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NEW Instagram Feeds Explained: What's the Difference Between Home, Following, and Favorites

On Friday, Instagram dropped some big news through their leader Adam Mosseri. Instagram has officially rolled out the new feed experience to every user. If you open your fully updated Instagram app right now, you should be able to tap on the word Instagram in the top left corner and switch from your Home feed to your Following feed and your Favorites feed. Let's break down what these new changes mean for your experience as an Instagram user and what they mean for how your brand should approach posting on the app.

Why is Instagram Changing the Feed (again)?

According to Adam Mosseri, it's all about user feedback. Users have been begging for the return of a chronological feed for years. He says that they've listened to those DMs, and they're implementing the advice. Watch Moserri's video announcement below.

While he claims the change is to give users more control over their experiences, we think there is another driving force behind this update. Instagram must compete with TikTok as Gen Z becomes a driving force on social media. Gen Z already overwhelmingly prefers TikTok's FYP to Instagram's Home feed. How can Instagram compete with that? Add more and more suggested video content to their Home feed so it begins to mimic the FYP experience. But to appease the users who don't want an "FYP-like" experience, Instagram is giving users these other feed options so they can sift through the recommended content and get to their niece's cute baby pics.

Home Feed

The Home feed will be nearly identical to the Instagram feed we've all been experiencing for awhile now. It's algorithm driven, it's not chronological, and it's a mix of content from people you follow as well as recommended content. This is also the only place you'll be able to find Instagram Stories, as well as your DMs, notifications, and the post/story/reels creator.

Based on Mosseri's statement, it's clear that this feed will be filling up with more and more suggested content. We think that slowly this content will become video only, and by 2024 the default feed may be a Reels only suggested feed when you open the app.

To succeed in the Home feed, you'll want to make sure some of your content has the objective of gaining followers and gaining reach - not necessarily building community with your current followers. Prioritize creating Reels if you want your content to be suggested on the Home feed.

Following Feed

The Following feed is a return to the original Instagram feed. This feed will only show you content from accounts you choose to follow, and the content will be displayed in a chronological order according to when each post was published. Before the infamous algorithm came along, this feed was all we knew.

We think that the Following feed is going to be the kiss of death for influencers who have been depending on Instagram's algorithm to dilute the amount of posts that actually make it through to each of their followers' feeds. Some influencers are posting 3+ times a day to their IG accounts - most of those posts being branded content. Now their followers will see all of those posts in the Following feed with no algorithm to protect them from the ads and fluff.

Our advice, do not fill up your feed with filler content that doesn't give real value to your followers. They'll start seeing the fluff in their Follower's feed and you'll be muted - or even worse - unfollowed. Remember, providing value on social media is the number one goal - community and sales follow valuable posts. And be sure to check in on your analytics to see when your followers are most active on the app. Posting in their active window will make sure you're at the top of the Following feed when your followers log on.

Favorites Feed

If you don't want to scroll through your feeds looking for your favorite influencer's content or your best friend's post, you'll want to take advantage of the Favorites feed. You can add up to 50 of your favorite accounts to this feed, and their content will be displayed in chronological order.

As a brand, being added to your followers' Favorites feed is the DREAM. If you've been added to a Favorites feed, that means that the Instagram user actively wants to see all of your content and is probably very motivated to engage with your content and buy what you're selling. Be sure to occasionally add CTAs to your content asking your followers to add you to their Favorites feed so they never miss one of your posts.

We're interested to see how these new feeds effect the way we all post on Instagram and effect the way we all consume content on the app. We'll be testing new strategies to see how our content performs with these new feeds, and we'll report back here with our findings. It's clear to us that this move is another step towards direct competition with TikTok, which makes us sad. We love the unique qualities Instagram brings to the social media landscape, and we hope that the app doesn't leave all of that behind in pursuit of beating TikTok. Only time will tell.


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