For years, Instagram users could only search for content to watch by searching for a specific name, hashtag or location. That’s going to change soon. Instagram announced this week it’s rolling out an update that’ll allow users to use keywords to search for content on the platform, opening more opportunities for content creators to be discovered on the platform.
This is a huge update for Instagram, its creators and its audience because it reinvents how content is found. Ultimately, viewers will be able to find new content creators easier because search can now be non-specific. For instance, before viewers had to search #photography to find content related to photography. Viewers’ search results were limited to posts that had the hashtag in the post. Now, searches will show any post the features the word photography. This will result in more opportunities for content creators to be found in searches and growing their communities.
How will Instagram determine which posts will show up?
According to Ashely Carman from The Verge, it’s unclear how Instagram will determine what a post is about. Carman gave the example that the system showed gluten-free and paleo cookie recipes when she looked up healthy recipes. “My search for healthy recipes yielded gluten-free and paleo cookie recipes, for example, which likely isn’t what someone is trying to find when they search for healthy recipes,” Carmen writes.
Instagram is currently considering a number of factors to help searches show more relevant results. According to the company, it’s considering things like “type of content, captions, when it was posted.”
The system currently uses machine learning to “find the highest quality content” that’s relevant to searches. Right now, it seems searches are quite limited. Carman can search terms like “puppies,” “pasta,” and “flowers,” but she can’t search for terms that are related to the pandemic or politics. Granted, it’s early in the system’s life. There’s a lot of promise for the feature that will hopefully do a lot of good for Instagram content creators.