Instagram is expanding its feed today with the launch of ‘suggested posts’. These posts, from accounts you don’t follow, will appear after you reach the end of your feed and allow you to keep scrolling with Instagram’s suggestions. Until now, the feed has been entirely determined by the preferences of users and the people who follow them.
For the past few years, Instagram has shown users a message when they reach the end of their feeds, which means they’ve seen every post from the past two days from people who follow them. With suggested posts, they have the option to keep scrolling past that marker for more content. (That message will still be there, along with the option to revisit old messages.)
The suggested messages are not the same ones shown in Explore. They will be related to the content people are already following, while Explore will point people to adjacent content, says Julian Gutman, lead product at Instagram Home. He used space content, which he tracks and regularly uses in his feed, as an example. A suggested post could be a new space photo of someone he’s not following, while his Explore page could include posts related to physics in general.
Gutman declined to comment on how often people hit the end of their feeds every day. There will be ads in suggested posts, and for now, only photos and videos will show on the grid, meaning you won’t see any teased IGTV or Reels content.
The move feels like a major reversal from Instagram’s stance on the screen two years ago. When it launched the feed notification end, the company’s former CEO and co-founder Kevin Systrom placed it as a decision made with users’ mental health in mind. He said at the time that the company was working on “tools that will help the Instagram community learn about the time they spent on Instagram,” adding that “every moment should be positive and intentional.” But suggested messages can easily keep people on the app longer.
Gutman says the product is not designed to hold people by their phones.
“I think for us this really came from a vision a few years ago where people really saw feed as a place for their interests, and with the improvement of machine learning and our ability to make it easier for you to get some more of those. posts that are on Instagram every day that really give you that personal relevance, “he says.” So we want to make it really easy for people to see that [relevant content] when they get to the end of their food. That’s really the motivation here, make it easier for you to dig deeper into your interest. “
The suggested posts also feel that Instagram is following a signal from TikTok throwing users into a continuous feed of content that never ends. It’s part of what made the app so successful. Of course, extending the feed also gives Instagram more ad space, allowing it to generate more revenue. It’s a win-win for Instagram, even if it means users may be spending more time in the app than ever before.