New Instagram Feature Helps Users Clean Up Their Following List

Instagram is rolling out a new feature that will allow users to group their following list into different categories.

The new “Following Categories” feature groups the accounts you follow into lists such as:

  • Accounts you see most often
  • Accounts you least interact with
  • Accounts sorted by earliest to latest followed

Instagram uses data from the past 90 days to create these categories. In calculating interactions, Instagram measures user actions such as liking posts and reacting to stories.

By introducing Following Categories, Instagram aims to help users ensure the content shown in their feed remains relevant.

In a statement to TechCrunch, an Instagram spokesperson says:

“Instagram is really about bringing you closer to the people and things you care about – but we know that over time, your interests and relationships can evolve and change. We want to make it easier to manage the accounts you follow on Instagram so that they best represent your current connections and interests.”

In other words, Instagram users can filter out the noise from their feed by reviewing these new Following Categories.

For example, users may find some of the ‘most shown’ accounts in their feed are also accounts they don’t interact with very often.

Knowing this, users may decide to unfollow some of the ‘most shown’ accounts so they’ll end up seeing more relevant content in their feed.

Impact for Marketers

It’s too early to tell, but this feature has the potential to lead to many lost followers. Users may end up purging their following list if, after reviewing their Following Categories, they discover the accounts shown most often aren’t particularly engaging anymore.

Looking at this a more positive way – if users trim down their Following list it could lead to more engagement as well. Users will see more content from the accounts they really care about, and have more opportunities to engage with them.

Either way, as a marketer, the launch of this feature is important to take note of if you measure changes in total followers and engagement from month to month.

To access these new Following Categories for your own account, just open the Instagram app and navigate to your profile. Tap on “Following” and you’ll see the option to group the accounts into different categories.

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About the Author: Matt Southern

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand. When he’s not ferociously following and covering the search industry, he’s busy writing SEO-friendly copy that converts.