In 2016, Instagram followed the tech trend of utilizing an algorithmic-based feed to serve up content to its users and shut down its chronological feed—a decision that has been a sore point for many users.
The ever-evolving algorithm has left brands, organizations, and influencers frustrated with the continuous changes in content prioritization and the inability to have meaningful organic reach.
However, in late 2021, Instagram announced that the option for a chronological feed would make a return in the new year, and they rolled it out on March 23, 2022. While the default feed is still based on the algorithm, users now have the option to view a chronological feed, called Following, as well as an option to view a Favorites feed which only shows accounts selected by the user.
Unfortunately, Instagram has buried the new feed options, making them difficult for users to find.
If an Instagram user wants to check out the chronological Following feed or the Favorites Feed, they’ve got to know where to look.
How to Find the Following and Favorites Feeds
Open the Instagram app on your phone. When the home screen loads with your default feed you will see the Instagram logo in the top left corner. Click the logo and a dropdown menu will appear with the options Following and Favorites. Select your desired feed and you are ready to go!
What Does This Mean for Your Brand?
So, what does the return of the chronological feed (and the addition of the Favorites) feed mean for your brand? While it’s still too soon to tell how much of the Instagram user base will engage with these new feeds, there are some steps you can take to begin to test engagement opportunities.
- With the return of a chronological feed, brands should begin testing posting times to identify when content receives higher organic engagement, plus, be sure to identify when your audience is most active on the platform.
- Get favorited! Instagram users can add up to 50 accounts to their Favorites list. What’s your strategy to make the cut? Incentivize time-sensitive content that your followers won’t want to miss such as big announcements, exclusive interviews, contests, giveaways, and more to encourage your followers to add your account to their list of favorites. Don’t assume your followers will think to favorite your account. Encourage them to take this action and explain the value it will bring to their time on Instagram.
- In addition to testing posting times, use this change to Instagram as an opportunity to evaluate your content strategy and introduce new content such as Reels. Be sure to monitor your posts and accounts insights to see what content is driving the most engagement and where you are reaching your audience.
As Instagram seeks to gain back audience share from newer platforms such as TikTok, and expand its audience reach with Gen Z, expect to see more changes on the platform, such as an increase in recommended content on the home screen. Look at each change as an opportunity to engage both current and new followers on Instagram and increase your brand’s reach.
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