7 New Instagram Features Affecting Brands and Creators
We live in the age of Instagram. What started off as a photo sharing app has now become a full-blown economy of influencers and businesses trying to create the best content to attract consumers. And it’s only growing from here.
Since January, the company has released a whole suite of new features—both big and small—that will affect brands and influencers alike. Here are 7 new features that are changing Instagram in 2019.
Updates relevant for creators
1. IGTV previews are available on the main Instagram feed.
If you haven’t been utilizing IGTV, maybe it’s time you start. Instagram is now helping creators gain more traction on their IGTV videos by putting previews in users’ feeds. With the tool, creators can share 1-minute previews on their profile when they upload a new IGTV video.
And it seems to be working. One week following the launch of this tool, IGTV views increased by 300-1000%!
2. Instagram may start hiding likes.
At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, the company confirmed that it is testing hiding likes on Instagram photos and videos through a pilot program in Canada. An Instagram spokesperson explained that they are testing this so that users can focus on the actual content being shared, rather than how many likes the photos and videos are getting. Some psychology experts believe that the move may also relieve many users of the pressure they feel to be at the top of the virtual popularity contest.
However, if this is rolled out more broadly, the influencer marketing industry may face some confusion. Because brand partnerships are typically based on engagements, removing likes may force brands to place more importance on other metrics, such as comment sentiment or quality of content.
Thankfully, Instagram recognizes the importance of creators in their ecosystem. That’s why the company is also pushing out other features, like the two below, that will allow creators to better pitch their value to brand partners.
3. Creators can sell products directly from their Instagram posts.
Following the announcement of potentially hiding likes, Instagram revealed that users with Creator Accounts will now be able to tag items and sell them directly to people viewing their posts and Stories. While the new feature currently doesn’t help creators make a commission on sales, it will help cut down the number of repeat questions that they receive about what they’re wearing, where to buy the products, and more.
The feature will also allow creators to see insights on their shopping posts, such as engagements and shopping insights, which may help them leverage better (and possibly longer-term) deals with brands.
Note: This feature is only available to a select group of creators so far.
4. Instagram is launching Creator Studios.
Creator Studios is another feature that will allow creators to see beyond surface level metrics on their own posts. The new Creator Studio Dashboard is a tab within the Facebook Creator Studio that will help creators keep track of various analytic metrics, such as their followers’ age, gender, and active status, as well as engagement statistics.
Similar to the insights on creators’ shopping posts, the new dashboard will provide useful data for creators to leverage when negotiating their partnerships with brands.
Updates relevant for brands
1. Brands can sell directly on Instagram without leaving the app.
In March, Instagram amped up their investment into shopping by introducing Instagram Checkout. With this game-changing update, users can tap on a product to look at the details and have the option to “Checkout on Instagram.”
Currently, the feature is only available to a select group of brands who pay a fee to use the checkout tool, but those brands are seeing fruitful results. In the first three months of this year, Adidas saw a 40% increase in their online sales year over year, largely due to Instagram Checkout.
2. Brands can now create Branded Content Ads.
Recently, Instagram launched a new ad type called “Branded Content Ads,” which lets brands sponsor posts created by celebrities and publishers and promote them as they would their other ad efforts.
Prior to this ad feature, brands could hire influencers to create sponsored posts, but the posts only reached the influencers’ followers. With Branded Content Ads, advertisers can easily promote influencers’ branded content just like they would any other ad. And now, the new ads blend in better with content on people’s feed!
3. Brands can insert interactive polls within Story ads.
A simple yet transformative update, Instagram’s new interactive ad feature gives marketers the ability to increase engagement and view time on Story ads. Now, advertisers can insert interactive poll stickers to encourage viewers to participate.
According to Instagram, 9 out of 10 beta campaigns boosted the number of 3-second video views. Dunkin’ saw a 20% lower cost per video view, and Next Games drove 40% more app installs. Other brands participating in beta campaigns explained that the poll sticker showcased their new products seamlessly and drove results that matter.