From this picture shared by app researcher Hammond Oh, Instagram is playing with the concept of a "Public" folder in the DM inbox. This feature will allow users to "message or share" their favorite posts directly with their following.
So, this would create a broad-reaching DM option, aka, a DM blast, to share direct links to your posts.
Why would Instagram feel the need to push content in a new way?
Well, have you noticed how easy it is lately to miss new posts from your favorite content creators? Since Instagram began pushing suggested content, users see significantly fewer posts from accounts they actually follow and more content the algorithm assumes they will interact with.
The current way the Instagram feed is filtered is an excellent way to find new people to follow. Still, it can be difficult to ensure your current followers can consistently engage with your content.
This DM feature would give creators a way to be sure that their followers see their posts instead of letting them get lost in the mass amount of pushed content.
The idea and motivation behind this update are sound, but we think this feature could become lowkey spammy.
Think back to when LinkedIn launched its long-form publishing platform. Every time you saved a new post, all your LinkedIn connections would get notified. So basically, spammer heaven.
LinkedIn had to limit the prevalence of these notifications to limit the misuse of the blast option.
In theory, this Instagram update would face the same potential issues. We assume Meta is aware of this and has a solution in mind to restrict misuse, but on the other hand, they need to stay ahead of the trends. We wouldn’t be shocked if they just went with the update and dealt with the aftermath later.
We are curious to see what form this feature takes as there is a heavy shift towards users relying on DMs and private groups to share content with friends already. This new update would just give Instagram a way to promote this sort of sharing officially.
This change in how IG users interact started when social media shifted its focus from connection to entertainment. The perfect example of this shift is TikTok's crazy quick rise in popularity. Some creators break the mold, but TikTok's main focus is entertainment, not deep social connection. More and more creators are worried mainly about engaging posts, not close-knit communities.
Naturally, each social media platform has its own focus, and Instagram and Facebook are still more engaging than their big competitor, TikTok.
For example, Facebook still has close to 3 billion active users per month. Many people log onto the platform to check in on family and friends, see birthdays and get any updates they may need. But then they log off…they don’t scroll.
People no longer spend hours on social media looking to be connected; they want to be entertained. This may be why Meta shifted Instagram's feed layout to push more entertaining content rather than posts from people we know. While this somewhat changes the app's fundamental goal, relevance is also key.
We view this new feature as a way to balance Instagram's need to stay popular and up with the times while maintaining the app's first purpose, connection.
According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, more and more people interact with DMs, not feed posts. So, to stay ahead and maintain high engagement, creators will need to adapt to this new form of connection. This is where DM blasts become so relevant.
So, should we be excited or scared about the future of Instagram? Well, probably both. But even though there are certainly some concerns about where the app is headed, it's hard not to get at least a little bit pumped up about all the new possibilities.
After all, 2023 is going to be a great year for entertainment- maybe we'll see more brands using DM blasts to stay connected with their customers in fun and innovative ways. What do you think? Are you ready for the future of Instagram?