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Instagram testing new feature

Instagram Experimenting with the Following Tab: Indian Users Test Out the New Feature

Ever since Facebook (Meta) acquired Instagram back in 2017, the possibilities for this photo-sharing app have expanded significantly. Now, it has transformed into a multi-media business opportunity for business owners and a career option for many creators.

Reels are one of the most promising features for marketers, entrepreneurs, and creators alike. This format has enabled users to voice their opinions and level up their marketing efforts.

So, after multiple updates and changes, Instagram added another feature to maximize the potential of reels—the “Following Tab”. The testing phase for this new feature is limited to IG users in India.

What’s the new Following Tab feature?

In January 2022, India recorded a whopping 230.25 million Instagram users. This massive audience base presents the perfect opportunity for beta testing a new feature. So, Meta’s decision to introduce a new “Following Tab” into the main Reels design will now be tested only among Indian users.

Salman Memon, an app researcher, posted this screenshot of the Following Tab, showing how users in India would have a unique way to scroll through their viewed Reel clips under different categories.

Certain intuitive features could help make scrolling more fun, such as:

  • It has a side-swipe algorithm ensuring user-friendliness
  • People can quickly catch up on recent Reels chronologically
  • It will show users the posts of those they follow on Instagram Reels

Instagram’s announcement section suggests an easy way to use this feature. A user has to tap on the top left corner of the Instagram Home Page and choose what they wish to see. This will optimally customize a user’s Instagram feed—paving the way for the best possible user experience by giving users what they want.

Is the “Following Tab” inspired by TikTok’s “For You”?

After the introduction of Instagram Reels, people dubbed the feature as IG’s attempt to mirror and one-up TikTok. Besides the layout and theme, its algorithm also resonated with the banned app in India. It was evident that Meta was trying to mimic the secrets of TikTok’s success through its own version.

On the same line, the “Following Tab” feature is another instance of this tactic. Ideally, it was inspired by the “For You” feed on the latter app. Both these options algorithmically recommend short-form videos that users love.

Instagram can now chronologically show a broad and customized range of popular reels, similar to TikTok.

Why was this incorporated?

The primary reason for introducing this new feature was to maximize user engagement by personalizing their feeds to their taste. Zuckerberg made an interesting note during Meta’s earnings call“While we’re experiencing an increase in short-form video, we’re also seeing a major shift in feeds from being almost exclusively curated by your social or follow a graph to now having more of your feed recommended by AI, even if the content wasn’t posted by a friend or someone you follow.”

Did you know that Instagram users in India spend 30 minutes per day on the app, scrolling through reels? That explains why when you start scrolling through Instagram reels, you tend to stumble down an unavoidable social rabbit hole.

Well, this seems to have been Meta’s plan all along!

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