Instagram has launched a new map search feature, which will provide another way to discover local businesses, and get more information about them, within the app’s tools.

Instagram map update

As you can see in these example screenshots, the new Map Search option will enable IG users to explore popular tagged locations around them, while you’ll also be able to filter the locations by specific categories such as restaurants, cafes and beauty salons.

As explained by Instagram: 

The dynamic, searchable map allows users to have a more personalized and immersive experience when discovering popular locations and businesses and to see what’s nearby, via tagged posts, stories, and guides shared by the Instagram community. Users can also find relevant locations on the map when searching certain hashtags.”

So it’s really the next stage of Location Stories, which Instagram disabled for some time around the 2020 US Presidential Election, but has been slowly re-adding for users around the world.

Now, you’ll also be able to explore more location-based content, with tagged, public Stories and posts providing additional context, and showcasing what each business looks like, based on UGC, and other IG users’ experience.

Which could give brands more reasons to both ensure that their business information is up to date in the app, and that they’re encouraging visitors to tag them in their posts.

Many businesses have already taken to adding ‘Instagrammable’ elements to maximize exposure potential, with set-ups for photos on location, and more visually appealing décor and settings to entice people to share.

This update could make that an even bigger focus, and it’s worth considering what this might mean for your Instagram strategy, and whether your business links into such usage.

Instagram says that users will be able to:

  • Browse recent stories, top posts, and relevant guides of tagged locations to learn more
  • Filter by location categories to narrow a search
  • Save locations to a collection to revisit in the future
  • Share places via direct message to friends or groups

There’s a range of ways this could be of value to small businesses, particularly restaurants and cafes – and with 58% of Instagram users indicating that they find themselves more interested in a brand after seeing it in a Story, there could be some extremely compelling reasons to tap into these new discovery options, where possible.

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