You are keeping us on our toes this year, aren’t you?
From overlays to stories stickers and the decision to test hiding likes, Instagram has had us working really hard to keep up. Every year we read about the latest design trends and “new best times to post” (Later analysed 12 million Instagram posts and found that the best time to post on Instagram is between 9am-11am EST).
Yet Instagram released some juicy updates that you may have missed (I would not blame you either, giving how often things seem to change at the Instagram HQ!)
Instagram hack: Facebook’s Page inbox
With Facebook’s new unified Pages inbox, you’ll be able to respond to messages from both Facebook Messenger and Instagram. Once you get access to the feature, you’ll see options for both “Messenger” and “Instagram Direct” when you open your Facebook Pages inbox (social media today)
The New York Times recently reported on Facebook’s goal to build a deeper integration between Instagram Direct, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp — possibly bringing all three under a single roof.
You may already know that you can respond to comments via your Facebook page when you act as a business account, but did you know you can also respond to DMs? (mind-blown emoji alert)
Is Instagram really hiding likes?
As reported from F8 2019, Instagram is officially testing hidden likes with a percentage of users in Canada. Zuckerberg said as much during his keynote, stating “We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people.”
Being able to step back and create content for the sake of creating content, rather than for the likes and the reach can also positively impact our confidence and mental health – instead of clinging onto the numbers as much as before.
The truth is, Instagram hiding likes means we can focus more on the quality of your content and overall engagement, over one single number.
Read more about Instagram hiding likes in this article.
The new Explore Tab
You must have noticed by now the new and improved explore tab, integrating both shopping and IGTV. TechCrunch reports that brands will now get another way to be discovered by new audiences through their Stories. The Stories you see on Explore will be personalized based on your interests and the accounts you follow.
As explained by Instagram:
“When you go to Explore, you’ll now see a newly designed navigation bar, which features shortcuts to IGTV and Shopping followed by topic channels tailored to your interests, such as Food, Art and Travel. “IGTV” and “Shop” shortcuts are pinned to the front of the bar, making it easier to find products and videos from brands and creators you love.”
Recently, Instagram announced that it’ll soon start placing ads within the Explore page, which is where users go to discover new content that lines up with their interests. The ads won’t appear on the Explore grid itself, but they’ll appear once a user taps on an Explore post and begins scrolling through that discovery feed (the Verge).
Feature alert: AR spark Studio
If you’ve already jumped headfirst into filters on Instagram, you’ll be happy to know that soon anyone will be able to create their own Instagram Stories filters! One of the biggest announcements at this year’s F8 conference is that Facebook’s Spark AR Studio (the software that brands and designers use to create Instagram Stories filters) will soon be available for everyone, including both Mac and PC users.
Up until this point, only select designers and brands in the closed beta could create their own custom AR filters for Instagram Stories. But now that Facebook has opened up Spark AR to more platforms and developers, we expect to see plenty of brands and businesses getting creative with AR effects in the future.
Watch out, Rihanna!
Feature alert: IGTV landscape videos
Instagram has announced that its long-form video format, IGTV will now support landscape videos. The company has taken this step to allow creators to have more flexibility with how they create content. Earlier this year, Instagram started allowing IGTV videos to be shared on a user’s feed leading to a considerable rise in views for many creators, The Verge reported.
Trend alert: Instagram Stories Stickers
From the newly launched AR Studio to the upcoming donation sticker, there are plenty of ways for you to engage with your audience using Instagram Stories. Aside from the content itself – which can be a mix of candid shots, graphics, and video content – stickers are a fun and powerful way to use your stories.
Check out our ultimate guide on how to make the most of stickers for your account.
There you have it!
A list of some of the key changes from Instagram, hacks and features. Is there a feature you are particularly excited about? Let us know in the comments.
If you are looking for more support with your Instagram account as well as practical hacks to grow it, check out our four-week Instagram challenge