It’s hard to think that Instagram has made any really bad moves since its inception. Even the algorithmic feed has its advantages, regardless of some of its limitations.
But that algorithmic feed has been baring the brunt of blame for what many feel is a lack of engagement, and with the value of Instagram engagement just continuing to grow, users have been trying to hack that, and largely with ‘PODS’. But that’s not the only complaint, as the feed also has affected who sees what posts most often, somewhat highlighting that Instagram hasn’t focused much on giving users control over their audience, for those who want to be selective. Well, a new feature that’s coming out looks to address both.
The new feature, as reported by Instagram’s Product Lead, Robby Stein, to the Verge, is called “Favorites”, and has been in development for a year, primarily to address the fact that, “People are trying to hack Instagram to create smaller audiences, and we’re trying to recognize that”.
Here’s how it works according to the Verge,
When you create a regular post or a story post, you’ll see new options to share them to your favorites. When you do, the post will be visible only to the people on your list — and is denoted by a green “favorites” badge on the post. Your Instagram profile also gets a new favorites tab, denoted by a star, that contains all the non-ephemeral posts you’ve shared to your favorites over time.
No one gets notified when you add or remove them to the list. They’ll know they’re your favorite only when they see a green “favorites” badge at the top of your posts. They can’t request to be added to your list through the app. And if you remove them from your favorites, they lose access to all of your private posts.
Why would people want smaller audiences? Well, for one, for much the same reasons you would want to send a private message than blasting it out to the public, and it would appear that this favorites option would circumnavigate the algorithm in the sense that those on your ‘Favorites’ list should be assured of seeing that post. This, theoretically, should be reason enough for people to be on Instagram for longer periods of time. A large complaint over the past months has been that users aren’t seeing enough of the stuff from the people they want in a timely manner. Selecting ‘Favorites’ could alter this and make friend-to-friend communication stronger, perhaps getting people on the platform more.
Also, whilst we don’t have the details as yet, immediately this seems to me to present a good direct marketing/relationship building opportunity as users may be able to target select people they want to speak to. Used properly, without being spammy, this could be brilliant. The problem, of course, is how is this to be regulated, and from what we can garner from this article there is no way of knowing nor no way of removing yourself from a favorites list or preventing yourself from being on one to start. As such, it would appear that if you didn’t want to use the Favorites as it seems to be intended for, you could add everyone to it…
I’m sure in the coming weeks we’ll have more to report on this so keep an eye out.