When it comes to Instagram what is the one location every account is trying to reach? The Instagram Explore Page of course! The Explore Page on Instagram is a collection of posts Instagram believes you will be interested in. But how exactly does Instagram know what your interests are?

Using Artificial Intelligence and big data collection, Instagram has created an algorithm for their Explore Page. The Instagram Explore Page Algorithm, is a series of steps taken to create a unique explore feed for every account. Using a multitude of factors the algorithm chooses content that will best fit your interests.

Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users! Understanding how to utilize the explore page on Instagram to grow your business is paramount. Just below we are going to be Unlocking the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm in 2018. With this knowledge you will be able to manipulate the algorithm to help your posts start going viral!

Here’s How to Unlock the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm

Just below we are going to be covering the key components that the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm uses to rank content in 2018. Understanding these factors will help you as a social media manager grow accounts, gain brand exposure and boost engagement significantly.

Video Content Is Blowing Up!

instagram explore page

This post on the @yr.charisma account got over 900k views and 120+ comments in just 3 hours! How is this possible?

With understanding how the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm works! When it comes to content on Instagram, nothing is getting a bigger push than video content. With the launch of Videos for you,  Instagram Live and very recently IGTV. Video content is now becoming a primary focus for Instagram.

How can we use this information to manipulate the explore page algorithm?

By understanding that Instagram is pushing more video to all users. We as social media managers should start producing more video content! Videos on Instagram are no longer restricted to 3-60 second videos, IGTV videos can now be up to an hour in length. This means content creators can be more creative, producing content that will get user’s attention and engagement.

instagram explore page algorithm

In addition, because Instagram is placing such high importance on video content. Gaining engagement, reach, and exposure is significantly easier with videos than photos! Just take a look at our post above almost a million views in just 3 hours!

Understanding the importance Instagram places on types of content can be utilized to manipulate the explore page algorithm in your favor. Meaning that if you know what Instagram is looking for and you start producing content around that. Your Instagram account’s ability to go viral will be exponentially easier!

Wake up guys and start reading between the lines! Instagram never explicitly said they hold videos to higher importance. But a conclusion can be drawn by those who see how the actions they have taken show a tendency towards pushing video content.

Engagement Boosting to Go Viral

The Explore Page categorizes content in a very unique way. Not only does your Explore Page consists of content similar to what you engage with. But it also consists of content that people you follow engage with. This interconnection of interests allows for a spider web network of content to form between followers. This gives your content the ability to have greater reach and exposure, dependent on the accounts that you follow or engage with. Just below we are going to help you use this knowledge to your advantage!

Every Minute Counts…

One of the best methods of reaching the explore page and tricking the algorithm is receiving engagement on your post within the first 45 min. This method can be implemented using our Power Likes Program, which consists of engagement groups waiting to engage on posts within the specified time. This short burst of engagement notifies Instagram that the post is of quality content, causing Instagram to push your content to more users.instagram explore page algorithm

Remember that spiderweb network of content we talked about above? Well when it comes to engagement, quality matters more than quantity. The accounts that engage with your content are avenues for pushing your content. Meaning the more influence they have the more reach/exposure your content and account will receive.

Here is an example, if you were to receive engagement from 10 accounts with a 100k following. Then you’re not only just reaching those 10 accounts, you’re reaching their 1 million combined following with a single post. Plus, if those followers start to engage with your content, then their followers will start to see your content. So on and so forth,

Mastering this type of content networking has the ability to make any post go viral. The more influencer accounts that engage with your post, the easier it is to reach the explore page and grow thousands of followers a day!

How Do You Boost Engagement?

Here are a few tips to put into practice to increase engagement and Unlock the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm to make post go viral!

instagram explore page algorithm

  • Create Captivating Content. Finding content that is already going viral is a great start to grab some of the tail end hype to boost your engagement. Also providing quality content goes a long way. People want to see high quality images with captions that are meaningful.
  • Create Call to Actions. Some times followers just need a little push to engage. Some of the classic CTA’s for engagement is “Double Tap if you Agree”, “Tag a friend who needs to see this”, or “Tell us what you think down below” these are sneaky ways to entice your followers to engage. @apex_pack leverages comments by having users submit comments in a contest to be featured on their account.
  • Tag People and Brands. A great way to receive high level account engagement is to tag large brands or influencers. Network with influencers in your niche, engage with their post and start creating a line of communication. This will allow you to create a relationship with them and they can help you grow quickly!
  • Use Proper Hashtags. One of the hidden tools in Instagram that people don’t use enough is #hashtags. A single Hashtag can boost engagement on a post by 12%! Utilize all 30 hashtags that Instagram let’s you use, this will make your post spread farther through sub-niche categories.

instagram explore page algorithm


We spoke briefly about hashtags just above. However, hashtags are such a vital tool when it comes to Unlocking the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm. That we wanted to give them their own explanation and section here.

Just like video content, Instagram is pushing hashtag content and the importance of hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram have the ability to gain a following. Now hashtags can become like influencers and start to build a community around them. These communities can be highly targeted audiences depending on how specific the hashtag is. The addition of this follow feature for hashtags is a small sign that Instagram is placing some importance on it’s function.

Introducing “Related Hashtags”

instagram explore page algorithm

It wasn’t until the 2018 Explore Page Update that Instagram released “related hashtags” at the top of the explore page. This may seem like a small change that has no meaning. However, as we spoke of earlier, you have to start seeing the trends that Instagram is taking in order to get ahead of the game. This small change has meaning, Instagram is pushing hashtag content! They want to start seeing more communities grow around hashtags. This means it will be easier to gain exposure/reach by using specific hashtags. More users will be browsing through hashtag content more often, giving your posts better chances for going viral!

Instagram allows 30 hashtags to be placed on any post, make sure you are using all of them! Do not be generic with your hashtags either. Try to create a powerful list of hashtags that change from post to post. This is how my hashtag break down works for every Instagram account:

  • 15 hashtags pertain specifically to the niche my account is in, these are broad topic hashtags that are used consistently through all of my posts. Some examples include: #yourcharisma #apexpack #luxury #travel #luxurycars #entrepreneur
  • 15 hashtags are post/event specific. Meaning these are fresh hashtags that I find for every post. They are specific in the sense that they apply directly to subject of the content, the location, etc. Some examples include: #bugattichiron #youngentrepreneursclub #socialmediamarketingtips2018

Once again, understanding the importance Instagram places on specific features is huge when it comes to manipulating the Explore Page Algorithm. The power behind hashtags is monumental. Make sure you are taking advantage of that power.

What Goes Viral?

The goal of Instagram is to have the user session time be as long as possible. The explore page is Instagram’s testing site for content’s ability to hold users on the platform. Instagram uses the Explore Page to showcase trending/viral content to hopefully capture the attention of users.

Viral content tends to have high quality engagement, meaning their ability to capture and hold the attention of the user is strong. Instagram promotes these post to increase user session time. The best way to leverage the algorithm, is to work with the algorithm. If your content captures the attention of the user and causes them to engage. Then Instagram will be more than happy to boost your post to the explore page and make your post go viral!

Try Reposting Viral Content

However, some of us do not have the means nor the imagination to create such captivating content. But fear not! Instagram is space for sharing content. That being said, there is a plethora of viral content on Instagram that you can repost.

NOTE: It is imperative that you always credit the original creators.

Leveraging viral content to manipulate the explore page algorithm is huge! Instagram is constantly looking for viral content to promote. The reason content goes viral is because a large number of instagrammers are viewing/engaging with the content. Thus the solution to increasing user session time on Instagram is by promoting viral content! Meaning if your content is going viral, Instagram will take notice to your account. Therefor allowing your account to gain more reach and exposure, it’s a win win for both parties!

instagram explore page algorithm

Viral Niche Content

In the 2018 Explore Page Update Instagram introduced a new way to categorize content. With the use of broad niche topics, small tabs at the top of the explore page have been created to help users find content in different niches.

These niche tabs lead users to an explore page that is niche specific. This will allow followers to find content in niches they would normally not be browsing through. This is just another way for Instagram to push a variety of content to all users. The implementation of these tabs is going to cause serious growth in these niches. Currently there are only a handful of niches that are listed. They include: Fitness, Travel, Style, Humor, Music, Auto, Beauty, Art, DIY, Sports, Food, TV & Movies.

If you are an experienced Instagrammer then these niche topics should appear as no surprise. These are the most popular niches on Instagram and they have been for some time. To dive a little further into each explore page, you will find that all the tabs showcase viral content only!

Having your content within these niche explore pages will be huge for growth. Not only will Instagram index your account and content as quality. But you will experience a significantly higher amount of growth than ever before. This is due to the fact that you are not only gaining followers from the specific niche itself. In addition to those followers, you are gaining followers from the random browsing users. Who are not familiar with these other niches but are simply surfing around. This cross pollination of followers from all niches is going to bring about a more well rounded content platform and of course more growth!

Wrap Up

This is going to wrap up our guide to Unlocking the Instagram Explore Page Algorithm in 2018. All the factors we have talked about are some of the major factors used to rank your content on the Explore Page. Being able to see trends and analyze actions will help to put you ahead of the game. Start analyzing these changes as we have done so above. Small changes can lead to big clues as to the importance that Instagram places on specific features. Start using all the tips we have spoken about to grow your account to monumental heights!

Looking to Reach the Top of the YouTube Search Page? Check Out our “YouTube Algorithm Unlocked”


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