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Instagram introduced Favourites and Following, two new features that will provide the consumers with a customised feed. While the Favourites section shows the consumer's latest posts from 50 select accounts of their choice, Following will show the posts from all the accounts a user follows.

Interestingly, both the features show the posts in chronological order.

Explaining the Favourites section, the photo and video sharing platform, in a statement, said, “You can add up to 50 accounts to your list, and make changes to this list at any time — people are not notified when they are added or removed. Posts from accounts on your favourites list will also show up higher in your home feed, as shown by a star icon.”

In addition to this, Instagram also promised to introduce more recommendations to the feed based upon a user’s interest.

Shuchi Sethi, India Lead – AnyTag, said, “Bringing back this feature, is going to help all the users engage more with what they like and have the feed of their preference. It's also a win-win for both brands and influencers as people tend to buy influencer suggested brands. We might see a surge in influencer marketing.”

Siddharth Singh, Director and Co-Founder, BlackCab, who said that everyone has been missing the feature on Instagram also highlighted the importance of video content on the platform.

He said, “What has happened in the past is that the algorithm is only pushing the content that is video-based. Even if you see content-wise, a lot of brands have started using video content. Even people who are posting static content are trying to add music and text so that it becomes a video.”

New feature for marketers

Lately, we’ve seen a notable spike in marketing on Instagram. From big e-commerce players to small businesses across categories, all are heading towards Instagram to market their goods and services.

With the new feature, while the users might prefer a customised feed in the following and favourites section, marketers might not be able to benefit from it. While the home page feed allows marketers to sell from Instagram, the new customised feed doesn’t do that.

While it shows the posts in chronological order from the pages the user has selected, it doesn’t show the sponsored posts or posts with a “Call to action (CTA)” button in the space as of now. The CTA button takes the user to another page from where they can directly make the purchase.

The question now is that will the photo and video sharing platform charge more from the marketers to get into the customised feed section?

Sethi said, “This (CTA) button can be found on people's profiles (home page). It isn't accessible from anywhere else. As this doesn’t fall under any category, we await clarity from Instagram to make the best use of it. As it is an excellent tool for creators and marketers.”

She further spoke about how, in such a situation, brands can leverage influencer marketing. Sethi said, “To make the most use of this opportunity, brands and marketers will have to associate with all levels of influencers from nano to film stars to reach all kinds of their target audience. This is going to help them stay engaged with their consumers and connect with new customers also.”