The Ultimate Guide to Getting on the Instagram Explore Page

By Nikki Canning

Published May 22, 2019

21 minute read

Learn everything you need to know about getting on the Instagram Explore page, and how it works!


Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

Want to know how to get on the Instagram Explore page? We’ve got you covered!

The Instagram Explore page is a super-powerful feature for brands — it’s designed to help profiles and businesses gain more engagement and exposure on Instagram with very little effort.

Instagram recently released a brand new Explore page, adding new topic channels, a shopping feed, Instagram Stories, and a dedicated space for IGTV.

Here is everything you need to know about the new updates, including how to get your business featured on the Instagram Explore page:

What’s New On The Instagram Explore Page

Instagram has been working hard to make the Explore page more personalized to each individual user.

When you tap to view your Instagram Explore page, it will look totally different than what may show up on your best friend’s explore page, because it’s specifically tailored to help you find new content that you’ll enjoy, based on what you already like to see on Instagram.

The Instagram algorithm is constantly learning from your behaviors on the app, like what accounts you follow, what posts you like and comment on, and what Instagram Stories and IGTV content you love to watch.

It uses this information to create an Instagram Explore page with tons of suggestions of similar content that you might like, but don’t already follow.

Here are some more details on the Explore page’s new features that are great for brands and businesses:

#1: Instagram Stories on the Explore Page

Just like how the Instagram Explore page recommends posts based on topics you’re interested in, the page will now showcase personalized Instagram Stories recommendations too!

Now you can tap through and engage with stories from accounts that you haven’t followed yet, but are probably similar to ones you do follow, or engage with frequently.

For brands, this opens up a huge opportunity to be seen by new audiences — it won’t just be your followers watching your Instagram Stories anymore. Anyone could see and engage with your stories via the Instagram Explore page.

Plus! We have some great tips to help get your Instagram Stories appear in the Explore page a little later on in this blog post too.

According to Instagram, this feature is in the process of being rolled out. So if you don’t see stories on your Explore page just yet, stay tuned!

#2: New Topic Channels on the Instagram Explore Page

Earlier this year, Instagram launched topic channels on Explore with the aim to give users a new way to discover content around their specific interests on Instagram.

Over 200 million people visit Explore every day to discover new ideas and find inspiration, so it makes sense that Instagram created a way to organize all of these posts!

When you open the Instagram Explore page, you’ll see a tray at the top with personalized channels.

Staring with a ‘For You’ channel (which has a mashup of posts tailored to your wider interests), you’ll then see channels on topics you might like, such as Art, Sports, Beauty or Fashion.

Plus, there’s also a list of hashtags you might find interesting to give you more ways to explore your interests.

If you’re a brand looking to get on the Instagram Explore page, it’s more important than ever to focus in on your niche topics and use hashtags to help categorize your posts!

#3: IGTV Videos in the Explore Page

Now, IGTV has its own dedicated section on the Explore page  — which is great news for video creators and brands!

By tapping on “IGTV,” you’ll see the recently updated home for IGTV, where you can browse a personalized feed of recommended videos from creators you follow or may want to follow.

It’s another great way Instagram is helping drive video content on the platform!

#4: Shopping Channel on the Instagram Explore Page

Instagram is making a strong move to help people shop on the platform, which is great news for brands and businesses!

With the new shopping channel on the Explore page, there’s a dedicated space for users to shop from the brands they follow, as well as brands they have yet to discover!

By tapping on “Shop”, the feed will have category filters in the navigation bar to help users browse specific types of products on Instagram, including Beauty, Clothing, Home Decor, and more.

It’s a really valuable new feature on Instagram’s Explore page for brands — it’s going to help people discover more brands and products (based on what other products they’re already searching and shopping for!) and go from browsing to purchasing without ever leaving the Instagram app!

Instagram rolled out this feature in the US this month, but we’ve yet to hear any more on which other countries it will be made available in.

How the Instagram Explore Page Works

So, how does the Instagram Explore page work?

In a nutshell, the Instagram Explore page works by using the Instagram algorithm to learn about your behavior on the app, particularly what you like and engage with the most.

Instagram uses this knowledge to find similar posts from accounts that you don’t follow yet and creates a curated grid on the Instagram Explore page personalized to you.

More than ever before, the Instagram Explore page is becoming personalized to each user’s account and their behaviors on Instagram.

Just check out how different the Instagram Explore page can be for each person — here’s a comparison of the Instagram Explore pages of our Later Instagram account, @nikkitravelled, and @taylor.loren:

The Explore Pages of @latermedia, @nikkitravelled and @taylor.loren

And if you’re a business using Instagram, that means the Instagram Explore page could expose your Instagram posts, stories, and IGTV videos to a whole new audience of potential customers!

Overall, the Instagram algorithm is working hard behind the scenes to almost handpick the content it thinks you’ll enjoy the most, and then shares it on your personalized Explore page for you to discover and enjoy.

And while TechCrunch reports that the Instagram algorithm uses several triggers, like recency and location when it comes to determining what to show on Explore, it’s not an exhaustive list of signals.

But TechCrunch did reveal some of the triggers that would influencer what appears on the Instagram Explore page:

#1: Instagram Follows and Likes

The strongest trigger that determines what Instagram will put in an individual’s Explore page is what they are currently following and liking.

If a user follows tons of beauty accounts and likes and comments on posts on that topic, Instagram will serve more beauty-related posts, videos, IGTV videos, and Instagram Stories in their explore page, but only from accounts that they don’t follow yet.

#2: Video Content

Great photos will still be prioritized over average video posts, but there is a drive to show more video content on the Explore page.

Videos auto-play in the Instagram Explore page so may get more attention than a static image.

#3: Highly-Visual Instagram Stories

Stories posts that are videos or have an animated element will get preference in the Instagram Explore feed.

Similarly, Instagram Stories with less text, but more graphics like GIFs and stickers could rank better on the Explore page too.

#4: Reposted Content

You might want to think twice about reposting content if your main goal is to get on the Explore page — TechCrunch revealed that “certain content types like reposts of other people’s feed posts are demoted by the algorithm”.

While you can still include reposted content in your strategy, you may want to prioritize other content types like videos and Instagram Stories if you want to get a coveted spot in the Explore page grid!

To help you think strategically about the Instagram Explore page, and improve your chances of your content appearing there, we have some tips to try next time you post!

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page:

Because the Instagram algorithm is based on individual interests, when your content appears on the Explore page, you’ll be exposed to a targeted audience instead of a random one, giving you more exposure to the type of customers that you want to attract.

And the best part? It doesn’t cost you a cent.

All you have to do is start thinking strategically on how you can create Instagram content that will appear on the Explore page.

Here are 9 top tips to improving your content strategy and bettering your chances of getting on the Explore page:

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #1: Use Your Analytics to Find Out What Content Resonates on the Explore Page

Chances are, some of your Instagram content is already appearing on the Instagram Explore page!

That could have easily slipped under your radar, and you might not even have realized where your extra boost in likes and engagement came from.

But the good news is, you can now understand exactly how many people are viewing your posts from the Instagram Explore page using Instagram Insights.

To view your analytics, head to your Instagram feed and tap the View Insights button underneath your post. From here, you can swipe up to gain more metrics around your post performance.

Under the Discovery section, you’ll see a breakdown of your post’s impressions — take a look at your “From Explore” metric here:

You can see that this Later post ended up on the Explore page — over 600 impressions came “From Explore”, and 36% of the accounts we reached with this post weren’t even following Later!

Pay attention to your Instagram Analytics to see what content is performing the best and gaining some traction on the Explore page in your existing content, then replicate or take inspiration from that type of content for the future.

For example, we found that video posts were resulting in a ton of views from people who weren’t following Later on Instagram yet, so we started creating more video content to help us get more Instagram followers. (More on that later!)

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #2: Find Your Best Time to Post

When it comes to getting your content on the Instagram Explore page, there are two big reasons to know when your best time to post is.

Firstly, if you know when your followers are most active on Instagram, your posts will get more engagement as your followers are online to like, comment and engage with your latest posts.

High engagement on your posts, especially quickly after posting, signals to the Instagram algorithm that this piece of content is “of value” and worth putting on the Explore page for others to discover and engage with too!

Secondly, if you know when your current audience is most active online, there’s a good chance your prospective audience — those who might find your content on the Explore page — will also be online as well!

So your posts will reach them when they are most active and likely to be scrolling through the Explore page.

Later analyzed 12 million Instagram posts and found that the best time to post on Instagram is between 9am-11am EST. But, every business and profile will be different, so you’ll need to pay attention to your Instagram analytics to pinpoint exactly when your audience is online.

Want to take out the guesswork? Use Later’s Best Time to Post tool which automatically calculates your 7 top posting times based on your best performing posts from the recent month:

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #3: Honor Your Overall Instagram Aesthetic on Instagram Stories

With Instagram Stories now appearing on the Explore page, it’s more important than ever that your brand’s style and aesthetic is present in everything that you post.

TechCrunch reported that: “Stories with content more similar to and representative of a creator’s typical feed posts are more likely to show up on Explore.”

This means you need to be nailing your aesthetic every time you post to Instagram Stories — check out how GoToSkincare’s Instagram Stories posts always maintain their aesthetic, regardless of if they’re posting behind-the-scenes videos, product shows or user-generated content!

Another top tip when you’re creating Instagram Stories for the Explore page is to think about creating more dynamic, animated videos for your posts.

Whether that’s adding in some GIFs, visual effects or storyboarding a video series specifically for stories, think about having less static images and text, and more animations!

Looking for creative ways to design Instagram Stories to captivate your audience on the Explore page? Check out this video guide Later created with popular design app, Over:

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #4: Turn Photo Content into Videos for Your Feed or Stories

There’s no denying that video content is taking center stage on the Explore page thanks to the addition of Instagram Stories and IGTV.

Videos have the potential to be ranked higher than photos since videos auto-play in Explore and tend to get more attention,” reports TechCrunch.

But creating video content from scratch can be time-consuming, and if you have tons of great photography, you don’t want to waste it.

Thankfully, there are a few hacks to help create dynamic “videos” for your feed and stories without too much hassle.

#1: Create a Stop-Motion Graphic From Still Images

Instead of posting a static product shot, you can layer images to create a stop-motion effect for your images.

Take a look at how Jo Malone created this stop-motion graphic for their feed that received tons of likes and comments:

Instagram still registers this type of content as a video so it could showcase it higher on the Explore page.

You can use Adobe Photoshop to layer still images together to create GIF-like video. Just follow this tutorial from Adobe to create a GIF from photos.

If you’re worried about navigating around Photoshop, you can easily create something similar with apps like LifeLapse.

This kind of slideshow video showcase works particularly well for product shots too. We created this GIF-like video of our free Influencer Media Kit template download to show it off on our feed as a dynamic video:

#2: Add Motion to Your Still Images

Even a subtle change to your still images can make a real difference to how your posts performs both on Instagram Stories and feed, and on the Instagram Explore page.

Check how Later subtly added motion to the clouds in this post:

Using the @enlightpixaloop app, we upgraded this post from a static image, to a video post that could be served higher in the Instagram Explore page!

#3: Add an Animated Element to a Still Photo

Can you spot the animated twinkle in this post?

Not only does this tiny sparkle add a little glitz to our feed post, but it again improved our engagement as Instagram recognized it as a video post.

This post was super-simple to create — we just uploaded this photo to Instagram Stories and added a simple GIF sticker (search: twinkle for this one) and then saved to our camera roll.

Using InShot app, we cropped the video file to be the correct dimensions for our feed!

#4: Add a Moving Video Background to Still Images Using Stock Video

This is a great photo edit if you want to level-up your still images, and help them perform as videos on your feed and on the Instagram Explore page.

Using stock graphic footage and animated Instagram Stories templates within design apps like Over, PicMonkey, Mojo or InShot, you can add video elements to your static images.

#5: Shoot Boomerangs or Create GIF Loop Photos from Still Images

Later’s own @taylor.loren also used a simple Boomerang to get on the Explore Page, instead of choosing to post a static video:

The result? 63% of impressions come from people who weren’t following her:

Or if you have tons of great still photos that you want to share, you can use Adobe Photoshop to loop them together to create a really simple GIF.

Check out how ASOS add this simple loop video to their feed:

It doesn’t take much to make an otherwise still image perform like a video on Instagram — even smaller animated elements like GIFs stickers can help get your posts seen by more people.

Check out our How to Create Animated Instagram Stories: 8 Apps To Make It Easy blog post for more image editing inspo and tips!

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #5: Create Short and Sweet Videos Featuring Your Product for Your Feed

You might be used to nailing the product shots for your feed, but if you want to get on the Instagram Explore page, it’s time to start thinking about creating video content to showcase your products!

Something as simple as this video makeup tutorial by Laura Mercier can get great traction on the Explore page:

This video has over 715K plays and a much higher engagement rate to the other posts on the Laura Mercier feed.

Why? Because it’s short, sweet, to the point, and stands out in a feed of other static images. And while we can’t confirm it, we’d hedge our bets that this post appeared on the Explore page and gained tons of views from profiles that weren’t yet following the Laura Mercier account!

So whether it’s mini-tutorials like Laura Mercier, or showcasing your products “in real life” with ambassadors like Lululemon, try to introduce your products with fun video footage that quickly captivates your new audience.

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #6: Start Tagging Products in Your Posts to Appear in the Shopping Channel

Ready to start showcasing your product posts in the new shopping channel?

The only way to get a coveted space is to start using the shoppable product tags on all your posts!

For the shopping channel on the Explore page, only posts and Stories that have used the product tags will make it onto the feed.

That way, Instagram can provide a seamless shopping experience for everyone to browse and shop products that interest them, without ever leaving the app!

Not sure where to start when it comes to tagging your posts with the shoppable product tag and sticker? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping!

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #7: Tag and Mention Relevant Brands in Your Posts

When you tag or mention a brand in an Instagram Stories or feed post, you’re signaling to the Instagram algorithm that there’s a relationship between the two accounts.

What this means is that when you share a post tagging the other account, there’s a good chance of appearing on the Instagram Explore page of their followers that don’t follow you.

The Instagram algorithm will learn that there was a relationship between the two brands and work to showcase the post to the people they think might be interested in seeing it.

It’s a super simple tactic to improve your chances of appearing on the Explore page, and in front of an audience that you know is very closely aligned to your own target audience.

So next time you collaborate with a brand, repost a piece of user-generated content, or want to shout out to the great work of other Instagram creators, make sure to tag them in the post and caption!

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #8: Dedicate Time to Creating IGTV Videos

If you haven’t already started to create IGTV content, what are you waiting for?

ICYMI: IGTV is cooler than ever!

With the addition of a dedicated IGTV section on the Instagram Explore page, your videos could be placed in front of the eyes of so many perspective followers.

And the great thing about IGTV, is that because videos need to be longer than 60 seconds to be uploaded to the channel, it’s a brilliant opportunity for new viewers to get to know you and your brand.

Compared to feed post videos (which need to be less than a minute), you can really showcase what your brand and products are all about!

If you’re producing great quality IGTV videos, there’s a strong chance that you can convert a viewer into a follower if they like what they see on the Instagram Explore page.

Want to know more about IGTV and how to create vertical video content? Check out our Ultimate Guide to IGTV for everything you need to know to get started.

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #9: Utilize Instagram Hashtags (Especially Branded Ones!)

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying the power of the hashtag.

Posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag, so if you want to get more likes on Instagram and get on the Instagram Explore page, hashtags are essential.

Hashtags can also help you be seen on the Explore page of other people who are using and interacting with the hashtags that you use!

So simply by using the right hashtags for your post topic and business, you’ll be highlighted to other users engaging and using the same hashtags.

Don’t forget to use hashtags in your Instagram Stories post too as this can really help give your Stories a boost of exposure and reach online.

More reach means more engagement, and more engagement means the Instagram algorithm thinks it’s an interesting piece of content to share with other users.

But remember: it’s super important to be strategic with your hashtags.

Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to be selective, with the top performing niche Instagram hashtags for your industry that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience.

Want to fine-tune your hashtag strategy to better your chances of getting on the Explore page? You can download our free Instagram Hashtag Strategy Guide ebook and we’ll email it straight to your inbox!

How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Tip #10: Experiment with Quote Posts

One of the biggest trends on Instagram is using quotes in your content strategy.

And it shows no sign of slowing down!

People often think of quotes as filler content — the kind of thing you post on Instagram when you run out of other ideas. But the truth is that quotes can be used for all kinds of reasons, from generating more engagement to promoting specific campaigns.

And one key benefit is how a quote post will stand out on the Explore page!

In a sea of videos and photos, a well-designed quote post can really stand out in the crowd, and you might be surprised to see it get a lot more traction an engagement if it appears on the Explore page.

An animated quote post is even better! Check out how HelloSunshine does it in their feed:

And Vessi Footwear used a really simple animated quote post to celebrate Mother’s Day this year:

Brands from, Alpha H, GirlBoss, and Drunk Elephant are all using this tactic to boost their engagement, steady their chances of appearing on the Explore page, and then catch the eye of potential followers!

Check out this blog post for inspiration, brand examples and how-to guides to using quotes in your Instagram strategy!

Whether you’re an Instagram brand getting ready to cross the 1M followers mark, or a new-to-the-scene business that’s just starting out, everyone can benefit from getting on the Instagram Explore page.

By incorporating some of these tips into your content strategy, you could soon start to see more engagement and followers on your profile as more people discover your videos, posts and Instagram Stories on their own personalized Explore feed.

And once you’ve nailed down your strategy for getting onto the Instagram Explore page, all that’s left to do is plan and schedule your Instagram content with Later, so you never miss an opportunity to grow your account!

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!


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