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Instagram Tests Recent Stories Highlights on User Profiles

While social platforms continue to drift away from the “social” elements, and more towards entertainment, the platforms also know that engagement still remains key to making their apps as sticky as possible for users.

Which is why Instagram continues to develop new ways to double-down on elements where it’s still seeing strong user activity, be it in DMs, Reels, or Stories.

Which is where this latest experiment comes in.

Instagram Lately

As you can see in this example, posted by app researcher Hammod Oh (and shared by Matt Navarra), Instagram is currently testing a new “Lately” feature for Stories, which adds a new, automatically generated highlight feed to your profile that showcases your most recent Stories activity.

Essentially, the “Lately” Story it extends the life of your Stories beyond 24 hours, while also giving profile visitors more context as to the type of content that you post to your Stories feed.

Which could be important, because as noted, while general feed activity on IG is in decline, with users posting less and less to their main profile than they have in the past, Stories engagement is stronger, as IG users look to engage in less permanent, public ways.

That’s actually been the case for the past few years, with IG chief Adam Mosseri noting back in 2022 that:

Friends post a lot more to stories and send a lot more DMs than they post to Feed.”

DM engagement, as noted, has also been a key focus, with the addition of Notes, Channels, and other connection options for close friends, with Instagram hoping to maintain a level of deeper connection, even as it re-aligns itself around video content.

Indeed, Meta recently noted that 50% of the content that people now see in their IG feeds is pushed to them via AI recommendations, with that system primarily focused on showcasing Reels, which is the most magnetic of IG’s content options.

That keeps users coming back, but again, without the personal connective elements, Meta’s apps also lack differentiation, with its social graph still being a key strength.

Hence the need to keep testing out refinements and improvements to maintain that thread, and keep users connected, while also keeping them entertained.       

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