Move Over Google Maps, Gen Z Choose Instagram Maps To Find Brands 

Nidhi Agarwal
Content Writer
August 10, 2022
min read
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Social media platforms are now the first choice of most Gen Zers and millennials to discover brands and products. To keep users hooked for as long as possible, TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat are going for advanced features. The new Instagram map introduced by Meta is one of them.

Launched on July 20, 2022, the feature will help Instagram users discover local and international businesses, nearby places, and tourist hotspots. For brands and small businesses, the feature increases their discoverability on the platform, enabling their audience to learn more about them without leaving Instagram. 

Interestingly, this new map feature gives strong competition to the Google search engine regarding product research, brand discovery, digital advertising, etc.,

The Vice President of Google, Prabhakar Raghavan, confirms this in the Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference, held in July 2022. "In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they're looking for a place for lunch, they don't go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram,” he said.

Acknowledging the existing consumer market dynamics, businesses running influencer marketing campaigns on social media can cut above the rest.  They can ask influencers to geotag the business's location while posting content to help the audience discover more about their business. 

Let us explore how location-based top posts and stories showing the most visited places can help you grow your business. 

How To Use The Instagram Map? 

The Instagram map isn't an entirely new feature. The location map is an update from the previous photo map that showed the location tagged in posts. The updated version shows the most visited spots and businesses like cafes, restaurants, parks, and more. 

The feature also displays the tagged posts and stories for the selected location, so you know who and how many people have visited it. 

Screenshot of Instagram map displaying nearby locations in US
Image Source: Instagram

Since the feature is relatively new, it does not reflect upfront in every country. So if you want to see a map on Instagram, here are three ways:

  1. Through the map button on the top right corner of the explore page 
Image showing the maps button to access map on Instagram
Image source: Embed Social 
  1. Through the location tagged in posts and stories 
Screenshot of Instagram map showing a geotagged image
Image Source: Instagram
  1. Through the search bar of the explore page (look for hashtags or the specific location, and hit the places button) 
Gif showing how to access Instagram maps from the search bar
Image Source: Instagram

Once the Instagram map opens, it shows a split screen view that displays a world map containing places in the above window and the details of the selected location below. 

The details may include:

  • Top tagged content (based on most likes)
  • Profile image (based on top content)
  • Contact information like address, mobile number, etc. 
  • Working hours 
  • Number of posts 

The map also allows the users to share the location with their friends via DM or save it for later. 

The map feature by Instagram can benefit direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, increase brand awareness and drive sales. Since these brands mostly thrive on social media networks like Instagram, a map will help their potential customers discover them quickly, leave reviews, or strengthen their overall social media presence. 

Millions of accounts are registered on Instagram, so it is difficult for each and every business to be visible on the map. So, the challenge of making the business discoverable becomes high. The following elements can help make businesses increase visibility and catch the interest of the audience:  

  • Professional account 
  • Business Category 
  • Hashtags
  • Keyword-rich bio
  • Location on at all times
  • Updated contact information 
  • Active page 
  • Authentic content 

Screenshot from Instagram maps showing details about a buisness
Image Source: Instagram

How is the Instagram location map different from Google maps? 

Although the Instagram map looks similar to the Google maps feature, many key attributes differentiate the two. 

  1. In Instagram maps, the places are not submitted by the businesses as done in Google maps. Instagram's algorithm picks the nearby places based on your search and then lists the businesses on the map along with related content. 
  1.  The map on Instagram is more engaging as it shows videos, images, and stories posted by IG users or by the business itself. 
  1.  Unlike Google maps, Instagram maps lack customer reviews and ratings. Google Maps helps the customer decide whether they should consider the business. On Instagram, this service is lacking, which means the users must rely on tagged content to determine the authenticity of the business. 

What other social media platforms offer the maps feature? 

Instagram is not the first social media platform to launch a map feature. Snapchat introduced it in 2017, and then Facebook launched a similar version in 2018.  

1. Snapchat

Screenshot of Snap map showing the map of United States with nearby buinesses
Image Source: Snapchat

In addition to the interactive filters, Snapchat users love using the Snap map to see their friends' locations in real-time. 

The snap map shows users' current location when they open the application or the last place they were present when they logged into the app, as long as the location is on. It also allows its users to share live locations with individual friends. 

Besides seeing friends, the target audience can also discover local or international places like national parks, museums, bakeries, salons, etc. 

Not just that, like the new Instagram map, it also shows the contact details and address of the place. Users can add it to favorites, open the location on Google maps, or share it with friends. 

2. Facebook 

Screenshot of Facebook Nearby friends map
Image Source: TechCrunch 

Back in 2018, Facebook launched a map feature, Nearby Friends, similar to the Snap map, allowing users to view friends' locations. However, the users did not receive the map feature well as they grew skeptical about sharing their live location with the app. Facebook, therefore, reported low usage of the feature and discontinued it in March end of 2022. 

3. TikTok

Image from TikTok showing how to add location on posts
Image Source: Digital Information World 

TikTok is also a social media platform that retains its users well. What started as a social media platform has become a popular product discovery tool among brands and younger generations.  

TikTok too offers a map feature that allows the users to view tagged locations in posts from other creators. The feature is very different from the one launched by Instagram and Snapchat. But still, it is widely used by users, even more than Google. 

Julia Moon, the writer for Slate, a US-based online magazine, says in her article, Why I Use Snap And TikTok Instead Of Google, "I do use TikTok, even if it doesn't have a map component. When the algorithm brings you to a certain video, it can be like finding a gold mine. I recently saw a video from a woman in my area sampling a new doughnut shop, complete with details on menu items, the best flavors, and a quick tour of the interior. Just after watching it, I made plans with my friends to go next week."

She adds, "Finding that shop on Google search would have probably required wading deep into results crammed with chain and established stores."

Julia's article confirms that the younger generation relies more on social media to find businesses than on Google. 

Julia reveals the reason behind this behavior when she says, "We want a richer experience, one that is more visually appealing, and one informed by our friends and people who are like us."

How is Instagram map an essential feature for brands running influencer campaigns? 

The new map feature has set the social media giant Instagram on the path to becoming the next local business discovery engine, increasing the visibility of online brands. 

Using the right Instagram elements and influencer-generated content, brands can further increase the chances of getting discovered. They can encourage the influencers to tag the business location when posting branded content, helping followers to discover brands on the platform easily. 

The users can follow the location and find the business's contact info, website links, closing and opening time, etc. 

The feature will also encourage businesses to create authentic content to show on the Instagram map, tempting potential customers to try products and eventually become loyal fans. 

If you're looking for effective ways to run successful influencer campaigns that engage your target audience, get a free trial with —  an influencer marketing platform that helps businesses scale their campaigns. 

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