Instagram Tests Reels That Aren’t Shown to Followers


Instagram is experimenting with a new feature that allows creators to test reels without them appearing on their profiles, potentially offering an advantage over TikTok and enabling creators to try out new content without performance pressure.

The company has initiated global tests of this “trial reels” feature, designed for creators to explore different content styles or get more creative by publishing reels hidden from their followers. After posting a reel through this feature, Instagram will provide insights on its performance, such as plays, likes, comments, and shares. Based on these insights, creators can decide whether to share their reel with followers or archive it.

This feature, seen among select creators, evolved from an earlier test called “Experiment mode,” first discovered by reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi in April. This mode also let creators post reels shown only to non-followers.

In a screenshot shared by Paluzzi, Instagram indicated that although the reel won’t be visible on profiles, followers could still see it if directly shared with them. Additionally, the reel will be archived after 24 hours if not publicly shared by the creator.

Currently, Instagram is testing various iterations of the feature, which may include different times before the reel is archived. The final version of the feature, if launched publicly, could still undergo changes.

Instagram has not commented on these tests.

“We’re always exploring different ways for creators to express themselves on Instagram, but nothing to share at the moment,” a Meta spokesperson stated.

This development comes as creators have complained about their reach being negatively impacted by the app’s algorithm. Trial reels could help creators build a larger following by allowing them to experiment with content.

This could be beneficial because many creators now view their Instagram profiles as business cards, which pressures them to only share their most polished content to avoid losing followers.

Trial reels are being tested globally with select creators holding professional accounts, with access not limited by the number of followers or other metrics.

Aisha Malik
Aisha Malik
Aisha is a consumer news reporter. Previously, she was a telecom reporter at MobileSyrup. Aisha holds an honours bachelor’s degree from University of Toronto and a master’s degree in journalism from Western University.

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