By Adam Mosseri
August 25, 2021
Search on Instagram sorts through millions of accounts and posts to help you browse your interests. From nail art to interior design to dinner recipes, Search is a place for discovery and inspiration.
In Shedding More Light on How Instagram Works, we shared how we personalize your experience across Feed, Stories, Reels and Explore. Today, we’re breaking down what you see when you search and why.
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. Your search tells us what you’re looking for, and it’s noticeable when the results aren’t useful. 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.
Let’s say you’re interested in finding pictures of space after seeing the blue moon. When you tap the search bar on the Explore page, the first thing you see is your recent searches. As you begin typing “space,” we show you accounts, audio, hashtags, and places that match the text of your search. In this case, results like @space and #space show up because “space” appears in their name.
In addition to the text you type into search, we use information from accounts, hashtags and places — called signals — to rank your search results. The most important signals we use, in order of importance, are:
We understand that it’s important you show up in search results when friends or fans are looking for you. We want to make sure that it’s easy for others to find your photos and videos, so here are a few best practices that you can use to help show up in search results:
We avoid showing you accounts, posts and hashtags that go against our Recommendations Guidelines in search results. We do this in a few ways. Accounts that post spam or violate our guidelines may appear lower in search results, and you may have to search their full username to find them. We also balance searches for sensitive topics with additional safety measures to make sure we don’t show you related content that could be harmful. Accounts, hashtags and posts that violate our Community Guidelines are removed from Instagram entirely, which prevents them from showing up in Search.
We will continue to make search safer with features like information pop-ups for sensitive searches. These pages provide links to verified resources for additional support.
Search was originally created to help you navigate Instagram. We are soon launching a series of improvements designed for inspiration and discovery. These changes make Instagram Search more than just a way to find accounts and hashtags. We’re moving towards a full search results page experience that makes it even easier to go deep on your interests.
The keywords you can use to search for content is expanding. We’re currently focused on getting keyword search results right in English, and will add support for other languages in the future.
We’re also making search results better for exploration. For example, your search for “space” will show you space-related photos and videos, too. This is especially helpful when you don’t have an exact username or hashtag in mind when searching for a certain topic.
We design all of our features to help you find the things you love. We are constantly working on improvements to help you discover entertaining things to share with your friends, and we look forward to showing you more about how Instagram works in upcoming posts.