A look behind Instagram’s 4 unpublished features that are going to change everything

Elliott Murray
3 min readMay 22, 2016
A look behind Instagram’s 4 unpublished features that are going to change everything.

It’s no secret that Instagram is changing. Acquired for a cool $1 billion 4 years ago by the Zuck, its functionality and ethos in that time have largely remained the same, it’s only in recent months that the high-contrast, filter-enabled water has begun to ripple.

Talk of an algorithmic timeline on Instagram was met with a tepid response — unlike Jack Dorsey’s blue bird problem child, there was no “#RIPInsta” uprising. What this, and the other subtle platform changes prelude, is Instagram’s move to a more monetisable platform. The undocumented features I’ve found, not yet active but soon to be rolled out, support this notion.

I discovered these undocumented insights after decompiling the latest Instagram application. Each of these are boolean variables, and are set to either true or false depending on the user. It gives a very interesting insight into the future features that Instagram will be offering:


Instagram, much in the same way Facebook currently does, will allow users (and more likely businesses) the ability to pay to boost their post’s reach across their network. Worryingly for businesses that have amassed sizable social audiences, is the prospect that this paid method of boosting may become the only way to efficiently reach followers, as many businesses found with their pages on Facebook.


Instagram’s Analytics Panel

Now this is an interesting one. Last week screenshots were leaked which showed what Instagram’s upcoming analytics interface will look like.

Clearly a paying user that utilises Instagram’s ad platform will gain access to these insights, but the fact there is a new label for organic_insights may suggest that regular users will have the ability to gain analytical insight into their post’s data. Twitter similarly grants regular users access to this information, and it would be a huge change to Instagram’s display of data if they were to allow regular user access.


You may remember when Facebook started forcing businesses to convert their regular profile accounts to pages. Facebook clearly wanted to differentiate between businesses and regular users, and up until this point Instagram has lacked that differentiation. The fact that this variable says convert suggests Instagram will soon begin encouraging or forcing some pages to migrate over.


Insight terms are typically the terms used when describing analytical insight data. For example, this includes; reach, impressions, views, engagement rate, clicks, likes, comments, etc. The potential to gain analytical insight into these areas would be huge for users with a serious social strategy.

This authors’ screenshot, displaying the undisclosed classifications used within the Instagram app

So there it is. Being on the cusp of drastic changes to the Instagram platform, it will be interesting to see the way these upcoming features and classifications affect the typical user experience. I would like to state this is not public information, and searching for these variable names online gives no results, suggesting few know about it.

This information is updated as of 22/05/2016

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Elliott Murray

Head of Innovation at @TheSocialChain Sculpting the future, one code line at a time.