Instagram is redesigning its Explore tab and will promote Stories in this tab as well. Stories, which are 24-hour posts (unless a user decides to archive them and preserve) them usually appear on top of the News Feed, but with the new design, it looks Instagram will serve more of these to its users.
In an official blog post, Instagram said that over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day and the redesigned Explore grid will now provide users with personalised Stories recommendations. The feature will start rolling out in the coming weeks.
The Explore Tab on Instagram shows content from similar pages, people and topics that a user tends to follow on the social network. The Explore Tab is also getting a redesigned navigation bar up to with IGTV, Shop (for Shopping) appearing right in the beginning followed by topics like Style, Beauty, Animals, Art, etc.
The other topics will vary depending on what one follows on Instagram. The new Explore tab with the additional navigation settings appears to be live on iOS. Clicking on the Shopping tab will take users straight to posts from brands, creators, whose posts have the shopping option in them.
A user will be able to tap on the post, then view the products, and get the option to shop them from the website. The IGTV or Instagram TV option now shows a new vertical scrolling discovery grid for videos, which is in sharp contrast to the earlier format for IGTV that had a horizontal carousel.
Videos on IGTV can be longer than the regular videos uploaded to Stories or posts on Instagram and the format has gained popularity with content creators on the platform.
With the focus on IGTV and Shopping, this is clearly a signal that Instagram will be focusing on highlighting these categories more on the network. At its F8 conference earlier this month, Facebook had confirmed that it would let users shop directly from creators/influencers. What this meant was that if an creator shared a post, they would be able to tag a product for the user to purchase.
The new approach to shopping would ensure users don’t leave the Instagram app to buy things they like from creators. Instagram has said it will be testing the feature with some select creators.
Coming to Stories, according to TechCrunch , the Explore Tab will now auto-play Stories clips and tapping on any of these will take the user to the Story in question. Further users will able to swipe through to more Stories around the same topic. The report adds that Instagram has several criteria for determining what is shown on the Explore Tab, and suggestions will be based on what the user already likes and views. The report also notes that videos have a higher ranking potential than just photo Stories.