The Instagram Search Factor
September 2021

By Jennifer Green

Adam Mosseri has given us a peek behind the Instagram Search curtain. Two weeks ago, Head of Instagram, outlined how the platform’s search function works. Sorting through millions of accounts, posts and hashtags to personalise our user experience, he updated us on the inner workings of the function.

The video gives a refreshing insight, especially with the Favola-approved addition of Mosseri’s necklace. We broke down the key points, and how this may affect your business going forward…

How are Instagram Search Results Ranked?

Unlike Stories, Reels, Explore, and Feed, content revealed in search takes user input into account. In short, the platform uses the search query to figure out what the user is looking for. 

Found on the Explore page, the search bar on the Explore page considers each user’s recent searches and previous interests, as well as the actual search text, to automatically suggest audio, hashtags, accounts, and places. Instagram Search will use this information to rank results. It will also rank signals on the basis of popularity, such as the number of likes and clicks.

So How Can You Appear Higher In Instagram Search?

Mosseri gives us a few tips on how creators and Instagram business profiles have a better chance to have content shown to fans and potential customers/clients. 

  • Use a fitting handle and profile name when publishing content. 

As search results are matched by text, using an Instagram handle that relates to the posted content is essential for showing up in relevant searches. 

  • Keeping Search safe

It is important to stay within Instagram’s Recommendations Guidelines and Instagram is focusing on pushing posts and hashtags lower in Search that spam or violate these guidelines. This also includes adding links to verified sources on important topics that require additional support. 

  • Sharpen those Keywords

Instagram is expanding the reach of content keywords to include a wider range of results. This is something that could be useful to visitors to your profile as they can be directed to your account when they are not sure what specific word, username, or hashtag to search for a topic, as it lets them explore more related photos and videos. 

Finally, Mosseri promises further transparency from the platform on updates and how Instagram works in the future. Well Mosseri, we await your updates and future jewellery choices (shark tooth necklace, anyone?) with anticipation.

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