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3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Surface Your Best Instagram Content

Light purple icycle with orange tires in front of a light grey brick wall

For travel brands, Instagram’s recent updates ushered in a new era of content tracking.

The changes were largely made in the name of security and privacy, which we can all respect. The truth is, though, tracking content from Instagram has become slightly more complicated for destination marketers.

  • You’re now limited in the number of hashtags you can track
  • The only accounts you can track are Instagram Business Accounts
  • You can no longer track locations

To navigate this new landscape, a lot of travel brands are choosing to track hashtags based on their popularity, in hopes of increasing the flow of content into their libraries.


For example:

#ParksofToronto has about 900 posts
#Toronto has almost 35,000,000 posts

By tracking #Toronto instead of #ParksofToronto, you’d be getting more content.

At the same time, though, popular hashtags can be risky.

First, they tend to have a wider range of uses – #Toronto could be added to a shot of the skyline at sunset or a snap of a haircut from a local barber. As the hashtag spirals into different areas, it may bring in content you want, but some irrelevant content might come along with it.

Popular hashtags also have a risk of abuse. Spam accounts love to fill their captions with trending hashtags to get their posts seen, regardless of whether those hashtags are at all related.


Trading volume for precision by tracking popular hashtags is a reasonable strategy. If you’re going to go that route, here are a few ways to quickly cut through the noise and surface the best content in your library. They don’t require significant effort or expertise – they’re simple changes anyone can make (although using CrowdRiff wouldn’t hurt;))

1 | Exclude identifying keywords

One reason destinations found location tracking useful was that each city, resort town, national park, theme park and museum had its own unique location ID, so by tracking it, you knew you were only getting content from that specific place.

Visit Norfolk (Virginia), for example, used to be able to track Norfolk, Virginia, using its location ID without having to worry about accidentally collecting content tagged in Norfolk, England.


View this post on Instagram


Norwich 💙 #norwich #uk #norwichcathedral #england #riverwensum #norfolk

A post shared by Lau Méndez (@laumendez_a) on

This post contains #Norfolk, but it also includes #UK and #England. Excluding “UK” or “England” would keep this photo from being added to Norfolk, Virginia’s content library.

One way Visit Norfolk could filter out content from the other side of the pond would be to exclude posts that mention England and other telltale signs. Excluding terms will stop irrelevant content from coming into your library altogether.

2 | Save your searches

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-formed search. If you’re looking through your library and find the perfect combination of keywords, accounts and hashtags to surface a particular type of content, save that search. That way, you’ll bottle the magic and save yourself time the next time you’re looking for similar visuals.

Saving searches encourages you to be more creative with your searches because you know the upfront effort will be worth it down the line.

3 | Take advantage of the good ol’ days and search locations

You may not be able to track Instagram locations anymore, but anything collected before the API updates took effect (December 2018) will still have location tags, so you can still search for them in your library.

Sometimes you need recent content (think festival wrap-ups and fun campaigns), but often, you really just want the best photo you have (think your homepage or visitor guide). In those cases, you’ll have years’ worth of content that you can search by location, so don’t forget about them!

These are just a few quick ways to take control of your content. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on mastering content-tracking in the new world of Instagram.

Header image courtesy of Tiffany Nutt and found on Unsplash

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