Sneaking in ahead of the Thanksgiving break, Instagram has announced that its currently testing a few variations of profile formats, both for regular users and businesses.
But interestingly, not everyone will see the same changes – or at least, not yet.
As explained by Instagram:
“Over the next several weeks, you may see features re-arranged at the top of your profile including changes to icons, buttons and the way you navigate between tabs, which we hope will make profiles easier and cleaner to use. The photos and videos you’ve shared on your grid won’t change.”
So rather than test with a small group ahead of a bigger launch, Instagram appears to be A/B testing in the live environment, with a couple of different variations.
As the cool business-folk would say, ‘there’s a lot to unpack here’. First off, on regular profiles – as you can see from the first image in the above sequence, the profile image is shifted to the right, while the ‘Followers’ and ‘Following’ stats have been shrunk and de-emphasized by being moved to the bottom. And rather than making ‘Follow’ the only CTA on your profile, Instagram’s adding in other options as quick links, like ‘Message’ here, and in another variation, ‘Email’.
More interesting, however, is the second frame – here, you can see that Instagram is putting mutual follows front and center, helping to provide more context as to how a user is linked to others in your own network.
That could be particularly beneficial for businesses, if the same is made available on business profiles.
By checking in on which of your followers also follow other profiles, you can get a better understanding of related interests, which could plan potential collaborations, or in targeting your content based on related subjects/profiles.
More interesting than that, however, is the changes to business profiles – look at all those tabs.
There’s a lot going on there – the ‘Shop’ option is obviously related to Instagram’s renewed on-platform shopping push, but there’s a heap of other quick-link options also included here.
You’d think that not all of them would make it through the test phase, but it does provide some interesting food for thought for Instagram marketers. How could you use all of these tabs to advantage? What’s the best way to showcase your products through these options?
There’s a lot to consider, and it’s hard to say exactly what the impacts will be until Instagram has settled on a design for the full rollout. But they definitely raise some interesting questions.
Keep an eye on your Insta profile in the coming weeks.
This story originally appeared in Social Media Today. Image courtesy of Natee Meepian/Shutterstock.