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What Instagram's new feeds mean for retail businesses

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Earlier this month, Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced that our feeds could be looking a little different very soon. Planning to test user preferences with three different feeds—Home, Favourites and Following—users will have more control than ever before to shape the content and accounts they want to see. Whilst time will tell whether this feature will be rolled out permanently, it will be a great chance for retailers and brands to re-engage with their audiences and discover exactly what they are looking for from them on the app. 

What will the three feeds look like?

  1. Home: Expected to be very similar to how things look now; a mixture of content from people you follow combined with suggested content the algorithm thinks you’ll also like. 

  2. Favourites: Almost an extension of your ‘close friends', this feed is likely to show content created by accounts that you’ve decided you don’t want to miss. We expect you’ll be asked to curate your ‘favourites list’ and any post from these accounts will show in this feed. 

  3. Following: A much-demanded return to the Instagram of yesteryear, this feed will be a chronological list of content as it’s been posted from accounts you follow. 


What could this mean for retail brands specifically?

Like any major tech test announcement, the details of this feed change are of course speculation at best, but even so, we can start to predict what expected updates like this could mean for retail brands who use Instagram as a core part of their digital strategy. 

  1. It’s all in the timing: With the current Instagram algorithm, when you post a piece of content hasn’t mattered as much as it did historically, but with the return to chronological order, it’s definitely worth testing out your timings to be sure as many people in your audience as possible see your posts. 

  2. Nail those CTAs: A call to action has always been an important part of social media strategies, however with a Favourites feed now at play, it could make or break your success. Be sure to encourage your followers to add you to their Favourites so they never miss a post or promotion. 

  3. Short-term loss for long-term gain: The truth is, with these changes you’re likely to lose followers. With a shift back to chronological and a push to identify favourites, users are going to discover accounts they don’t even remember following and probably haven’t seen a post from in months, if not years. Don’t despair though, because this will mean your remaining audience will be more engaged than ever—and more likely to actually be customers and advocates of your brand 

  4. Hello, again: If you do want to minimise the above, why not try a mini reintroduction strategy on your account? Create some content to remind followers who you are, what you do, and why they should stick around. 
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Written by Jordan Evans
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Written by Jordan Evans