REVEALED: Instagram Explains How Their Search Algorithm Works

Josh Barney
5 min readSep 1, 2021
Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

This post was originally published here:

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks, with more than 1 billion monthly active users.

But, the social network is much more than that to businesses, brands and emerging entrepreneurs.

Instagram has become a key marketing platform for any modern business. With a huge chunk of the market using it to:

  • Discover new brands
  • Consume content
  • Create connections
  • Research businesses/entrepreneurs

Up until recently, Instagram’s search algorithm ranking factors were left to conjecture, but the social network has now moved to explain exactly how its search algorithm works.

Where is the Instagram Search Function?

The Instagram search feature can be found by tapping on the magnifying glass icon on Instagram’s bottom menu.

This will then open up Instagram’s search feature.

By default, Instagram’s search dashboard will automatically display the following searches:

  • Searches that contain your hashtags
  • Username searches from users you have previously followed
  • Searches of nearby locations (using Instagram’s geotagging data)

How Instagram Rank Search Results

In their recent explainer post, Instagram reveal:

“Search is built to help you find accounts and topics of interest. It’s different from Feed, Stories, Reels and Explore because your input helps us figure out what to show you…

…It’s important for us to get this right, so we try to organize search results by what’s most relevant to you — whether it be a close friend, a creator you love, or ideas for vegan desserts.”

Josh Barney

Founder of We Imagine Media, creator and marketer. 😎