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Instagram has made a change to the way that hashtags facilitate discovery in the app, with users now connected through to the broader search results related to a hashtag when they tap on it, as opposed to a “Top Posts” feed.

Instagram hashtag search

As you can see in this example, now, when you tap on a hashtag (in this case “#makeup”), you’ll see the full search results for that topic, as you would see in explore.

Which is a change from the “Top Posts” display like this, which is what Instagram shows you when you tap into a tag at present:

Instagram search example

As you can see here, you can still follow a topic via the tag page, but you don’t have the full results (e.g. Accounts, Audio, Places, Reels) that you would get via a similar search in Explore.

By providing access to these additional elements, Instagram’s hoping to improve profile discovery, as opposed to only highlighting content. It’ll also, ideally, expand user search behaviors, by linking them through to the various elements.

So it’s not a radical change, but a logical one, as the Explore overview enables users to dig into different elements, instead of being confined to the top posts feed.

It could also put more emphasis on ensuring that your target keywords are included in your profile, in order to maximize discovery in the “Accounts” display. The profiles shown within a hashtag search don’t necessarily include that hashtag in their every post and update, but they do generally have the actual word in their profile name and/or description.

And with Reels continuing to gain traction, you can imagine that many searchers will also be happy that they can now more easily switch over to the dedicated Reels display for any topic.

There’s a range of ways in which this is an improvement, and it’ll help to broaden discovery within the app.

Now we just need IG to let you sort the result by date posted again, and we’ll be all good.

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