Instagram never fails to surprise us, but right now it feels like a black hole trying to keep up with the updates to features and algorithms. To help you stay up to date, we’ve pulled together some of the biggest updates (in our opinion), what you need to know, and how to prepare yourself for the change.
Firstly: What are the latest Instagram updates? And what do you need to know?
The 9:16 feed layout
Instagram’s CEO announced that they are testing a new immersive home feed which essentially means they’re going to make video a priority but both photos and images are going to have a taller format. The aim is to learn how people prefer to interact on mobile and if this format is proven better for mobile-first experiences. Given the success of TikTok, some may say this thought process has been somewhat influenced by competition…
Instagram has very kindly introduced reel templates which help content creators and brands easily create reels without the time-consuming editing process. With templates you can quickly copy timings for an existing reel, saving tonnes of time (and effort). See a reel you like? Hit “use as a template” and this will allow you to replace the clips with your own videos and photos, matching the time stamps for you – 10/10 approved by us.
Instagram is currently working on a feature which will hide excessive story posting. Those who have longer than a 3-frame story will be hidden, so users will only see the first three stories uploaded. To see the other stories, they’ll need to hit ‘show all’. The update could be useful in terms of helping users see more updates from more friends and family however for content creators, it’s probably going to do more harm than good in terms of engagement.
In April, the head of IG announced that content is now prioritised based on originality saying, “if you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than re-sharing” This is a good experience for users as they’re getting a variety of content rather than the same content shared and shared again however defining originality can be quite tricky and it seems it will change over time depending on the testing. Some of our favourite original content ideas include a day in the life, behind the scenes, before and afters and venue/office tours.
Ultimately, Instagram’s goals are to not only create the best user experience but also to keep us hooked, engaged and wanting more.
Our top tips for brands based on the above are to start batch creating video content now, use reel templates to help with this and showcase your brand personality through before and afters, behind the scenes and office/store/location tours.
Secondly: What to do when the algorithm changes?
Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re aware that reel glitches, the new feed layout and testing hiding excessive story posting are all frustrating, but there is still a place for this channel in your marketing strategy and we want to tell you why:
- Community building is KING. Stories and DMs are so powerful and unique to Instagram and whilst we totally appreciate TikTok offering up these features, people don’t use them the same way they do on Instagram.
- Brands are still paying content creators so if you’re an influencer or content creator wanting to monetise your account, brands are still more than willing to pay on this platform so don’t miss out on the opportunities.
- There are more than 1,000,000,000 users on here, so don’t tell us the app is dead!
Whilst there’s been a number of updates in recent weeks, we’d recommend businesses to continue posting insightful, educational, and inspiring content to your audience. Show up and more importantly, don’t give up.
If you have any questions about social media marketing, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you would like to know how we can help with your paid social, click here.