February 16, 2023

Instagram is making moves to increase user engagement on the app by following the Facebook strategy of showing people their old content by adding a ‘Memories’ feature to the app.

The ‘Memory’ Story prompt is basically the archive feature that you all know and love, just repackaged in a different way. Once you tap on the Memory story, you’ll then be shown previous stories that you shared around this date. It’s like a time machine to your past.

I mean, let’s be honest, we all have that one cringe-worthy post that we want to forget, but for the most part, looking back at old photos and posts can be pretty fun. Plus, it’s a great way to relive memories and see how much we’ve grown over time (or not grown, in some cases).

The ‘Memory’ Story prompt is Instagram’s way of encouraging users to re-share their past stories. And, ideally, encourage more engagement within the app. It’s similar to Facebook’s ‘On this day’ prompts, which, let’s face it, is always fun to look back on and cringe.

The introduction of this feature is likely a sign that Instagram engagement is in significant decline. Back in 2015, Facebook was facing a crisis with overall content sharing dropping. Facebook’s solution to this was to pump more ‘On this day’ and memory prompts into user feeds, in order to spark nostalgic engagement and interaction around your past updates.

By 2017, more than 60 million Facebook users were visiting their personal “On This Day” page every day. That’s a lot of people trying to relive their past. The additional pushes sparked more engagement, but it also shifted the focus of Facebook towards a different type of content sharing, less aligned with the latest trends and updates, and more focused on friends and family.

Now, Instagram could be looking to lean into the same ideology. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has already acknowledged that personal sharing has switched from the main IG feed into Stories and DMs, and maybe, this is another way to lean into that behaviour, in an effort to maintain user engagement.

Instagram’s new ‘Memory’ Story prompt is a fun way to relive our past and hopefully, re-engage users to share more personal updates. But, only time will tell if it’s a hit or miss. For now, let’s just enjoy the cringe-worthy memories that Instagram has to offer.

About the author 

Sam King

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