Instagram’s ‘Explore’ grid now shows extra love to video

Instagram recently increased the limit on users’ video clips from 15 seconds to a minute, and now it’s offering an improved way to search and view that content.

The changes, rolled out Thursday for iOS and Android, are seen in the app’s Explore tab, which now includes a “videos you might like” section that “collects videos from across Instagram’s global community into a seamless viewing experience.” In addition, when you scroll down the Explore grid, you’ll also see “featured” channels with videos on specific topics.

The move is seen by some as a challenge to Snapchat and its Live Stories feature that pulls in content around a particular event. It may also have Twitter in its sights, a place where many users go for breaking news. Videos around unfolding news events placed front and center on Instagram could make it a go-to option for news junkies, or simply keep people on the service for longer instead of having them hop over to Twitter to find out the latest happenings when something kicks off.

Having recently upset many users with its controversial plan to do away with its chronological feed, Instagram is choosing to tread carefully with subsequent changes to its service. Indeed, in its blog entry introducing Thursday’s update, the company reassures users that “even with these changes, Explore still works the same way, [connecting] you to posts about your interests from people you don’t yet follow.”

And, if you didn’t already know, the more you engage with posts on Explore, the better it should get at showing content you enjoy. And whenever you see an image or video that doesn’t stimulate your senses, simply tap “see fewer posts like this” in the  “…” menu top right and Instagram’s algorithms will take note.

Instagram’s recent efforts to boost the presence of video on its service should help it to rake in more revenue from brands. A full month before lifting the 15-second video limit for regular users, the company introduced the change for marketers, which obviously have to fork out more for longer ad slots.

The Explore update is available now to U.S.-based Instagram users, though the company promises an international rollout “soon.”

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