21st August 2020

POV: Instagram Suggested Posts and QR Codes


This week Instagram announced some new features including ‘Suggested Posts’ and the global roll out of QR codes, which follow a number of other recent updates including ‘Reels’ and ‘Instagram Shops’.

Details and Implications:

Instagram Suggested Posts:

The new ‘Suggested Posts’ feature is rolling out globally this week and will display a collection of additional content to users from people they don’t follow. This feature comes after the notification to say ‘you’re all caught up’ when users have seen all the posts over the past two days from the accounts they follow.

The posts suggested to users will be curated content similar to posts from the accounts they already follow, or posts they like or save. This differentiates from the Explore feed which suggests slightly broader posts and topics based on the user’s activities. If users aren’t interested in a particular Suggested Post, they can send feedback to Instagram by clicking the three-dot icon at the top of the post to select ‘not interested’ and the feedback will be reflected in future suggestions.

The introduction of the ‘Suggested Post’ feature encourages users to spend more time on the app discovering additional content once they’re up to date with their feed. It also gives brands new opportunities to reach their audience as the ‘Suggested Posts’ will create more space for advertising opportunities. The posts shown to users will be a combination of organic and paid posts and the organic content will be limited to photos and videos only.

Along with Reels, 15-second multi-clip videos with audio and effects, it is one of the ways that Instagram is taking inspiration from the increasingly popular social media app TikTok. A user’s Instagram feed is now never-ending with many opportunities to discover new and relevant accounts and brands.

Instagram QR Codes:

Users can now generate QR codes on the Instagram app that are scannable from any supporting third-party camera apps. The feature replaces ‘Nametags’ that allowed users to find each other’s’ accounts easily. The main difference is that users and businesses can use the QR codes externally to drive people to their Instagram accounts. Businesses will be able to use the feature to allow customers to easily reach their accounts and see opening hours, key items of their ‘Shops’ or just follow them.

Having rolled out in Japan last year, the feature is now available globally. QR codes were already popular in markets such as Japan, but in some other markets where the use of QR codes is less frequent, popularity is now increasing due to the global pandemic. Businesses are using QR codes to avoid contact with customers in many situations such as viewing menus at restaurants, so the launch of the feature is very timely for many businesses who may benefit from using their Instagram accounts to drive more business. 


These Instagram updates make it easier for brands to reach their consumers in different ways, both on and off the app.

Further Reading: Social Media Today | The Verge | Tech Crunch

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    Mindshare Global