HACKING THE EXPLORE PAGE

Instagram Explore Page

Demistified!

With millions of make-believe articles, rumors and assumptions floating all around the Internet – there is just a vast sea of unrealistic fairy tales on how explore page works. 

Algorithm Explained

Explore page is something that people are more and more confused about the deeper they get into Instagram and going viral. Lets get one thing off the table – assumptions. In this article we will not assume or dream on what the explore page is and how the algorithm to reach explore page works. Lets keep it simple and base everything off of facts.

The explore page is simply a gateway to discovering content. And this gateway as of late is tailor-made to every user. Meaning, there is no single universal explore page. And pretty much the same goes for top posts for hashtags.

In the age of machine learning and artificial intelligence – its pretty much a given that Instagram’s explore page and algorithm work on a way wherein they show you content that they think you’d love the most. What this means is that Instagram takes into account your actions, frequency of visit and so much more – and uses all this data to develop a highly curated and customized explore page.

So – next time you hear people say that they want to go viral via explore page – you’d know that that is something not controllable at all.

Core Factors

There are perhaps three core factors that Instagram has announced apart from other secondary factors that help curate the explore and top post page for a user.

  1. Interest – Instagram as a platform wants all its users to be super active and engaging. In order to ensure that keeps on happening – they track what posts you like and comment on, what videos and stories you check out and based off of that they show you content that they think you’ll end up interacting with. Makes sense doesn’t it? Every platform wants the end user to interact more.
  2. Timeliness – With 1 billion users engaging, uploading photos and so much more – another core factor that decides on what gets preference on the explore page is timing. Basically, the newer the better. Recent posts get more preference as compared to posts that are a week old. (Pretty much understood by seasoned Instagrammers)
  3. Relationship – Yes! Instagram has an algorithm to understand your relation with other users. Do you like and comment a lot on someone’s photos and they happen to tag you in their photos? That would signal Instagram that this person is your ‘friend or family’. If you keep liking and commenting on a users posts- more often than not – you’ll see them on your explore page.

Note: All the above information is coming directly from Instagram and is based off of an interview by Tech Crunch with Instagram product lead. Everything you read is what Instagram has announced directly. No fairy tales or assumptions here. 

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The Future is Here

I t shouldn’t come as a surprise that Instagram is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to harvest data about its users in order to show them content that is curated to users’ frequency, relationship and timeliness of the post.

Moving Further

Frequency

And here comes the question about chronological order. Instagram reversed the much demanded chronological order for posts and everyone seems to be pretty happy about it. You can see Instagram’s own update on the feed order here.

Well – there is a catch. Frequency plays a bit of a role in the chronology. If you’re a frequent user of the app – you’ll see everything in a chronological order. However, if you’re not a frequent user – Instagram will populate for you what it thinks will be most suitable for you.

Add to that their trials on the New Posts button – and I think the users have something they can be happy with.

Following

How many people do you follow? Of those that you do follow – whose profile to you visit more often? Whose posts do you linger on for a while? Everything is taken into account.

The Instagram explore page is highly dependent on the people that you follow and interact with. If you however are unable to see the people you follow on the explore page – it maybe time to go on an unfollowing spree!

Alternatively you can mute certain accounts – which Instagram claims as a tool to help you personalize your own explore, home and top post pages!

Usage

And finally we have usage. Not only does Instagram track on how often you visit the app ‘frequency’ – it also track on how much time to spend on the app. Do you spend 30 minutes a day? Do you spend just a couple of minutes a day on the app?

It all matters and plays a part when it comes to the Instagram Explore Page! And the more time you spend on the app – the deeper Instagram algorithm works to show you posts that would be hidden to those who visit the app for just a few minutes.

TD;LR – for those looking for a full review of the interview by TechCrunch with Instagram Product Lead – Julian Gutman – you can check their post on How Instagram Algorithm Works.

Busting Common Myths

Is Chronological Feed Coming Back?

Yes and No. Instagram scrapped their ‘New Posts‘ button a few months back after a few trials. According to the interview by TechCrunch – Instagram does not want to add more complexity for the users and wants to keep things simple.

In other words – usage and frequency – will determine how the chronology works for each user. Even the home page of your Instagram is pretty much governed by a complex algorithm that works in hopes to show you what it thinks you need to see!

What about shadow-ban?

Well. Well. Well. Shadow ban is just a myth! PHEW! It feels so good to hear that doesn’t it?

Shadow ban was nothing but a small glitch on the Instagram app that has been fixed. Using repetitive or extensive hashtags does not hide your posts! Yes. It does not classify you as ‘spammy’ and punish you for that.

Instagram says – ‘it doesn’t hide peoples posts based on hashtags or any other actions’. Shadow-ban was nothing but a bug as Instagram announced in the interview. More on this at Later and B2c.

Is certain content type preferred?

Nope. Business accounts do not get any special treatment. Contrary to old standards – video content is NO longer preferred on Instagram. Yes – that was the case when videos were a new thing on Instagram – however – that is not the case anymore.

According to Recode – Instagram said ‘we don’t favor accounts that use different parts of the app more than others’. And there you go – there is no preference to a certain category of content after all.

And now you know how the Instagram Explore Page actually works! Please note – some of things discovered in the recent announcements by Instagram contradict earlier statements – we believe its best that we follow the most recent developments when it comes to Instagram.

Dancing with the Algorithm

You can never beat or hack the algorithm. Nope. You can however dance with it. What this means is – when you do get visitors to your profile or impressions on your post – you MUST convert.

We cannot control what goes on explore page – however, it is in our hands to control what happens when we do get the traffic.

If 500 people see your posts and only 5 of them like it – that is a bad signal. However, if 500 people see your posts – and do play the right cards – 300 of them like your posts – well – that is an amazing signal showing your posts to be worthy.

Cracking the Code

And this is how you dance with the algorithm-

  • Social Proof – everything starts and ends with social proof. Its all around us and it governs our actions even if we don’t believe it to be. Social proof trumps all. A post with 10,000 likes and 500 comments will compel the viewer to engage with it than a post that has 100 likes and no comments. Its easier for people to justify their actions if others have done it too – and its more comfortable to join in on a conversation than to start one yourself. People would feel more comfortable commenting on posts that have already a ton of comments – people will like posts that already have a lot of buzz and hype. For starters – you can join our 100% free Instagram pods to build yourself some credibility and market value – our Instagram Engagement Groups have over 500,000 influencers and bloggers like yourself with whom you can exchange quality likes and comments.
  • 3 Second Rule – everything moves so fast these days. We are in an age of information overload. And to battle this overload – we act fast and we act quick. Psychology shows that in 3 seconds of your first meet you decide whether or not you like someone as a person. And pretty much the same goes with social media. You have to impress your viewers quick! Showcase authority and you’re better off. A profile with 100,000 followers will encourage a viewer to take more interest than a profile with 1000 followers. Its the same reason celebrities are notorious for buying followers and views! Their PR agencies – the top most social boutiques in the world know this – you have to showcase authority. Tons of following and engagement – even if fake – it will help you grow faster. Interested in premium social media services? Check out our Wolf Shop for exciting services and offers!

Content isn’t king. Everyone has a professional camera in their iPhones these days. Everyone can travel to Bali and click breath taking photos. Stop worrying about content too much. 1 billion people are uploading it. Rather focus on building credibility, authority, traffic sources and more! With Instagram Explore Page explained – check out this extensive free guide on how to get followers on Instagram!

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