Instagram has recently released some details about how posts are selected for it’s Explore page. This is especially intriguing for marketers, as this has the potential to show your content to people who aren’t following you. With the help of this information released by Instagram (via Facebook), marketers can now aim to optimize content to fit the parameters.
Instagram Explore: Two Stages
Content is vetted through two stages before it has a chance to end up on the Explore page. The candidate generation stage and the ranking stage.
Candidate Generation Stage
In this stage, Instagram leverages “seed” accounts, or previously interacted with accounts that Instagram deems the user is interested in. Instagram also uses accounts similar to seed accounts to expand its candidates. This generates thousands and thousands of potential pieces of content to show to a user. Next, a sample of 500 of these pieces of content is taken and moved onto the next stage, the ranking stage.
The ranking stage involves three stages within it, where the content candidates are narrowed down from 500 to 150, to 50, and finally 25 of the most relevant pieces of content. A user’s Explore grid is then filled with the 25 highest-quality pieces of content.
Instagram uses a formula to predict how users will react to a given post. Different actions carry different weights though, for example, saving a post would boost it’s relevancy more than liking the same post would. There aren’t any specific details around how much weight is given to each action beyond that, though.
To keep the platform diverse, Instagram will not repeatedly seed from the same author or account to prevent users from seeing repeat or duplicate content.
How Can Posts Be Optimized for Instagram Explore?
Given the information we have gotten from Instagram, we know that seed accounts are integral to the selection process for the Explore page. Seed accounts are where Instagram sources the content for this page, so getting selected as a seed account can be crucial in getting your post in front of more people.
The best way to be selected or identified as a seed account is to be consistent with your messaging and signals throughout your page. Consistency helps the platform know what you’re all about and then identify the accounts that are similar to yours. Keeping your posts on the same topic, utilizing the same hashtags, and connecting with accounts similar to your own is your best bet for reaching the Explore page.
For further information or to have our team of experts at Boston Web Marketing give your current social media presence a boost, feel free to give us a call at (857) 526-0096.