For the first time Instagram’s keyword search its allowing users to find content in a more intuitive way for the social media platform users.
Until now, users could only search for content by hashtags, location tags, user names and profile names.
This left a fringe of content that was inscrutable in the caption area.
According to a TechCrunch report, users can now search for entries using keywords that may appear in the captions.
There’s a lot more to understand about Instagram’s new search functionality, but I’m going to round out the information that has been made available so far.
How does Instagram’s keyword search work?
Instagram’s keyword search works by allowing users to type in a keyword such as “home office inspiration”, rather than just a hashtag such as #homeofficeinspiration.
Search results should appear in publications about home office inspiration, even if they are not specifically labeled as such.
It is not known exactly how Instagram determines what a post is about without relying on hash tags.
It is known that subtitles will be used to pop up posts for keyword searches in Instagram, but there are still many questions.
For example, is it just an exact match? Can the Instagram algorithm understand synonyms? Is there any AI or machine learning to help the algorithm recognize what is represented in an image?
A company spokesperson tells The Verge that Instagram considers “a number of factors” when returning search results. This includes the type of content, the captions, when it was posted and more.
The spokesperson confirms that Instagram uses machine learning to “find the highest quality content that is relevant to you. There is no mention if that also involves image recognition.
Instagram search results are limited to certain terms only, says the spokesperson:
“The search is limited to topics of general interest and keywords that are within the guidelines of the Instagram community.
Potential for Instagram SEO?
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this update, at least for marketers and search enthusiasts, is the potential for Instagram’s SEO.
Previously, the only way to optimize Instagram messages was to include relevant hashtags and perhaps a location tag (if applicable).
Now there is a whole new algorithm for marketers to understand and optimize. For the first time we can have discussions about Instagram classification factors.
However, before we get into that, it may be better to wait and see how this change impacts user behavior. We don’t yet know how users will adapt to this new way of searching for messages on Instagram.
Will they adopt the use of keywords to find visual content similar to the way people use Pinterest, or will Instagram users prefer to use tried and true hashtags?
It would be a promising sign to see a marked increase in user engagement with posts after the launch of keyword search. That could be an indication that keywords are being used to help users discover content they might not otherwise have found.
One thing that is certain is that Instagram users are reluctant to change, as evidenced by the fuss over the recent user interface update.
There is much less discussion about this so far, indicating that users have not realized or it has not spread to everyone yet.
It is said that Instagram’s keyword search is now being extended in English to all users in Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
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