Instagram is working to expand its recently launched “Guides” feature which initially debuted with a specific focus on wellness content. The feature, which launched in May, has allowed select organizations and experts to share resources related to managing your mental health — including things like handling anxiety or grief amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. A handful of creators first gained access to the feature, and have since posted their wellness tips on their Instagram profiles in a separate tab, called “Guides.” Now, Instagram is developing tools that will allow creators to build out Guides for other types of tips and recommendations, too — like recommended places or even recommended products.
The larger goal with Guides is to give Instagram users a way to post longer-form content that’s not just a photo or video. Currently, Guides can include photos, galleries and videos sourced from either the creator’s own profile, which is more common, or from other creators. In addition, the Guides include commentary or tips alongside the media.
The feature would allow creators to use Instagram as their platform for sharing tips and advice, instead of having that traffic redirected outside of Instagram — like to a blog or other website.
At launch, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the Guides feature was originally designed with the travel use case in mind, but the company pivoted Guides to focus on wellness because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now it appears Instagram will be returning to its original idea of letting creators build Guides for places — and for other things, too.
The changes to Guides were first uncovered by Twitter user and self-described leaker, Alessandro Paluzzi. He tells TechCrunch he found the new features by reverse engineering the Instagram app. But these changes haven’t yet launched to the wider Instagram user base.
The tests show the company experimenting with a new compose screen, as well. Here, users are presented with all the different ways you can publish to Instagram’s social network. This includes the option to create a new Feed Post, post a Story or Story Highlight, post to IGTV, post to Reels or create a new Guide.
If you choose “Guide” from the list, you’re then presented with a menu that asks you to choose a Guide type. This can be a Places Guide, for recommending favorite places; a Products Guide, for recommending favorite products; or a Posts Guide, which is a more general-purpose format for recommending a series of your favorite Instagram posts.
This feature would allow Guides to easily fit into Instagram influencers’ workflows, as they often make recommendations to followers about where to go, what to purchase and more. Creators could even increase their affiliate network revenue or direct more users to their sponsored posts through the use of Guides, if they chose.
Instagram confirmed the new features are part of a series of improvements to Guides it’s working on.
“This is part of an early test as we work to improve guides. We’ll have more to share soon,” a spokesperson said. The company declined to say if or when the changes would roll out more broadly, adding it’s still in the early stages and the product could change based on user feedback. Instagram also declined to speak to its long-term plans for the Guides feature.
The changes come shortly after Pinterest began edging its way into Instagram territory. The social pinboarding site recently began testing its own new feature aimed at aggregating content for longer-form storytelling. With Story Pins, Pinterest creators could build out “guides” of their own for topics like recipes, crafts, DIY projects or more. In addition, more users are turning to Facebook rival TikTok for tips, inspiration and other creator content.