How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page

Get your content discovered by more users

The Instagram Explore page (also known as the Popular page or Discover page) displays photo posts, video posts, stories and IGTV videos that you might like from other users you're not already following.

To find the Explore page, tap the magnifying glass icon in the main menu.

A person looking at the Instagram Explore page on a smartphone.
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How the Instagram Explore Page Works

The Instagram Explore page looks different for every user. The content shown to you is related to the people you follow and the content you interact with.

If you're following a lot of food accounts, Instagram will notice this and start including content from similar food accounts you're not following. You might also notice that if you viewed someone's profile and you're not following them, their posts start to show up on your Explore page.

Content with high engagement (a.k.a. a lot of likes and comments) often make it to the Explore page, but it's not necessarily a requirement.

How to Get Your Instagram Content to Appear on Other Users' Explore Page

Now that you have an idea of how the Instagram Explore page works, you can create a strategy to maximize your chances of having your content show up there.

Make Sure Your Profile Is Public

It might sound obvious, but it has to be said—you won't show up on anyone's Explore page if you have a private Instagram profile. After all, a private account is not meant to be found by strangers and your content is hidden from anyone who isn't following you.

Examine Your Posts With the Highest Engagement Levels

If you've been using Instagram for a while, you may have noticed that some of your posts get a lot of likes and comments while others don't get as many. It's important to identify those posts with the highest engagement levels and try to understand why they're getting more action.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is your audience and what do they like?
  • What topics do your highest engagement posts revolve around?
  • What do your highest engagement posts have in common?

If you have a business profile, you can take advantage of the built-in analytics feature. You can find out more about your audience demographics, what they like to click/tap the most (such as your profile or your website), when they're active and what they like to post or comment on.

If you can spot trends in your posts with the highest engagement, you should continue to post similar content to see if you can keep up the trend.

Post at the Right Time

Posting the right type of content goes hand in hand with posting when your followers are the most active on Instagram. As mentioned above, you can find out when your audience is the most active by looking at your analytics if you have a business profile.

Consider the time zone and school or work schedule of your audience. Good time slots to experiment with include very early in the morning (around 5 a.m.), just before the workday begins on workdays (before 9 a.m.), around the lunch hour, the late afternoon (between 3 and 4 p.m.) and in the early evening (between 5 and 7 p.m.).

Encourage Users to Like, Comment, and Follow

Sometimes it's not enough to post great content and post at the right times to encourage your audience to like and comment. If you really want them to do just that, then you should tell them exactly what you want to do in the post caption.

You can make it fun by getting creative. Try captions like, "Double-tap if you love Friday!" or "What's your favorite thing about Friday? Comment below!"

You might be surprised to see just how much your engagement increases just by giving your audience instructions to interact with you. Remember, the more engagement your content gets, the higher the chances you'll show up on the Explore page.

Include Popular Hashtags and Locations

Hashtags can help ramp up the engagement on your posts quickly, and hashtagged posts may even appear on the Explore page of users who've searched those hashtags. To avoid looking spammy, consider including your hashtags in the first comment of your post rather than your caption.

Tagging locations can also help you hone in on your target audience and potentially show up on the Explore page of users searching those locations. The more popular the location, the better chance you have of being discovered by more users.

Tag Brands and Influencers

If you're posting about a product, a service, a person, an event or anything else, if there's a related brand or influencer account, you should definitely tag them in your post. Do this by tagging them in the photo/video itself and then again by including their handle in your caption.

When you tag other accounts in your posts, Instagram takes this into consideration. If the algorithm finds a relationship between your account/post and the tagged account, your post might actually start showing up on the Explore page of users who follow that tagged account (if they don't follow you).

There's also the possibility that the tagged brand or influencer could notice your post and do you a big favour by liking or commenting on it. If they do, that's another way to get on the Explore page of the followers of that tagged account.

Don't Forget About Stories and IGTV

Posts make up the majority of Explore page content these days, but Instagram seems to be working more stories and IGTV videos into it as these content forms grow in popularity. Stories are beginning to appear inline with posts, and IGTV videos are featured in bigger boxes (four times the size of a regular post).

Give some thought to how you can incorporate your Instagram account's theme and overall message creatively into your stories by using text, emojis, stickers, animations and more. Also consider how you can take inspiration from your existing posts with high engagement and potentially turn that into long-form videos for IGTV.