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Instagram Updating Search Function to Compete with TikTok

Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced Instagram’s plan to change its Search feature to show better video and image search results, something TikTok currently already does.

Posted 1 year ago

Written by

Mackenzie Taylor
Posted 1 year ago

Last week, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced on his page that Instagram plans to more prominently feature photos and videos in search results in the future.

Wait, what does that mean?

Well, it’s not too dissimilar to what TikTok is currently already doing (it’s almost like they’re competitors or something). 🙃



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A post shared by Adam Mosseri (@mosseri)

The new feature will show the grid of photos and videos a keyword search can pull up alongside results for accounts and hashtags. Hello, TikTok, anyone?

Mosseri explained that if you search for something like “space,” you’ll not only get videos and photos of space but also traditional accounts and hashtags to encourage people to explore the app more.

Instagram’s current keyword search doesn’t always pull up things that are actually relevant to the topic. Have you ever tried searching for Love Island memes and every other post has absolutely nothing to do with Love Island? No? Just me?

Because of this, Mosseri says that the company is going to be working on expanding the number of terms that pull up results, starting with English and then building out from there. At the time, there is no set date for these improvements, but we’re hoping soon!

current instagram search feature

Now if you’re wondering what the criteria are currently for search and what Instagram chooses to show you, Mosseri says the results it shows are relevant. IG has “signals” it considers when showing you results.

  • Your text in Search: i.e. the text you search in the search bar. They try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and places.
  • Your activity: This includes accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past. They usually show accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t.
  • Information about the search results: When there are a lot of potential results, they also look at popularity signals, like the number of clicks, likes, shares, and follows for a particular account, hashtag, or place.

Those suggestions also apply to how your content shows up for others as well. Instagram looks at the text in your Instagram handle and bio, your location, and the captions on individual posts to determine if your content is relevant for a given search.

So now that you know how Search uses your content, start doing an audit of your own Instagram account to make sure you’ll appear on Search for others. Need help with figuring out how to audit your account? We’ve got you.

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