Instagram Local Places


The Opportunity
Instagram is a visual first platform with over one billion users worldwide. The abundance of recent, high quality photos of places uniquely positions it against its competitors.

Competitors are trying to drive creation of user generated content. However, mental models have already been established and people use other platforms only to view details such as hours of operation and location.

Our team heavily leaned into Instagram’s advantage as the go-to platform for visual place discovery. We saw a great opportunity to differentiate ourselves from other local discovery / consideration services, thus we approached this space from a visual first perspective, as opposed to focusing on low level details.


The Product
We developed a visual first place discovery feature within the Instagram search tab. When on the Places section within Search, we surfaced categories of local businesses around the users current location.

The product was a feed of nearby places that highlighted user generated content. In research, we observed that people responded much better to user generated images as opposed to imagery from a business. They felt like they got a sense of what the place would be like in the real world, as opposed to a neatly curated grid of photos the business wants you to see.





The product was tested in Australia and did well in solving a real problem for people. Unfortunately, it didn't make it to a global roll out as Instagram began focusing on how it could simplify the app and reduce its features.

My Role
I joined this team after the initial version of the product had already been designed by Fred Fahlke. I took the project through to the finish line and edited the original version based on rigorous user testing as well as insights from our data scientist.

Some of the things I added to the product were; redesigning the places feed, redesigning place pages on Instagram, and improving consideration details for people who had high intent to visit a place.

For a deeper dive of this project, please contact me.

Mark