Instagram tests new format for recommended content listings
As you can see in this example, shared by user Giorgio Nardini, the new recommendations listings appear within the main feed, with separate tabs for 'Suggested' and 'Older' posts. The 'Older' listing takes you back to posts that you've already seen.
Instagram has confirmed that it's testing this format with a small number of users:
"If you’re in the test, this is shown after you see all the posts in your Feed. Once you get the “You’re All Caught Up” notice and scroll past it, you have the option to see suggested posts or go back to older posts that you’ve already viewed."
So it doesn't take over the main feed, the split listing only appears after you've seen all the new posts from your connections. You'd then have the option to either see suggestions, or keep srcolling on to posts you've seen.
Instagram actually started testing this back in 2018, with a different format.
As you can see here, once you hit the 'All Caught Up' notification, you can keep scrolling to see posts you might like, or tap to see older posts from your contacts. In this variation, there was no split feed, so you either viewed the recommendations or you had to scroll back to the top to see your older posts. The updated version makes it easier to view Instagram's recommendations, but also easily switch back to your traditional feed.
As noted, the new format is in testing with some users, so you may have seen it, or a version of it, in the wild.
It could be a good way for Instagram to keep users more engaged, by highlighting more profiles similar to those they already follow - though as some have noted, Instagram's recommendations can also, at times, be problematic, and guide people down rabbit holes of fringe conspiracy theories, which is something the platform may need to address.
It could also provide benefits for businesses, particularly as Instagram moves more towards eCommerce. If people start using Instagram to browse and shop more specifically, more recommendation surfaces could connect sellers with interested buyers, by highlighting similar items and trends aligned with their past searches.
There's no word on whether the format will be rolled out more broadly as yet, but we'll keep you updated on any progress.