If you’ve ever seen a snapshot of Instagram Insights, you would have noticed that right at the bottom of your insights, it features where audiences of the posting are coming from. Audiences from Hashtag and Home, rather self-explanatory. Then there is ‘From Explore’ and you might have asked ‘What is it?’. That’s our cue.
Since the early days of Instagram, Explore Page has existed to allow audiences to discover content beyond those they currently follow. It used to be that Instagram users would cheer ‘Hoorah’ when their post snags a place on the Explore Page because it meant that their posting garnered high engagements. However, some time between now and then, Instagram evolved and getting on Explore Page meant more than just having high engagements. Today, it is a complex maneuver of Instagram’s algorithm before a post lands a coveted space on a user’s Explore Page. Yet, how much do we know about audiences who engaged with content from the Explore Page?
What Is Explore Page?
Instagram’s Explore Page is the platform’s source of real-time content, where each individual user is able to access content based on their own and their followings’ interests – in other word, customised. Hence, it is important to note that every user’s Explore Page is different from one another as it is based on their personal interest/s.
The Instagram algorithm working silently behind the scenes studies a user’s behaviour on the platform by observing their engagement patterns (ie. what posts does the user most likely comment on, what are the patterns of content consumption). Based on the results, the algorithm select accounts and content similar to the user’s interest but have yet to follow and serves them up to the audience on the Explore page
What Benefits Are To Be Gained Through Appearing On Explore Page?
In short, massive exposure from a single piece of content.
As of January 2020, Instagram is ranked the 6th most popular social network worldwide, with over 1 billion users. Of that, a staggering 200 million user accounts would view Instagram’s Explore Page on a daily basis or 50% of Instagram’s total user (that’s 500 million user accounts) would scroll through Explore Page monthly.
This in-app promotion of content is allowing brands who work with KOLs to also reach out to a whole new pool of audiences who have yet to discover the KOLs themselves. As these targetted users share similar interests, it is likely that the branded content is also serving potential consumers.
How To Snag A Spot On Explore Page?
There is no sure way to land a spot on a user’s Explore Page. However, there are several ‘triggers’ that allows a KOL’s content to stand a better chance:
1. Content direction should be mindful to encourage audience engagements
Beyond the obvious of creating engaging content that encourages the audience to shower it with likes and comments, consider as well trends and evergreen content-styles. The later are content that users are hungry to engage with and as such, more likely for the branded content to be featured on a user’s Explore Page. As mentioned above, being featured on Explore Page can potentially expose branded content to more audiences than initially intended – a result of just having to be mindful of content directions to KOLs.
For example, quick-recipe style contents are evergreen contents that have a huge audience on Instagram with a demand to be engaged with – making it more likely that Instagram is able to detect these user interests and serve content accordingly. Meanwhile, trends like the Dalgona coffee can come and go but while it is trending, latching on to the theme allows branded content carrying such themes to be further promoted on Explore Page.
2. Fact is, video content do attract more audience attention
Videos on Instagram’s Explore Page are on an auto-play function, which tends to attract more audience attention, especially amongst audiences who prefer video content over photo postings. This auto-play function allows branded content to stand a higher chance of attracting the audience’s attention on the Explore Page, triggering engagements. However, photos that are highly visual will still outperform average video content.
3. Remember to use those tags(!)
Capitalise on geotags, tags, and hashtags; it allows audiences with similar interests to your brand or content to be targetted with the KOL’s content. As much as possible, pairing it with trending topics as mentioned above, allow KOLs to add on a tinge of quirky phrases to it and we are in the running towards that Explore page. The Instagram algorithm tracks those visuals just as well as the captions and tags, so don’t think lightly of them.
4. Avoid reposted content like a plague
Reposted content often gets demoted by Instagram’s algorithm, preferring to prioritize photos, videos and even Instagram stories. It often does not garner much engagement on the KOL’s platform themselves and it also does not benefit from the massive audience pool that is the Explore page. Afterall, engaging a KOL comes with unique content from KOL that is speaking to the audience from a different and unique voice – take advantage of it.
Unless of course, it is a well-orchestrated strategy to create a templatised content whose aim is solely to trend and not to educate or to engage with the audience – such as the orange tile postings from Fyre Festival’s teaser KOL engagement.
With that being said, audiences from Instagram’s Explore Page does play a role in helping us to understand the returns and outcomes from a KOL’s posting. Be it tapping into a larger audience base, to identifying if the content has the potential to speak to a wider audience or if the content is relevant to the current social conversations – they can be key to broadening a brand’s awareness on the social media sphere through influencer marketing.