This article had been contributed by John Noels.
The development team at Instagram update the application more often than some of us change our toothbrush. They are constantly adding new features, which is great news for marketers!
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, while the entire world is struggling to lead a normal life, Instagram looks in no mood to take a step back. The social media platform has always been in the news for updating the app and improvising algorithms, and once again, it has successfully managed to keep users on their toes. It seems like the past few months have been super busy for the developers.
Instagram made its debut in 2010 and has grown tremendously to become one of the most influential social media platforms. The application, which is now a family of 1 billion users, stands tall among its competitors when it comes to generating high engagement rates. The mobile application has become the mecca for creators, influencers and entrepreneurs, not to mention the ‘photogenic’ crowd. When such an ever-evolving application adds new features, it demands attention.
That said, it can be quite challenging for the common user to stay up to date with the latest updates. There have been incidences in recent times when audiences have failed to adopt new functions. The good news is, we’re here for you, Insta Users!
Here’s your chance to get an insight into the top 5 updates which Instagram has rolled out so far in 2020. This write-up will also provide step-by-step instruction for how you can use these amazing features. So, grab yourself a cup of coffee and keep reading!
A Sneak Peek into the Latest Instagram Updates
1. Instagram ‘Reels’ to Feature Short Videos
Facebook’s picture-sharing platform announced that it is experimenting with a new feature for sharing videos in short form. The tech giant said that it has roped in creators from Google’s YouTube and TikTok to add content to Reels. Reels, which had been tested earlier in France, Brazil and Germany, came onto the news when it made its Indian market debut.
The feature came after TikTok, a popular short-form video-sharing app, was banned by the Indian government because of its Chinese ties after tensions erupted between the two countries.
How Do You Use Instagram Reels?
The function will be a part of the Instagram app itself. Here’s how people can enjoy creating short videos.
Users can find the Reels option by landing on the in-app camera feature and shortlisting Reels from the different modes already present at the edge of the screen.
Users can then capture and edit a 15-second video using different tools, such as custom video, in-app music tracks, slow down or speed up parts of the video, or the ‘Align’ feature that lets them keep their position on the camera while capturing multiple cuts in a single video. There are also many virtual reality features on offer to make the video experience more fun and engaging.
The Reels videos will appear in a dedicated section on the Explore tab on Instagram. This decision was based on input from other countries’ content creators, who requested a separate space. Much like IGTV, users will also have their own Reels section on their profile where other users can find all of them.
2. Pin the Best Comments of Your Post
Instagram now allows users to pin their favorite comments on their own posts so that those comments appear at the top. This allows people to manage the comments on their Instagram pictures, videos, Boomerangs and more. The feature is similar to the comments pin on Facebook and the Tweets pin on Twitter. Instagram’s pinned comments provide a good way to attach follow-up information to a post.
For example, you could post and pin an update for announcing a giveaway winner (provided you’re doing that sort of thing on Instagram). Pinned comments can be particularly helpful in circumstances where an influx of negative or offensive feedback is being posted. Users can pin a positive message to the top of their post and hide the negativity. Moreover, this update will also prove to be a great marketing tactic.
How Do You Pin Comments on Instagram Posts?
- Launch the app and go to one of your posts.
- Read through the comments until you find the one that you want to feature on the top.
- Now, swipe left on the message and click the thumbtack icon.
- Instagram will give you a brief overview of how pinned comments work and will ask if you would like to pin a specific comment. Tap “Pin Comment.”
The comment is at the top of the thread now. You can pin up to three comments.
3. Short Video Ads on IGTV
IGTV hasn’t gained a lot of attention as an entertainment option yet. However, Instagram has consistently noted that it has options that can still make IGTV a bigger consideration for viewers and creators. IGTV’s ability to generate real, direct revenue could be a big lure for top creators who are already generating a source of income from YouTube and/or Facebook.
A lack of monetization tools on IGTV is seen as a major factor in it not being a bigger success. However, if it can manage to provide influencers with a new revenue source, this move will make IGTV significantly more popular.
There will be some form of eligibility criteria for IGTV monetization, but not much is known about this. One Twitter user suggested that there may be an option to add ‘Swipe up’ links to Instagram Stories from users with at least 10,000 followers and/or a verified account. This would make sense, allowing Instagram to set a benchmark to preserve the quality of the content.
One thing we do know is how Instagram will divide the revenue from IGTV advertising. The Verge reported that Instagram’s COO, Justin Osofsky, has stated that content creators will earn 55% of sales. This is consistent with Facebook and YouTube’s ad revenue sharing model.
4. New Paid Badges for Influencers and Audiences
One of Instagram’s stumbling points has always been that influencers have no means of making money directly from what they share or live stream onto the platform. They have only been able to make money via sponsorships and partnerships with companies.
Apart from the fact that a creator who does not want such collaborations is left with no real choices, leaving potential revenue in the hands of third parties often exposes upcoming creators who do not know any better to potential scammers, hackers and the like. Now, the countless makers of Instagram can start making a buck without dealing with these issues.
Introducing Instagram’s badges! When a follower wishes to help a creator actively, they can purchase a badge that will label them during Instagram Live broadcasts. Badge-holders will have access to a unique emoji and placement on the list of badge holders.
Although Instagram has been rather ambiguous on specifics, The Verge reports that Osofsky announced that badges will be available in packages ranging from $0.99 to $4.99. Osofsky added that Instagram will not collect a percentage on the initial badge test, but will do so once they roll out to more influencers.
5. Shopping Tags in Post Captions
While Instagram continues to focus more on e-Commerce, it is testing a variety of new, in-house shopping tools involving shops and shopping tag expansion. You may have already noticed these on some accounts during the testing phase.
Social media expert Matt Navarra (via Oriol Salvador) has pointed out that some Instagram accounts now have the ability to include product tags in their post captions, which will take you to a shoppable product page when clicked. Instagram has tested the feature with a small group of US accounts currently capable of using the checkout feature. It’s a cool feature, offering a new way to get Instagram users to click on your goods.
Businesses are already using shopping tags, which appear in post photos (see the image above), but this will effectively allow users to double-down, giving each post another clickable link.
But the expanded shopping tag feature isn’t yet widely available. If Instagram rolls out shops, we may see them more often. This may come as users get used to purchasing items from their feed.
How Do You Add Shopping Tags to Post Captions?
- Start creating a new post.
- Select ‘Tag Products’ on the screen from where you wish to add a caption.
- Select a brand from which you would like to show the items.
- Check for a commodity that you would like to tag.
- Click ‘Done’ when you are ready to post.
So there we have it – 5 features Instagram has already started to roll out. As we can see, 2020 has been a good year for the mobile application.
But will it be the best? Instagram’s development team is working on it. Rumors are swirling in the technology sector that the photo-sharing platform is leaving no stone unturned in giving users a better experience. Are you curious to know the predictions about what’s to come?
What Else Does Instagram Have in Store for Users? Instagram Future Predictions
If there is one thing that advertisers have learned the hard way, then it has to be this – social media platforms are constantly evolving. Active approaches of today are expected to become obsolete in the near future. This is why keeping ahead of Instagram’s forecasts is important for marketing teams. Never settle and keep taking advantage of new opportunities!
Not only does the app’s rising popularity paint Instagram in a positive light, but the numbers show a big ascent as well. E-marketer estimates Instagram’s monthly users to be 877.5 million in 2020.
Understandably, Instagram communities are a gold mine from a business perspective. Until now, brands had never been able to connect visually with their target audience to this extent. And the relationship between brand and customer continues to evolve. Instagram is the one networking platform with at least two years of steady growth ahead, according to the report below.
Improvement of Analytical Tools
Instagram has already rolled out a slew of data reports. All of these are located within the new feature, Insights. For both content creators seeking community growth and advertisers, it is a strong start.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of room for improvement. Currently, the Insights only just scratches the surface. The more visually appealing changes that Instagram introduces, the more companies are interested in activity monitoring and what exactly produces revenue.
Instagram needs to focus on its in-house business infrastructure before a more ambitious growth strategy is put in motion. Instagram’s 2020 forecasts include an emphasis on growing tools. Picture longer data collection periods (currently, Insights only offers 7 days of analytics), data history, result interpretations, hashtag tracking, best-performing posts and more.
Greater Awareness of Fake Followers
A community’s size is one of the main factors used to measure the quality of an influencer. Businesses, therefore, consider this number when curating their creative partner portfolio. Some influencers, however, have been lured by the concept of quick community growth. This has sadly caused an increase in fake followers.
Brands are losing money and interest in influencer marketing because of these bogus communities. As such, all forecasts on Instagram point to a trend toward false numbers. Industry agencies are developing tools that audit the audience and evaluate an account’s authenticity. Instagram itself is working on measures against mischievous accounts that claim to be something they are not.
Debut of Influencer Specialists
There are strong signs that influencer marketing thrives on Instagram due to its highly influenced visual environment. One of the assumptions about Instagram is that more and more corporations are beginning to search for influencer specialists. These people will be responsible for relationships between companies and content creators.
They will need to manage sponsored posts, master platforms that track social campaigns’ outcomes, host influencers’ events, exercise the latest trends in social media and much more. This means that the market is about to become more dynamic than ever before. A designated individual who focuses purely on perfecting influencer campaigns can increase the stakes for others. Brands that do not intend to invest in these staff positions will be left behind.
Introduction of AR Filters
Facebook has already revealed plans to open its Spark AR Studio to all Instagram accounts. Such a move will have a significant effect on users, creators and the business community as a whole, and will take Instagram predictions to a whole new level. Folks, brace yourself for Augmented Reality (AR) content! Users can instantly wear their favorite superhero masks, try clothes from their home’s comfort, change their hairstyles and check new makeup shades, all with their Instagram camera.
Any company will be able to expand its reach to AR. New camera effects involving your brand identity will create memorable moments, enriching brand awareness. The buzz that anyone can create with AR filters will lead the way to attracting true Instagram followers. People can see who the maker is by using a new AR filter and viewing their profile. If the effect is sufficiently appealing, users of filters can choose to follow the maker.
Users should foresee a noticeable metamorphosis based on these Instagram predictions for 2020. The platform is already gaining momentum and is planning to mix social media with a unique visual shopping experience, video content, digital marketing and a standalone ad channel.
About the Author: John Noels is a full-time academic writer working at Instant Assignment Help. The 35-year-old book lover is an MBA graduate providing online assignment writing services.