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Since it started testing a new fullscreen redesign, Instagram has come under heavy criticism from users – including high-profile figures like the Kardashians

Now, in a recent video, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri seems to agree that the new design is not delivering the quality experience the company had hoped for.

In the video shared on Twitter, Mosseri explained the redesign is “not yet good” and that the new layout will likely see some revisions before it becomes the default for all users. 

However, Mosseri also emphasized that the platform will not be backing away from its current direction. Recommended posts and a new emphasis on video are going to be major parts of the final redesign despite the public demand to “make Instagram Instagram again.”

More Changes Are Likely

The ongoing test has made quite a splash, but it is actually only being shown to a relatively small number of users.  While it captures what Instagram is trying to achieve, it is not up to the standards of the company.

“It’s a test to a few percentage of people out there, and the idea is that a more full-screen experience, not only for videos but for photos, might be a more fun and engaging experience. But I also want to be clear. It’s not yet good, and we’re going to have to get it to a good place if we’re going to ship to the rest of the Instagram community.”

Photos Aren’t Going Anywhere

Much of the anger about the new layout comes from the opinion that Instagram is becoming too much like TikTok by prioritizing video content. 

Though Mosseri emphasizes the platform is always going to be a photo-sharing app at its core, it also needs to grow and expand.

“I want to be clear — we’re going to continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage. I love photos and I know a lot of you out there love photos too. That said, I need to be honest, I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time. We see this even if we change nothing.

We see this even if you just look at chronological feed. If you look at what people share on Instagram that’s shifting more and more to videos over time. If you look at what people like and consume and view on Instagram, that’s also shifting more and more to video over time even when we stop changing anything. So we’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.”

Recommended Posts Are Staying In Your Feed

Another major complaint from users revolves around the inclusion of recommended content in the main feed. 

Recommended posts show content from other users you don’t currently follow. The inclusion of this type of content upset many users who found the recommended content irrelevant or poor-quality. 

Though these recommended posts are going to be sticking around, Mosseri said it is a work in progress and offered tips on how to improve the quality of recommendations:

“Recommendations are posts in your feed from accounts that you do not follow. The idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on Instagram that you might not know even exist. “It’s a test to a few percentages of people out there.”

Now, if you’re seeing things in your feed that are recommendations that you’re not interested in, that means we’re doing a bad job ranking, and we need to improve. And you can X out a recommendation, you can even snooze all recommendations for up to a month or go to your ‘following’ feed.

But we’re going to continue to try to get better at recommendations because we think it’s one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people. We want to do our best by creators, particularly small creators, and we see recommendations as one of the best ways to reach a new audience and grow their following.”

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, had been opening up recently in a series of blog posts about how the app surfaces content. 

First, he went in-depth on how the social app’s recommendation features find and highlight content in users’ primary feeds, as well as in stories, the explore section, and more.

Now, he is focusing on the app’s search engine, explaining how Instagram ranks search results and how to optimize content for the platform.

How Instagram Search Works

As with any modern search engine, the first and foremost goal of Instagram’s search feature is to find and return the most relevant results for an individual user’s query.

“Your search tells us what you’re looking for, and it’s noticeable when the results aren’t useful. It’s important for us to get this right, so we try to organize search results by what’s most relevant to you — whether it be a close friend, a creator you love, or ideas for vegan desserts.

“Let’s say you’re interested in finding pictures of space after seeing the blue moon. When you tap the search bar on the Explore page, the first thing you see is your recent searches. As you begin typing “space,” we show you accounts, audio, hashtags, and places that match the text of your search. In this case, results like @space and #space show up because “space” appears in their name.”

Instagram’s Top Three Ranking Signals

To deliver these results, Instagram looks at a number of factors including account data, hashtags, user engagement, and more. Specifically, Mosseri highlights three major ranking signals to pay attention to:

  • Your text in Search. The text you enter in the search bar is by far the most important signal for Search. We try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places.
  • Your activity. This includes accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past. We usually show accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t.
  • Information about the search results. When there are a lot of potential results, we also look at popularity signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place.

Tips for Getting Your Content in Instagram Search Results

Mosseri goes on to offer three suggestions for optimizing your profile and posts for the app’s search engine:

  • Use a fitting handle and profile name. Search results are matched by text. Using an Instagram handle or profile name that’s related to the content of your posts is your best bet for showing up in relevant searches. If your friends or fans know you by a certain name, include that name in your username or profile so that you can show up when they search for you.
  • Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio. Same principle here. Make sure your bio includes keywords about who you are and what your profile is about. If your account is location-specific, like for a small business, sharing your location in your bio can make it easier for people in your area to find you.
  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. For a post to be found in Search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.

How Instagram Filters Unsafe Content

Of course, Instagram has to filter out its fair share of spam, inappropriate content, and problematic pages.

This is done by penalizing specific posts, accounts, and, on some rare occasions, entire hashtags.

As Mosseri explains:

“Accounts that post spam or violate our guidelines may appear lower in search results, and you may have to search their full username to find them. We also balance searches for sensitive topics with additional safety measures to make sure we don’t show you related content that could be harmful. Accounts, hashtags and posts that violate our Community Guidelines are removed from Instagram entirely, which prevents them from showing up in Search.”

Plans for the Future

Mosseri concludes his blog post by sharing a bit about the upcoming improvements Instagram plans to make to its search results. Notably, he says the company wants to make Instagram Search “more than just a way to find accounts and hashtags” by moving towards a “full search results page experience.”

“For example, your search for “space” will show you space-related photos and videos, too. This is especially helpful when you don’t have an exact username or hashtag in mind when searching for a certain topic.”

If you want to read Adam Mosseri’s full blog post about how Instagram ranks search results, click here.

In a video shared across social media recently, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, emphatically stated that the social network is about more than just sharing pictures. 

These days, the app has expanded into a more multifaceted social platform and will continue to by prioritizing four key aspects of its services.

Instagram’s Four Big Priorities Moving Forward

As a social network, Instagram’s first priority is and will always be its users, particularly the creators who fuel the platform with new engaging and exciting content every day. To further this goal, the company is emphasizing providing creators with ways to earn a living through new monetization approaches.

The second priority for Instagram is developing its video services. The social network has expanded the ways users can both create and discover videos and will continue to do so in the future. As other popular social video platforms like TikTok have provided new competition for Instagram, the platform is experimenting with new approaches to mobile-first video to keep users coming back to the social network.

Following the meteoric rise in online shopping during the COVID pandemic, Instagram is also prioritizing expanding its online shopping tools and services. While Mosseri didn’t offer specific steps Instagram is taking to achieve this goal, he said that he sees the shift to online shopping continuing to grow as shoppers find new ways to confidently and safely purchase the products they see across the platform.

Lastly, Mosseri says that Instagram is prioritizing bolstering its messaging tools. The company head explained that users are moving away from sharing everything publicly in their feeds and stories, and instead want more tools for sharing content in private messages.

Instagram’s Big Video Plans

Of the above priorities, Mosseri spoke most at length about Instagram’s big plans for investing in video tools and services moving forward.

Though the platform has widely been seen as a primarily photo-based app, Mosseri bluntly stated “we’re no longer a photo sharing app.” 

Instead, the company’s goal is to keep users entertained with a variety of content types.

Particularly, the company is working to bring itself inline with other massive social video platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

This is a broad initiative which will influence many of the company’s upcoming tools and features, with some being publicly tested over the next couple months. 

For example, one new test involving showing users video content from accounts they may not be following yet started rolling out last week, while another test allowing users to control which topics they want to see more or less of is being launched this week.

“We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly — full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video. And so you’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months.”

If you want to see the full video statement from head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, check it out below: