When you are looking to advertise for your business, social media can be a powerful tool to have at your disposal. Each social media site features a different demographic. Therefore, understanding each site individually can help you to broaden your marketing reach. It is important to have a good grasp of the algorithms that each site uses in order to customize your advertising strategies for each social media experience. As one of the fastest-growing social media sites, Instagram is rapidly becoming a powerhouse for online marketing. But there are a few key things to understand before diving into the Instagram advertising pool.

What is Instagram?

If you are completely new to the social media platform, Instagram, a subsidiary of Facebook Inc., is a service that focuses on the photo and video sharing. Originally launched in late 2010, the app boasts approximately 1 billion active users every month. It is popular worldwide. However, in the United States alone, there are roughly 170 million users. Users have multiple options when it comes to posting content, whether they are posting to their main feed or to their stories, which are like brief highlight reels of curated content.

How Do They Show the Content?

There are a couple of different ways that content can be viewed on Instagram. In a search, a user must type in the text of what they want to see in order to view results. By contrast, on the explore tab, content is populated automatically based on what is most appealing to the user. Instagram company head Adam Mosseri recently shared how ranking signals are used on the platform to curate content for users based on their previous activity. In order of importance, those ranking signals are:

Search Text

Exactly what it sounds like. These are the terms the user enters in the search bar. Instagram tries to pull content that matches these terms first.


Based on the user’s own prior activity in the app, Instagram looks at accounts the user follows, how posts have been interacted with in the past, any hashtags the user has viewed, etc.

User Engagement

In order to narrow down search results further,
Instagram relies on engagement signals to filter content. This includes the number of clicks, likes, follows, or shares of specific content.

How to Use SEO on Instagram

In order to get the best results for your business on Instagram, you should keep those ranking signals in mind when developing content. For instance, since search text is the primary signal, your text should be your main focus. Therefore, your username and profile name matter. Be sure to choose a name that is directly related to the content you will share. It is also good practice to fully develop your bio, as that text is also used in search results. Be sure to include information such as your location or other relevant keywords that you may use in marketing. Use the captions section of each post to your advantage. Be sure to include hashtags with your search keywords. Comments are not part of the search results, so it is not necessary to include keywords there.