Culture

Instagram is going all in on Guides and Search to keep you from leaving the app

The feature that started off with well-being advice is now going to point users to new products, places, and people.

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Instagram is redesigning its Guides feature. According to a company announcement, Guides' trajectory as initially offering advice on self-care will now expand to products, new people, and places. So you can expect to see new(er) kinds of posts. On top of that, Instagram has announced that it will update its Search functionality, which is supposed to refine the overall browsing experience.

What it looks like — Guides will act like tap-through stories with the difference that the captions are more obviously laid out. Plus, if creators choose to use the option, users can skim through linked articles.

These updates and expansions sound like Instagram is trying its best to increase the time people spend within the app. Since the beginning of the lockdown and social distancing measures in March, Instagram has become one of the internet's most heavily used social media apps, with upticks in Live events and Stories usage by both individual users as well as companies, bands, publications, and other creators.

It's the perfect time for Instagram to sharpen its commercial ventures. Over the past few months, the company has introduced updates like directing users to shop and read content directly through the platform. By refining Search, Instagram says it will help users do more than just find usernames, hashtags, and locations. They can now spot keywords relevant to their searches.

Give it a try — In order for the latest Guides to work, you will need the most recently updated Instagram version. The company has made Guides social so you're able to share them via Stories but also through direct messages.

Of course, Instagram has been working heavily on bolstering its commercial front with changes like Shops moving to the forefront of the app, so it's no surprise that the company says, "Product Guides may be featured in Instagram Shop, our new shopping destination within the Instagram app, so you can discover new products from people you may not already follow."

We can expect more redesigns and tweaks in the future. "Creators push culture forward and are a great source of inspiration for the Instagram community — whether you’re looking to shop the latest trends or learn about a new topic or place," Instagram said in its blog post. "We hope that Guides provide another way for you to connect with your favorite accounts and get inspired by what content people are loving on Instagram."