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How would you improve instagram?
0 votes
in Product Improvement by (20 points) | 2.3k views

4 Answers

+3 votes

Product Understanding

Instagram is a social media platform that allows users to share photos, videos, stories, and live videos with their friends/followers. It also enables users to talk to/ message people. There are various filters available that users can use to make their stories and post look better/ more interesting. It also helps brands run advertisements.

Problem Statement

Improve Instagram is a vague statement, there could be various things around which improvement could be required to increase revenue for the company, increase user engagement, increase retention. Here we'll try to solve for increased engagement


Users engage with Instagram with the following ways

1. Linking posts 

2 commenting on posts

3. Creating posts

4. Creating stories

5. Watching stories

6. Messaging people

We can capture an increase in these activities per day to see if the steps we take to engage users are working

User Profiles

1. Frequent Users - users who create posts/stories daily. Use the messaging service and like/comment on other people's post daily

2. Casual users - users who use Instagram daily but post only occasionally. They like other peoples post though

3. Lite users - Users who don't use Instagram regularly

We'll look at the issues that Frequent users face and try to solve them as further increasing their activity would lead to overall engagement on the app

User pain points

1. Users post regularly, they have to come up with witty/likeable captions for all their posts, which takes a lot of searching outside the app

2. They have hundreds of post and if they want to check some older post it takes a lot of time

3. They have to check other peoples post for inspiration and again it talks a lot of time to find a particular post they want to check

4. It's difficult to look at followers activity if one person went on a post liking spree, the users have to scroll a lot to see other people's activities. Browsing other people's activities helps people discover new content and like different things.

I would like to address the 1st pain point as it is directly affecting people's ability to post more, who are already willing to post more.

Possible Solutions

1. Create a catalogue of quotes from famous people, books, authors, poems and make them searchable by tags like beach, tree, vacation, moods. Make it available on the screen where users are prompted to add a caption to the image so users can find their favourite quotes within Instagram and don't have to look anywhere else

2. Give users the option to like captions for posts and allow people adding posts to look at the most liked / trending captions to draw inspirations

3. Get people to add location and tags to their posts and based on the tags, location, and the image use ML to suggest captions

Evaluate Solutions
Out of these possible solutions, solution 1 would give users the most diverse options for captions which they could also relate to the most and hence drive maximum engagement. 

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by (22 points)
+2 votes

Clarifying questions 

Let me start by asking a few questions.

Me: What are the users unhappy about ? Is it ability to add photos ? Apply filters ? Follow/Unfollow ? Add layouts on photos? Live Tvs ? Search functionality ? Finding relevant content ? notifications ? Too many spam profiles ? 

Interviewer : Spam profiles. 

Me - Does that mean users are followed by spam profiles or are they receiving spam messages or spam comments on photos?

Interviewer : Followed by Spam Profiles 

Goals - Instagram is a community of people, sharing memories in the form of photos and videos. Instagram is also a market place with seller side and buyer side.

Metrics - 1. Reduction of spam profiles on the platform 2. Overall NPS score by users

Users - Users can be segmented on the basis of usage - Frequent users who share and view content and spend X amount of time on the platform. These users engage more in terms of buying products and seeking experiences by following influencers. Casual users who post once in a while but mostly just view content. InActive users who dont share much about themselves but are on the platform on and off. 

Issues with the product - 1. Spam Followers (Spam - Inactive profiles following active users) 2. Scraping data and reselling to 3rd party 

We will focus on 1st problem here.

Solution - 

1. Define policies to identify spam profile. Use ML/AI to categorize them and delete them from the platform. 

2. Use data science to only allow upto 10 degree connections to be followed. For example - User 1 can only follow user 2 if they are within 10 degree of connections. (Exclude businesses from this)

3. Limit the number of 'follows' in a day (Assuming automated bots are used to mass follow active users)

Tradeoffs - All the solutions above can impact seo and growth. There's a possibility of legit profiles being categorized as spam. Identify a way for these legit profiles caught by the software to be put back in the pool.

Prioritize -

Number 1 - Bigger downside on seo and growth. Existing infra can be leveraged to implement technology. Medium implementation effort. Number 2 - Medium downside on seo and growth. Medium implementation effort.
Number 3 - Low impact on seo and growth. Ideally a user will never hit this ceiling. Medium/High implementation effort
Summarize - To receive relevant followers on instagram, we need to focus on reducing spam profiles on the platform. This can be done by defining max number of follows in a day and using ML Algorithms to implement this on all except business profiles. Resulting in overall quality profiles on instagram.
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by (24 points)

I am curious to understand why you would categorize solution 3 as a medium/high implementation effort. I would imagine it's relatively easy to implement a logic that limits the number of accounts that a user can follow in a day?

+2 votes


What is Instagram

Instagram is a mobile application that helps people quickly edit and share photos / videos publicly or to a pre-approved audience. They can also share images, videos, and other people's posts privately via direct messages. People can also share disappearing stories via Stories feature, watch long-form videos on IGTV.

User Categories

Instagram has three broad categories of users:

  1. Creators who share photos
  2. Consumers who like and comment on posts, or share them privately
  3. Advertisers that want to reach relevant audiences

Business Objective

Is the goal of our improvement exercise to acquire new users, drive more engagement among existing users, increasing revenue, or something else (like saying limiting Instagram use)? Let's say that our objective is to drive more engagement among existing users.

Specific User Segment

Let's assume we are focused on improving the experience for Creators because more photos by creators would allow consumers to consume more, which will drive other metrics of engagement. Creators come in various shapes and forms. They can be segmented by kind (celebrities, regular creators, brands and organizations), by frequency of use (high frequency posters and low frequency posters), by nature of users (new users, old users, etc.), by posting history (used to be frequent but not anymore, never posted, posts but has a lot of gaps between posts), etc.

Let's pick a regular user who is low frequency poster, an old user, has created some posts in the past but doesn't post too frequently. For this user, our goal is to increase the number of posts they create.

User Problems

To drive that, we need to understand why people post on Instagram and why they don't.

Why people post → why they don't:

  • Show off creativity → I don't feel I'm creative enough or click good enough pictures.
  • Share about life with their friends → My life isn't interesting enough.
  • To get likes and comments → I won't or don't get enough likes and comments.
  • It's a part of my daily life → I forget to post on Instagram even when I click a good picture.

User Journey

Clicking a good picture → Applying filters and editing the pic right → Adding captions and hashtags → Post → Get likes and comments

Possible Touchpoints and Solutions

At the creator end

  • Clicking good picture: When a user clicks a good picture, Instagram in the background can run some screening to pick really good pics and tell users to share them (possibly with an indication of number of likes or comments they'll get for such a picture).
  • Editing the picture: If users are confounded by which filter to apply, how to adjust - give an auto suggested set of edits (using AI) that the user can apply in one tap.
  • Adding captions and hashtags: Auto append relevant hashtags to a post based on whatever the post contains (#dogstagram for pics of dogs, etc.) and potentially give caption suggestions (Quotes, perhaps).

At the consumer end

One of the biggest drivers of posting on Instagram for creators is to get more likes. If that can happen, they will naturally be more incentivized to share on Instagram more frequently. So, we can add a couple of levers to make this more probable as well.

  • Setup a Rising Star leaderboard that shows best pics from new posters (in our cohort) so that they can get more likes from Encouraging Users.
  • Push out a notification to people who have liked or commented on this person's post or interacted with them a lot in the past so that they can like the post.

Prioritizing Solutions via RICE

  • InstaWorthy Pic Selector: 9 | 10 | 90% | 7
  • Filter Suggest: 7 | 8 | 75% | 3
  • Autocaptions and Hashtags: 8 | 6 | 70% | 4
  • Rising Star leaderboard: 7 | 8 | 80% | 4
  • Notification to drive engagement: I think it already exists

Metrics to focus on

  • Number of new posts per user per week in this cohort (North Star)
  • Clickthrough rates on InstaWorthy notification
  • Number of posts created with AutoSuggest Filters
  • Number of posts created with AutoSuggest Captions and Hashtags
  • Number of views per post on Rising Star leaderboards (compared to posts by same cohort not on the leaderboard)
  • Number of likes per post on Rising Star leaderboards (compared to posts by same cohort not on the leaderboard)
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by (34 points)
What is RICE?
RICE is a framework that helps with prioritization.

R => Reach: How many people is this likely to impact? (scale of 1-10)
I => Impact: What is likely to be the impact? (scale of 1-10)
C => Confidence in assumptions: Self-explanatory (Percentage)
E => Effort: What is the amount of effort required? (scale of 1-10)

R*I*C / E => The higher this numeric value, the more important the solution.
–1 vote

In the absence of clear objectives and outcome, I will hypothesize based on user feedback available on online communities and forums such as Reddit, that users didn't like the fact that their feeds didn't give…See more

I think your answer doesn't have the right structure. Have a look at the Interview guide on how to answer a product improvement question here https://productmanagementexercises.com/how-to-answer-a-product-improvement-question
Good luck!
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