Instagram is expanding its feed these days with the launch of “suggested posts”. These posts from accounts you don’t follow (yet) will appear after you’ve reached the end of your feed and give you the opportunity to keep scrolling with suggestions from Instagram. So far, the Instagram feed has been completely determined by the preferences of each user and the corresponding accounts of the people who follow it.
In the past, Instagram displayed a notification message to users “you’re all caught up” once they reached the end of their feeds. If you’re seen this message before, this means that within the past two days (48 hours) you have seen every post from every accounts you follow. In such a case, you are either only following a small number of Instagram accounts, or you have spent (too) much time in the app. In the case of “suggested posts”, you have the option of scrolling further over this previous end marker in order to receive further content. (This message will still appear in the future, but with the option to revisit old posts.)
“However, the suggested posts are not the same as those shown in Explore. They relate to the content that users are already following, while Explore aims to alert users to related content,” said Julian Gutman, product manager at Instagram Home. As an example, he used space travel topics that he follows and that he regularly uses in his feed. One suggested post could be a new space photo of someone he isn’t following, while their Explore page might have posts related to physics.
Gutman declined to comment on how often people actually hit the end of their feeds each day. However, the suggested posts will also show ads, and for now they will only show photos and videos that have been published to the grid. This means that you will not see any IGTV or Reels content, this can only be discovered in the “explore” tab.
The new “Suggested Posts” make Instagram feel like TikTok, which puts users in a continuous feed of content that never ends. This is part of what made the app, TikTok, so successful. This infinite extension of the feed naturally also gives Instagram more advertising space so that the user experience can be further monetized. This is a win-win for Instagram, even though users may be spending more time on the app than ever before, which is rather bad for mental health.