When it comes to Instagram, getting on the Explore page is a surefire way to gain more exposure. Through the Explore page, you can maximize your reach and get your content in front of relevant users and potential customers. That means more views and impressions and possibly more Instagram followers.

How can your brand make the most of this prime real estate and get on the Instagram Explore page? Let’s find out.

What is the Instagram Explore page?

The Explore page on Instagram is a collection of content based on a user’s individual interests. The Instagram algorithm curates content based on similar accounts or content interacted with. The Explore page includes photos, videos, Reels and even Stories. Instagram curates the content on this page to the taste of each user, so no two Explore pages are alike.

Instagram users access the Explore page by tapping on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the app screen.

Instagram Explore Page with a search of "space"

Source: Instagram

From the top search bar, you can use keywords to find popular content, accounts and tags related to a specific topic.

You can further filter the results according to niche categories. For example, the Explore page for “DIY crafts” shows more filters to narrow down your search by material or medium. This helps Instagram users get specific with their searches. As a business owner, it can give you ideas on what type of content your customers are looking for based on the search results Instagram returns.

Why the Instagram Explore page matters to your brand

Your brand should care about getting on the Instagram Explore page because it means more people may see your content. With Instagram projected to have nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users by 2023, this increased visibility will have several related benefits:

  • Increased followers: More than 200 million accounts visit the Instagram Explore page daily. That’s 50% of the platform user base. And among these users, Instagram will display your content in front of those who are most likely to be interested in your account. This means you have a good chance of turning some of them into new followers.
  • Increased engagement: If users like the content they see, they’re likely to engage with it by liking, commenting or even sharing with friends. So when they discover your content through the Explore page, it could boost engagement for your brand.
  • Increased sales: When more people discover your content through the Explore page, it helps get your products in front of the right people. Moreover, your shoppable Instagram posts can also show up in the Explore page. More people discovering your products could translate to an increase in sales.

How the Instagram Explore page algorithm works

Instagram uses a Feed Ranking System to personalize each user’s feed and Explore page. The Explore page algorithm relies on machine learning to collect ranking signals and decide what to display. It uses an “unconnected recommendation system,” where the platform chooses posts based on each user’s activity on Instagram.

The Instagram algorithm then ranks these posts based on several factors. These factors include engagement, freshness, content quality and relevance.

Visual representation of connected recommendations and unconnected recommendations used in the Instagram algorithm

To sum up, Instagram personalizes the Explore page based on:

  • Posts that are fresh and see a ton of engagement
  • The types of content you regularly engage with
  • Accounts that you’re already following
  • The types of posts that see engagement from people you follow

For example, let’s say you follow a lot of food accounts and engage with Reels related to cooking. In this case, Instagram will collect popular food-related content for your Explore page.

The ranking system is currently based on relevance and interaction. As long as they meet the necessary criteria, Instagram equally favors content from all types of accounts. This is great news if you’re running an Instagram business account. It means you stand as good a chance of getting on the Explore page as an influencer or a personal account.

5 tips on how to get on the Instagram Explore page

With millions of posts created every day, visibility on Instagram is very competitive. This also makes it challenging for posts to show up in the Explore page. Use the following best practices for Instagram to improve your chances:

1. Share engaging content

Engagement is one of the major ranking signals that the Instagram Explore page algorithm looks for. Creating engaging content is easier said than done. Take a look at your existing content and your target audience. What types of Instagram content do they engage with the most? A quick Instagram audit can help you with these discoveries.

Ideally, your content should have two main qualities – it should be useful and it should catch the eye. Does your content add value? Does it help your followers achieve anything or solve a problem? Or perhaps it informs and educates them. You could even create content just to entertain them if that aligns with your brand personality.

2. Get inspiration from other posts on the Explore page

If you’re not sure how to create engaging content, look at what types of content usually make it to the Explore page. This can inspire you to create the kinds of posts your target audience is engaging with. It can show you what approach is working for other accounts relevant to your industry so you can get inspired and craft your content strategy.

Perhaps people are enjoying bite-sized how-to videos. Or maybe infographic carousels seem to see high levels of engagement. Do you see more “before and after” transformations than regular customer stories?

Make a note of the winning “recipes” and find a way to use them for your own Instagram content strategy.

3. Perfect your timing for optimal engagement

Timing is an important factor when it comes to getting engagement on social media. With thousands of new content coming up every minute, your post could get lost in the feed if it doesn’t see immediate engagement. The key to tackling this problem is by posting when your followers are most likely to see it.

The best time to post can vary by location, industry and audience. So take a look at how your own followers are behaving to understand when to publish your content. A platform like Sprout Social makes it easy to find your best times to post. With the Optimal Send Times feature Sprout uses engagement data from your profiles to identify the best times to post for the most audience engagement.

Sprout Social has an optimal send time feature that uses engagement data to recommend your best times to post on any given day.

 4. Keep things fresh with new formats

When Instagram introduces new content formats, it tends to display these formats prominently for users to engage with. Notice how Reels have a dedicated tab on the Instagram app. It’s because Instagram wants the feature to succeed.

Creating Reels improves your chances of driving engagement and organic reach. It can also help diversify your feed, allowing you to keep your audience interested and engaged. Beyond Reels, make sure you experiment with other content formats as well. This can include Stories, carousels and shoppable posts. Ideally, take a look at the trending content format right now and then leverage it for your own strategy.

For example, Sprout’s Instagram account regularly switches up formats to include videos, carousel infographics, employee spotlight photos and Reels keep the feed diversified.

5. Consider investing in paid ads

Reaching audiences through organic posts can be hard, so it helps if you can amplify your efforts with some paid ads. Instagram allows you to run ads in Explore, which prominently displays your content to users browsing the Explore page.

Keep in mind that these ads won’t guarantee you a spot on the main Explore page. But they will appear when a user clicks on one of the posts from their Explore page and scrolls down. This still significantly improves your content visibility. And it allows you to reach relevant users even if you haven’t made it to their organic Explore page.

Earning your place on the Instagram Explore page

More than 157 million Instagram users are in the US and are the second largest audience group by country. So leveraging the Explore page gives you the potential to reach millions of new and relevant users.

The good news is that getting on the Instagram Explore page doesn’t have to be rocket science. Using the right blend of good content, timing and fresh content formats can get you ahead of the race. But to perfect your approach, you need to have a better understanding of what your audience wants to see from you.

Want to know what consumers expect from brands on social? Download the Sprout Social Index™ to discover valuable insights about social consumers.