Instagram is set to overhaul its Explore section, which could have significant impacts on how users find your content – and which tags and key terms you use.
As outlined on the Instagram blog, the new Explore layout will still be personalized for each user, but the content will be organized into ‘topic channels’ displayed across the top of the screen, and based on your interests.
This also appears to overrule the current tray of Stories, though they may still show up once you’ve chosen a topic to explore further.
The layout looks similar to Pinterest’s ‘Guided Search’ matches, which uses common search trends to highlight which direction other users have gone in from that initial search.
That could point to an increasing eCommerce focus for the app – but of particular note for marketers, however, should be the listing of related hashtags, which could be what ensures they show up in relevant feeds, and are able to improve their discovery within the app.
While the search trends are personalized to each user, making research a little more complex, the new layout will enable brands to research what’s showing up in each topic, and what hashtags people are using, better informing their strategy.
Now, how effective Instagram hashtags still are is another question – a recent study from Mention suggested hashtags have less effect on reach and engagement than you might expect – but including the right ones likely remains key to connecting with your target audience, especially if they’re browsing through this new Explore layout.
Either way, the new layout adds another consideration to your Instagram marketing strategy, and will require some experimentation to get a better handle on its potential benefits.
Instagram says the new Explore will be coming to all users ‘within the coming weeks’.