Instagram Stories are growing in popularity among users. People are drawn to the format because of their time-sensitive nature. Unlike traditional posts, Instagram Stories don't last forever, so people look at Stories immediately when they see them. Instagram has announced new changes that may make it easier for marketers to benefit from Stories by including them on the Explore page, amongst other changes for these features.

More than 500 million people use Instagram Stories to connect with friends and followers on the platform. The Stories feature is an essential way for people to connect with their interests on the platform, and over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. By including this content on the Explore page, Instagram will make Stories easier to find by new audiences.

In a blog post announcing the change, Instagram wrote, "To help people experience the full breadth of interest content on Instagram, the redesigned Explore grid will now feature Stories. In the same way that Explore recommends posts based on topics you're interested in, the grid will now provide you with personalized Stories recommendations. We'll begin rolling this out over the coming weeks."

Though it may seem like a minor change, adding Instagram Stories to the Explore page marks a significant upgrade. One of the challenges of Instagram marketing is getting a brand's content in front of the right audience. Explore helps people connect with find new content and channels on Instagram. The algorithm searches for content that matches a user's interests based on the other posts that they've liked in the past.  Explore is used by more than 50 percent of accounts on Instagram every month, so including Instagram Stories in the mix will significantly increase the reach of this format.

The Explore page is getting some additional upgrades that will be beneficial for platform users and marketers alike. Explore now has a newly designed navigation bar which includes new shortcuts. The shortcuts include IGTV and Shopping, followed by topic channels tailored to your interests, such as Food, Art, and Travel.

The "IGTV" and "Shop" shortcuts are pinned to the front of the navigation bar. For content creators who make videos or brands that sell products through Instagram, these new shortcuts will make their posts easier to find. The "IGTV" and "Shop" shortcuts lead to pages that have also been redesigned.

For "IGTV," the home page was updated to include a personalized feed of recommended videos. This feed will consist of content from creators the user follows or may want to follow, based on their previous content choices. Similarly, on "Shop," has updated the page by adding category filters in the navigation bar. These filters let users browse specific types of products on Instagram, including Beauty, Clothing, Home Decor, and more.

These new features began rolling out in the U.S. last week, and they will be coming to new areas soon. Instagram is already an excellent place to reach new audiences with branded content. These new updates will make the platform more valuable to marketers.

For more recent news about Instagram, read this article on new shoppable pins on the platform.