Instagram Means Business with Improved Real-Time Search and Explore Tools
This week brought some game-changing updates from Instagram, with the announcement of new real-time search functions that allow users to discover trending tags, locations, and curated photo collections. This launch confirmed the industry experts' suspicions about Instagram's push to establish itself as a major social network to rival the likes of Twitter or even, in some ways, its parent company, Facebook.
With 300 million monthly active users and over 70 million photos uploaded to the network each day, Instagram is a big contender for users' mobile browsing time and attention. In fact, according to one report, most mobile users already spend most of their smartphone time to Instagram, averaging about 20 minutes a day. And if Instagram becomes the go-to source for real-time news updates, this number is likely to increase. If you remained unconvinced about the power of Instagram up to this point, these new features might just change your mind.
Instagram's Explore function gets a makeover
Explore tab is where you would normally go to check out Instagram photos that received attention from people in your network, in form of a like or a comment. About half a year ago, this feature was customized to include a list of recommended users to follow, based on their overall popularity and similarity to the user's own Instagram network.
With the latest changes, the Explore function becomes a hub for image content discovery. The new layout will feature real-time trends on Instagram, such as events or holidays, and show top content associated with them. This improved function also complements the Search capability by showing off top trending hashtags and places. So if you're not sure whether to search for #bonnaroo or #bonnaroo2015 for best fest pics, don't worry—the new Explore tab will pull up all the content associated with the festival.
For businesses on Instagram, the Explore tool presents a great opportunity to engage with users outside of their immediate Instagram following. And with this week's update, you can browse through the most popular topics, and pick the photos relevant to your field. You can like or comment on your favorite photos to engage with the photographer, or ask for permission to repost them on your page to mix up your Instagram strategy with some user-generated content. This kind of organic audience targeting can carry your brand over while you wait for the official launch of Instagram ads in your region. Keep in mind: the update Explore and Search features are only available to users in the US for now, with a global launch expected in the near future.Back To Blog