In this special edition of Web Wednesdays, we are taking a closer look at some of the huge changes that are happening to Instagram over the next few months. With more emphasis on video content than ever before, the developers are pushing to run alongside its biggest rival – TikTok.
As you might have noticed, Instagram has come out of the starting block of 2022 all guns blazing, bringing a plethora of updates and new features. Some of these updates were minimal changes that help to streamline the user experience, whereas others have been pretty substantial and have changed the way we use the app.
So let’s take a look into the biggest changes, and what that means for us – the users and creators!
Say goodbye to the algorithm, if you want to
We start with perhaps the biggest change, and one that is likely to affect the way we all use the app going forward. Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that the platform is rolling out some big changes to the way the core feed experience works, letting users choose between three different feeds. Two new options, Favorites and Following, sort content chronologically, while a third “home” option offers the algorithmically sorted feed we have now.
Mosseri says that the non-chronological home feed will feature “more and more recommendations over time,” functioning more as a discovery hub than a way to keep up on content from people you already follow. Favorites will finally let anyone who uses the app easily keep up to date on all updates from a small cluster of friends and family, though users can still find posts from everyone else they follow in the Following view.
Having checked my own Instagram app, out of the 10+ pages I have, only my personal page is actually showing the option to change up the feeds, but it’s likely to be rolled out in the next few weeks.
You can now like people’s Instagram Stories
As demonstrated by Mosseri, now, down the bottom of your Stories view in the app, you’ll see a new heart icon, which, when tapped, will send the creator of that Story a like.
Stories likes are not public, and only the creator will be able to see them. Creators will be able to view their Story likes in their Story insights, with a small heart icon added next to the viewers’ name in the view listing.
And as noted, Stories likes will not come through as a DM, so you’re not suddenly going to get an influx of DMs as people use the function to react to your Stories.
Looking at this slight change from a creator point of view, it could be a handy way to increase Stories engagement, while it might also add another signal for Instagram to use in ranking the Stories in your feed, and highlight those most likely to be of interest.
Stories, say hello to Reels
Sticking with Stories for now, and in the seemingly never ending quest to push the app to be more video orientated than ever before, developers have made converting your Stories into Reels even easier.
This is one we actually quite like the idea of though – and some creators are now seeing an option within their Instagram highlights that enables them to tap on a Reels icon to convert the highlight over to a short Reels clip.
The process then enables you to sync the highlight to music, providing a whole new way to create Reels content. Whilst its angle is to help users create Reels in an easier-than-ever-before way, it’s actually a very clever move by Instagram, as it helps to essentially bring more Reels to the app, allowing users to discover more accounts, which would then give Instagram more clips for the Reels pipeline, to help boost user engagement, while also ushering in more Reels creators.
And if you generate a lot of engagement, you’ll no doubt post more Reels, and see more engagement – till eventually the very concept of TikTok will be a distant, fuzzy memory!
One tiny but very handy change
One more tiny update we spotted just before we go – we’ve spotted that if you press and hold the share button you’ll see your four most shared accounts, allowing you to quickly present content to your friends or family without having to find them amongst the list!
So there we have it, some huge changes coming our way to Instagram very soon. Some of these updates are already in place, whereas others might be a few weeks away, but it’s certainly encouraging to see the app constantly adapting and improving its user experience!
Elliot is our resident tech-lover and petrolhead, who is in charge of spreading AdFeeder to the masses! Having previously worked with brands such as Porsche and BMW, Elliot specialises in content creation and social media.