Say Hello To Instagram’s New Keyword Search Function

3 min read

Avatar Ellie Harris

23rd November, 2020

Social Media

Social media platforms are updating their interface every week it seems! Recently, we’ve seen Twitter ‘Stories’ aka Fleets, the rollout of Instagram Guides and LinkedIn Stories – so what’s next? 

Well, Instagram has recently updated their platform to function and resemble a search engine so users can find images and content using keywords. No hashtags are needed, just keywords, which definitely rivals Pinterest in our eyes!

Why Is The New Instagram Update Such a Big Deal?

The launch of the update coincides with the mass roll-out of Instagram Guides, which is essentially a micro-blog. Users can create content based on specific topics, adding in text, links and images.

This greatly benefits content creators, bloggers and micro-influencers as the platform expands it’s offering, therefore eliminating the need for them to link to an external website. All of their blogging needs are rolled into one place and who wouldn’t want that?

Benefits of Keyword Searching

There are several benefits of the new Instagram keyword tool that allows you to search Instagram posts by keyword, we’ve touched on bloggers briefly, but let’s take a closer look.

Businesses and Brands

For brands that have an online or physical storefront, they can utilise the keyword function to create catalogues and product guides that will help their customers discover their brand. Essentially, it should help them increase their awareness and generate leads and customers, which is probably their key goal for social media marketing (and if it isn’t, it definitely should be). 

When thinking about it for this time of the year, the brand could create catalogues dedicated to Black Friday sale products or Christmas gifting. This would be a great tactic to incorporate into your social media strategy. 

Bloggers and Influencers

As well as content creators benefiting from the platform becoming a ‘one-stop-shop’ for their blogging needs, it will also allow them to create and share content for their followers and brands.

Brand partnerships are a massive part of influencer marketing and with the majority of activity taking place on Instagram, it’s the perfect platform to have this new function. Depending on the blogger’s niche, they’ll be able to create content that is tailored to specific topics, enabling audiences with similar interests to reach them easily, which could include general consumers or brands.

How Does the Instagram Keyword Search Work?

The new update is currently available in six countries: the UK, USA, Ireland and Canada. We’re positive that once testing is complete, it’ll be rolled out very quickly to all other locations around the world. 

Keyword searching is limited to grid posts, meaning that Stories are exempt from the search function at this point in time. Instagram has said that search is “limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines.”

Since the platform is no longer just about the algorithm and ranking in followers’ feeds, it’s become even more competitive with the added addition of users searching with intent. Will users still be endlessly scrolling or will it become a Google replacement?

It’s not clear how Instagram is going to roll out this keyword search feature. Will it be similar to search engines in terms of relevancy, high-quality content, medium or location? There seems to be an element of AI involved which is how the platform will detect what is featured in photos or videos. It hasn’t been confirmed but once we have the low-down, we’ll be sure to keep our blog updated. 

Whilst hashtags were previously a dominating feature within the Instagram algorithm, they hopefully won’t be completely removed. It’ll be interesting to see how the keyword function impacts hashtags going forward – will it change the way social media marketers put together strategies?

What Next?

It’s apparent that Instagram is growing its e-commerce capabilities. They’ve recently changed the interface of their platform to include a shopping tab, which replaced the notification centre. These subtle changes definitely hint at the future of the platform. It started as a place where people could share images and captions quite simply and has grown to include everything and more. It looks like Instagram is fast becoming a great network to add to your eCommerce marketing plan!

What do you think of this keyword function on Instagram and the future of social media?

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