesses are somewhat slow to adopt Instagram, but those who do are more likely to see better engagement (compared to Facebook) and/or a faster increase in followers.
Images via Instagram