The huge changes coming to Instagram in 2023

Instagram has unveiled a series of exciting huge new changes for 2023. From a re-arrangement of the navigation bar to entirely new features – like a Twitter-inspired ‘Notes’ feature – the social media app is certainly taking a different approach this year. 

Without further ado, we’ve got all the latest details about this new direction that Instagram is taking in 2023.

Someone holding a phone showing their Instagram feed

Navigation Bar

Instagram’s navigation bar is going to be completely redesigned in February this year. The Instagram Shopping tab is being removed. This will make way for a return of the ‘Compose’ button –  the shortcut for creating content, which always used to be central to the navigation bar. 

This also means that the Reel button will be moved to the right. Instagram say that these changes will ‘make it easier for people to share and connect with their friends and interests’.

But does this spell the end for Instagram Shopping? Even though the button is being removed, Instagram doesn’t seem to think so, saying that they will ‘continue to invest in shopping experiences’. So, it seems that we’re seeing a change of priorities, rather than a complete removal.

New ‘Notes’ feature

The best way to explain this new feature is perhaps as a bitesize version of Twitter. Seemingly a way to encourage more spontaneity in users’ communications, the new feature will consist of short text-based posts of up to 60 characters in length. Mark Zuckerberg announced this feature on Instagram himself.

This is completely different to anything we’ve seen on Instagram before. It’s the first time users will be able to create a post without including a photo, video or Reel. Notes will appear alongside the user’s profile picture at the top of the app’s inbox. They can be replied to, although not publicly: replies arrive as DMs to the Note’s original poster.

It shouldn’t go unnoticed that this feature is being released in perfect timing with a mass exodus of users from Twitter, which is in the midst of its own debacle involving Elon Musk. So, perhaps Instagram is hoping to scoop up some ex-Twitter users.

Candid Stories

Disguised as an addition to Stories, in reality, this is an entirely new feature – and pretty much a like-for-like copy of BeReal. Social media’s newfound focus on authenticity rather than perfectly polished feeds has shaken up the industry, and Candids are one of the results of this.

Users will be able to add a Candid to their Stories after they receive a randomly-timed daily notification. It appears the idea is that this will add a refreshingly ‘unfiltered’ aspect to the app’s otherwise flawlessly curated posts. 

For those who would rather keep their ‘unfiltered’ life private, however, Instagram has confirmed that the daily notification can be switched off.

‘Add Yours’ sticker nominations

‘Add Yours’ stickers were launched for Instagram Stories back in 2021. They’re a prompt for users to take a collective action; for instance, ‘Show what you’re making for dinner’. All responses to the sticker then accumulate on one page for all participants to see.

Now, the feature is being evolved even further. Users will be able to invite friends to participate by tapping the new ‘pass it on’ button. This will then forward the sticker to whoever the user thinks will be interested. Whilst this is a small evolution of the feature, its focus is clearly on promoting interconnectivity between users.

New group profiles

Group profiles seem to be a middle ground between Facebook Groups and private group chats. Group profiles will have members rather than followers, and certain users will be nominated as admins.

Posts and Stories can be shared onto group profiles and will be visible to the group’s members, rather than the followers of the user who shared the content. Group profiles will be available to create directly from the new ‘Compose’ button.

Collaborative collections

This is a new way for users to create connections based on their shared interests, going hand-in-hand with the new group profiles functionality. Users have the option to save posts to a group profile, or one-to-one with a friend via DM, rather than just privately.

Collaborative collections could be a very useful tool for groups of friends. Users may use the feature to collate ideas for their next night out or their next holiday, for instance.

iPhone showing Instagram homepage on a desk next to a plant

So what is the new direction that Instagram is taking? 

This is a little more difficult to decipher. In some ways, it could be intimated that Instagram is returning to its roots. After all, the app is (or, at least, used to be) primarily a photo-sharing app – and we’re seeing a return to this, as with the re-focalisation of the ‘Compose’ button at the centre of the navigation bar, and the new Candid feature. 

Paradoxically, the other features announced take the app in a completely new direction. The ‘Notes’ feature is – aside from including the user’s profile picture – entirely text-based. Additionally, the new ‘Group profiles’ function is something we would associate with text-based platforms, such as Facebook with its Groups feature and Twitter with its Communities feature.

Instagram in the App Store on a smartphone

A bright future for Instagram

The one characteristic that unites all of these changes, however, is that they all promote connectivity between users. Some of these changes even do this at the expense of revenue-creating features. We see this in how the Shopping tab is making way for the ‘Compose’ button.

Building on its already successful Reels feature that launched in 2019 to take on TikTok, Instagram is now seeking to take on both Twitter and BeReal. We might even see the app become a more substantial social media power in the future.

Overall, these are a powerful set of new features and changes that will bolster Instagram’s position as a leading social media platform into 2023. 

Leave a Reply