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Instagram’s Testing a New Stories UI Which Could Have Big Implications for Your Content Strategy

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Instagram's Testing a New Stories UI Which Could Have Big Implications for Your Content Strategy

This is not going to please marketers that have made Instagram Stories a priority.

Over the past few weeks, Instagram has been testing a new Stories presentation UI that essentially hides Stories posts after a certain frame count.

As you can see in this example, shared by Content Strategist Claudia Flannery, some Stories are now only displaying the first three frames, along with a tiny ‘Show all’ prompt in the top left of screen.

That would be easy to miss, which could mean that if you’re posting more than three frames to your Story, those later ones will be significantly less likely to be seen.

As noted by Flannery:

“This obviously will lead to a significant decrease in views and reach, given that most are unlikely to actively go and click to show all.”

That, I suspect, is correct – so why would Instagram do it, and will this be rolled out to all users?

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We asked IG for some insight, and it provided this response:

This feature is in early development and testing with a very small percentage of people.”

So no real insight there, just confirmation that this is in testing.

My speculation would be that this is tied into Instagram’s Reels-first focus, which has also seen it launch a test of a new, full-screen UI, which would incorporate feed posts, Reels and Stories in a single stream.

As you can see, in this format, Stories would be shown with the frame count along the bottom of the screen, indicating that users can swipe left to see more – and maybe, within that, Instagram feels like including too many frames will be off putting, taking users out of the vertical swiping experience.

Or maybe it’s a technical capacity thing, and Instagram can’t make it work beyond a certain frame count. Either way, if it is rolled out, you can expect your Stories performance to decline, especially, again, in those latter frames that few people will manually tap through to see.

It seems like the wrong way to go – but with Reels now becoming the key growth element on Instagram (Reels now make up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram), maybe this is just another subtle push from the platform to get people focused on Reels instead.

Maybe that’s the only basis needed – we don’t know, because Instagram hasn’t given use any additional context, but again it is in testing, and its impact on content strategies could be significant.

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We’ll keep you updated on any progress.

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Instagram Expands Access to Reels Templates, Adds New Music Recommendations for Reels Clips

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Instagram's Working on a New Option That Would Simplify Reels Monetization for Creators

Looking to get into Instagram Reels, but not sure what to post?

This could help – over the last week, Instagram has been giving more users access to its Reels ‘Templates’ option, which enables you to create Reels based on popular content formats in the app.

As you can see in this example, shared by user Ahmed Ghanem, some people are now seeing the new ‘Templates’ option within the Reels camera, which enables you to select a format for your Reel based on popular trends.

Instagram initially launched its Templates option back in April, which takes users through a frame-by-frame process to create a similar-looking Reels clip.

Instagram Reels templates

So if you lack creativity, now Instagram will do the creative framing for you, which could be handy, as a means to create more engaging clips.

But it could also make a lot more of your Reels feed look familiar, due to replication of the same types of clips over and over again, while it also leans on the talents of trendsetters within the app. Which TikTok has come under scrutiny for in the past, and it’ll be interesting to see whether creators start to question the re-use of their formats in this way.

But if you do need help, maybe it’ll come in handy – and that’s not the only way that IG is looking to lend a guiding hand in the Reels creation process.

According to another discovery by Ghanem, Instagram will also now recommend songs for your content, based on your upload.

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Instagram Reels music recommendations

How, exactly, Instagram recommends different songs for different clips is not clear, but based on these tools, you could essentially extricate yourself of almost all your creative content decisions – you just come up with what you want to film and Instagram’s recommendation tools and templates will do the rest.

Which seems to run counter to the whole ethos of the short-form video trend, which enables users to contribute to the latest trends and memes with their own, simple, creative takes. Indeed, what people like most about short-form content is that it provides more avenues for creativity, which makes these new features feel less genuine, and less interesting, even if they do help you get a few more Likes as a result.

Which they probably will, and for brands that are short on time, and are unable to keep up with the latest formats and tracks, they could be a big help (note: business accounts are limited in terms of what songs they can use in their clips).

But I don’t know. It feels a bit artificial, doesn’t it? Like, Meta is so keen to get as many people as possible posting short-form clips that it’s taking all of your own input and personality out of the process.

Maybe I’m over-thinking it – and really, what I am thinking is that someone should create an account that only posts videos using templates and song recommendations to see what sort of engagement it gets.

It could be massive – but it also feels like another step towards killing off the short-form video trend entirely by doing it to death.

Much like Stories before it – and, ultimately, that could be another way for Meta to negate competition.



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