Feed posts, Reels, and Stories, oh my!
Instagram has begun testing a new, full-screen Main Feed for users that is fully-integrated: showing feed posts, Reels, and Stories all together on users’ Home pages.
While this interface is still in testing, it differs drastically from Instagram’s current Home feed through its removal of the top “Stories” bar and separate tab for Reels videos.
The experimental feed would instead include all feed posts, Stories, and Reels in a single flow or swipe-model.
Stories would be presented with a “frame” bar at the bottom – similar to how we currently see the dashes for the amount of frames in a particular user’s story at the top of the screen. Videos, alternatively, would feature a progress bar at the bottom.
This test demonstrates an attempt by Instagram to gain more user and engagement analytics by presenting all app content in the same format, at once. It also signals a shift by Instagram to again mimic some of TikTok’s key features (and attempt to replicate their success algorithmically) as TikTok already displays all content in a single-swipe Home page.
TikTok’s success and advantage has been largely attributed to their “For You” page, or each user’s “Home” page, because of the data TikTok has been able to collect using this method. Because TikTok videos are displayed all at once, in full-screen, all actions you take on the content – giving the video a “Like,” watching it all the way through, sharing it to friends, replaying it – are specific to the content, which gives TikTok the advantage of identifying which elements of a piece of content garner the most interest. From there, TikTok can align that data with your profile and other activity on the app to optimize your For You page algorithm and feed recommendations.
All of this data is a huge contributor to what makes TikTok’s feed so addictive to users, because it is genuinely custom tailored for each person using the app. Instagram has already tried to replicate this through their Reels interface, but they haven’t been able to crack the algorithm game the same way TikTok has.
However, with Reels becoming the largest driver of engagement on Instagram, and users spending more time viewing Stories than scrolling their feeds, it makes sense that Instagram would want to find a way to combine all of their forces and maximize their user experience.
It’s important to note, however, this experimental feed is still in backend testing and may not ever see the light of day. Still, it is an interesting development and we’ll keep you updated with any changes.
Are you excited about this possible change?