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Instagram Tests New Content Recommendations 2021
After seeing good response to its past iterations of suggested posts for users, supported their interests, Instagram is now looking to require that a step further, with new test of suggested posts and topics in user feeds, even before posts from profiles that you simply follow in some instances.
As you’ll recall, last year, Instagram added a replacement listing of suggested posts at the top of your main feed, for whenever you scroll through all of the newest updates from the people and profiles that you’re following.
Instagram had been testing that since 2018, in varying forms, and supported the engagement thereupon recommended content, the platform is now seeking to double-down and highlight more accounts, topics and posts of interest to expand user horizons.
As reported by The Verge:
“Suggested posts are going to be mixed throughout your primary feed, sometimes before photos and videos from people you follow.”
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Which will little question cause some user angst. Many IG users are still calling for a chronological timeline option, therefore the concept they’ll now see random posts from profiles that they do not even follow in the least above posts from friends and family is unlikely to be universally well-received.
But as Platformer’s Casey Newton points out, this might be a part of the broader ‘TikTokification’ of social. TikTok is in a position to maximise user engagement thanks to the general public nature of TikTok posting, which enables it to tug from a way broader sort of content inputs to populate your main feed.
It’s less about who you follow during this context, and more about what’s getting the foremost engagement, which expands TikTok’s opportunities to spotlight the foremost engaging posts to every user, and boost time spent.
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Instagram is probably going hoping for similar, with recommendations closely aligned to your interests ideally making that main feed even more magnetic, and keeping people scrolling for even longer.
Which could work, goodbye as Instagram’s algorithm is indeed ready to detect the foremost relevant content for every individual user.
Which is not any simple feat. Right now, my Instagram Explore page is usually aligned to my interests, but there’s also tons of stuff in there that i do not care about.
Ensuring that balance weighs towards the previous are going to be key to creating this work – while Instagram’s also adding new control options which will enable users to feature and take away topics that they’ll want to ascertain more/less about, also because the capacity to snooze recommendations of individual topics for 30 days to cover them from their feed.
Which is analogous to Twitter’s recommended topics – but hopefully, Instagram will do a far better job of recommending relevant posts than Twitter currently does, with Twitter seemingly just chucking random interests in-between tweets within the hopes that something will stick (it recommended ‘dinner’ as a subject of interest to me yesterday).
So is it an honest move? Well, again, it all hinges on how well Instagram can highlight relevant content options. Even people that do not like the thought will recover from it if the posts they’re shown are literally engaging/relevant – but little question some are going to be upset that they are not seeing every post from the profiles they are doing follow, while they’re being shown these recommendations.
But really, like its previous recommendations, Instagram will mostly be hoping to last out that initial user angst long enough for it to become embedded, a traditional a part of the method , which can then give the platform more capacity to spotlight relevant content, and boost user engagement.
It could even be a key tool in its broader eCommerce push, adding more ways to showcase relevant products to likely interested users, and boost sales as a result.
In this sense, it might be a positive move for businesses on the platform, helping to enhance discovery among potential customers supported their interests.
Either way, it’s just a test for now, so we’ll see whether that user backlash is just too strong, and what results IG gets.
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