If you’ve noticed more Instagram photos on your feed lately, you’re not alone.
Following Instagram’s 2023 priorities, we’ve spotted an increase of photos while scrolling the ‘gram.
And while there hasn’t been an official statement from the platform, we’ve done some digging to see if photos are indeed back.
Keep reading to hear what creators and Later’s social media team have discovered.
Is Instagram Going Back to Photos in 2023?
Technically speaking, photos never left.
However, Reels and suggested content have been prioritized by Instagram over the past few years.
That said, following 2022’s “Make Instagram Great Again” campaign, the platform’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, ensured that Instagram would stay committed to supporting photos:
👋🏼 There’s a lot happening on Instagram right now.— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) July 26, 2022
I wanted to address a few things we’re working on to make Instagram a better experience.
Please let me know what you think 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/x1If5qrCyS
And in an AMA earlier this year, he took that sentiment a step further:
“We were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far, and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos.
We’ve since balanced, so things like how often someone likes photos versus videos, and how often someone comments on photos versus videos are roughly equal — which is a good sign that things are balanced.”
So, are things balanced?
Some creators like Jade Beason and Lucas O'Keefe say yes, and have been encouraging their followers to post more photo content.
Jade specifically conducted an experiment (with the help of Later’s scheduling tools!) and only posted photos over the course of 10 days.
The result? “Whilst photos couldn’t compete with the reach I get from Reels, they received considerably more engagement.”
And Later’s social team has noticed a similar trend:
“We post an average of 10 feed posts a week on Instagram — about half of which are photos. And while our Reels views have been fairly consistent over the past six months, we’ve seen a major shift with photo content.
Between static images and carousel posts, their collective engagement rates have increased by 100%,” shares Later’s Social Media Manager, Christine Colling.
“While they’re not as high as our engagement rates in previous years, all signs currently point to photos entering their comeback season,” she adds.
If you’re focused on brand awareness and reaching new audiences, Reels may still be the way to go.
However, if engagement and community-building are your main goals, sharing more photos (static or carousel) to your feed could encourage deeper conversations with your followers.
Will Instagram Reels Be Deprioritized for Photos and Carousel Posts?
According to Adam Mosseri: No.
Last month, he addressed this question via his Instagram Stories:
“We’re not deprioritizing Reels. We still think Reels are incredibly important… But we think photos and carousels are also an important part of what we do at Instagram and they will continue to be – forever.”
In other words, keep diversifying the type of content you post on Instagram — from Stories to Reels to carousel posts.
While photos have re-joined the chat, the platform’s made it clear that video isn’t going anywhere either.
FYI: Later’s social media management platform is trusted by over 4M social media managers, brands, and creators to plan and schedule content, analyze posts, and more. Sign up today – for free: