The Instagram chronological feed could be making a comeback!
A new “Latest Posts” feature has been spotted deep in the app’s code and could reveal the return of the Instagram chronological feed.
While Instagram is claiming the new feature is just a prototype (and has no plans to launch at present), it wouldn’t be the first time a hotly requested tool has been released this way.
Here’s everything we know about Instagram’s “Latest Posts” prototype and the software developer who discovered it:
What is the New Instagram Chronological Feed Prototype?
Software developer, Jane Manchun Wong, was the first to discover a new prototype hidden in Instagram’s code that allows you to see your feed in chronological order:
Instagram is working on “Latest Posts” feed for catching up feed posts— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 14, 2020
This sounds like the chronological feed people are asking for. Similar, but not the same 👀 pic.twitter.com/AUMwlZGtUr
The “Latest Posts” feature acts as a pop-up over the main feed and leads users to a new page that will show the most recent content from the accounts they follow.
According to Wong’s research, the new feature will appear when you open the app with the message: “Welcome Back! Get caught up on the posts from [names of accounts you follow] and X others”.
From here, if a user taps “See Posts” they will be brought to a separate screen to view the most recent feed posts. If they tap “Not Now” they can return to the standard home feed based on the Instagram algorithm.
While the prototype doesn’t appear to be a revival of the same chronological feed Instagram had pre-2016, it does help users “catch up” on what they’ve missed.
However, it may be some time before the prototype goes into beta testing, if ever.
Voica later tweeted to confirm the “Latest Posts” feature was simply part of an internal hackathon:
Another great find, thanks for sharing it. For those who are keen to know how this was developed, it's an early prototype from a recent hackathon (a Facebook tradition). It is not available to anyone publicly, and we have no plans to test or launch it at this time. https://t.co/PMi2QVchLG— Alexandru Voica 💀 (@alexvoica) February 14, 2020
But it wouldn’t be the first time that Instagram has prototyped a new feature internally before releasing it to the general public, or testing in localized markets.
According to TechCrunch, “Typically a feature like this is first prototyped internally, then sometimes tested externally if it meshes with Instagram’s objectives, and only then launched officially if the test results are positive.”
At the moment, all we can do is wait and see if Instagram decides to take the prototype further.
What an Instagram Chronological Feed Would Mean for Businesses
Back in 2016, when Instagram removed the chronological feed in favor of the algorithm, it triggered quite a backlash.
Almost overnight, Instagram users had to scroll through a feed ranked on what the algorithm determined they’d like best — strongly influenced by who and what kind of content they interacted with most.
But, the algorithmic feed often paid off for brands and businesses! As people were seeing their favorite brands and profiles at the top of their home feed, it meant that business profiles often saw an uptick in their engagement, purely because their content was being shown to their most engaged followers.
If the “Latest Posts” feature makes it into the mainstream app, identifying your business’ best time to post may become more important than ever.
Knowing when to schedule and publish your posts could increase your chances of appearing in your followers’ “Latest Posts” feed every time they’re active on Instagram.
And while Instagram hasn’t confirmed if this new feature is likely to make it into the app’s functionality, it’s a good time to start thinking about how you can future-proof your Instagram strategy for the long run.
What do you think about the potential return of the chronological feed? Share your thoughts on how it will impact your feed and your business in the comments below!
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