Instagram is rolling out some changes to its Explore tab, designed to showcase more related trends, and guide users towards its IGTV and on-platform shopping options.
First off, Instagram has tweaked the format of the Explore search options to put more focus on the listed content, with the topic tabs along the top of the Explore screen reduced in size.
As explained by Instagram:
"When you go to Explore, you’ll now see a newly designed navigation bar, which features shortcuts to IGTV and Shopping followed by topic channels tailored to your interests, such as Food, Art and Travel. “IGTV” and “Shop” shortcuts are pinned to the front of the bar, making it easier to find products and videos from brands and creators you love."
Some users have had this new format for the last month or so, as part of Instagram's testing. For comparison, the Explore topics format that most users currently see is this:
The new layout removes the preview images, putting more focus onto the content, while as Instagram notes, it also guides users towards IGTV and its shopping options, with those two topics pinned in the list.
Instagram's also updated the specific listings for its IGTV and Shop posts. Now, when you tap on the IGTV section, you'll see a personalized feed of recommended videos from "creators you follow or may want to follow".
You can see here that the IGTV tabs are larger, giving more room to each, and more capacity to grab attention.
On the Shop tab, meanwhile, Instagram has added new filters to help you browse products for sale on the platform in different categories.
With Instagram moving more towards eCommerce, and building out its shopping and on-platform buying options, adding more product discovery tools to Explore makes a lot of sense, and will no doubt be welcomed by users looking to use the platform for such purpose.
In addition to this, Instagram's also adding publicly posted Stories to Explore to further highlight Stories content.
"In the same way that Explore recommends posts based on topics you’re interested in, the grid will now provide you with personalized Stories recommendations."
Stories has become a key element of the Instagram experience, with 500 million people using Instagram Stories every day - and as consumption habits evolve on the platform, it makes sense to align with this within the discovery section.
Explore has also become an essential element of the in-app experience. According to Instagram, more than 50% of accounts use Explore every month, making it a key point of discovery, and a key surface for Instagram to showcase the various platform elements and content offerings. These changes, in alignment with its algorithm updates for surfacing relevant content, could help Instagram boost engagement, performance and herd more users towards its developing tools.
Instagram's Explore changes are rolling out first to US users within the coming weeks.