Search, Not So Insta
By: Jiho Chung
Since yesterday, Instagram keyword search has been available in the United States along with six other countries. Users were previously restricted to searches of hashtags and other users but now, people can discover content based on general keywords such as “healthy recipes” and “comfortable shoes.”
However, unlike search engines that readily understand a website’s content, the initial Instagram keyword search capabilities seem rather limited. For example, the writer mentions how their search for “healthy recipes” landed on gluten-free and paleo recipes, which aren’t what most users have in mind. Also, the pool of search keywords is small when results won’t show up for “vaccine” or “Trump” but aspirational searches will, such as for “puppies” or “flowers.”
At a glance, it’s as though Instagram is trailing Pinterest, the visual platform dedicated to discovery based on user intent, not look-alikes. For Instagram to do this properly, the platform will need to invest an extraordinary number of hours and resources to retroactively scale and track its content. Unlike its similar product offerings to Snap and TikTok, this feature is hardly one that dazzles but one that’ll help from a consumer perspective but also necessary for its ad-based products like Shops.