4 new features coming to Instagram

The F8 conference held in April and May announced some of the biggest changes about to happen in the world of social media.

Here we take a quick look at what is on the Instagram horizon and highlight what you need to know.

  1. Hiding ‘Likes’ - Is Instagram really about to shake things up?

Instagram is officially testing the removal of ‘Like’ counts in Canada. It’s a bold move to make the platform more about the sharing of authentic content and less of a popularity contest with each other.

We’re all guilty of watching those little hearts and the number of ‘Likes’ pour in to see whether or not our latest post was a hit. Guilty here too. However, as we always say, focussing on ‘Likes’ alone is never the right goal - engagement with your community is the true measure of success. So, if Instagram rolls this out it will be a good thing right?

Instagram are only just testing it at this point to see if the removal of ‘Like’ numbers helps make the platform a less “pressurised environment” for users in their fight against bullying.

On stage at F8, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced: “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they get on Instagram, and a bit more time connecting with people they really care about.”

“As you scroll through your feed, there are no like counts. You can see who liked a photo or video, you can tap through it, if you have the time you can add them all up yourself, the owner can see how many people liked the photo but only if they ask.”

We will watch this space with interest. Follow #F82019, the Facebook Developer Conference to join the conversation.

  1.  A Creator Profile - Is switching the right move for you?

Creator profiles are coming to Instagram, what does this mean for you and should you switch?

Though it is not yet available to the public (currently in beta testing), this is one for the Influencers out there to sit up and take note.

Similar to business profiles, Instagram creator profiles will offer up the exclusive use of extra features and analytics, but this new profile type has also been equipped with a few more tools specifically suited for Influencers. BUT. There will be some differences between the two.

Creator profiles will have access to a new Creator Studio on desktop. Along with the usual Instagram Insights, there will be a wider range of metrics - demographics, audience activity, engagement statistics. Also, in breaking some new ground, the Creator Studio will also show follow/unfollow data to gauge what content is really working and engaging your followers (and what isn’t).

In the influencer world, the inbox can become a real thing of overwhelm, a place where a tidal wave of DMs sit and await a reply. This is a great thing (mostly), you’re in demand, but it can also be a tricky one to manage. Under this new profile, creators will get more filtering options - prioritise messages (from friends or brands), rank in order of time or relevance to stay on top of requests. Still not keen on DMs? As an influencer, you will now be able to select an alternative “preferred” method of contact - text, call and email will also be on the list of options.

All of these new features are about giving you more control to filter messages so you can spend your time wisely, responding to those you’d prefer to work and interact with.

Sounds good! Now for the downsides to switching…

The creator profiles aren’t connected to the Instagram API. Hmmm, frustratingly this does mean you won’t be able to use third-party tools for analytics and you won’t be able to schedule posts automatically. For some, this may be a deal breaker, for others just a workaround.

And, while there’s no confirmation just yet, it’s likely that the creator profile will only be available to influencers with the golden 10K followers.

It’s a sit and watch for now, and then you can decide whether to take the leap.

  1. New camera features for Instagram Stories

Some of the biggest announcements at this year’s F8 conference were for Instagram Stories. With Stories set to overtake the newsfeed and over 500 million active users, at the April conference this year, they announced two new features for Stories. A revamped camera design and a new camera mode called ‘Create Mode’.

The new Camera Mode has been designed to make finding all the whizzy creative tools much easier, with a new semicircular mode switcher.

In the new Camera Mode you will be able to swipe right to access the various shooting tools (familiar ones like Rewind, Superzoom and good friend Boomerang). Swipe left and you’ll instantly have all the Instagram Stories tools at your fingers - Text, Stickers, GIFs.

And. What is this ‘Create Mode’ I hear you say?! This new feature will mean you can create a story without having to upload a photo or video first. Perfect if you just want to share a graphic, poll or some text.

We will have to wait a short while longer to have a play around with these features. There is no set date confirmed just yet, but we will be looking out for these new options and will let you know as soon as they launch.

  1. Influencers can now become direct sellers with new shopping tags

There is a new shopping tags feature being rolled out and it could be a real be a game changer in the way influencer marketing works.

Influencers will now be able to drive purchases directly via Instagram with dedicated shopping tags. Until now, influencers have had to use their bio or swipe-up feature on IG Stories to promote products, with any related sales being made outside of the app.

These new shopping tags, now mean influencers can become direct sellers for the brands they work with. Whilst Instagram hasn’t yet created a revenue-sharing option within their checkout, Instagram will be offering shared insights within the platform. This information is gold, the creator and the brand can measure the performance of these sales posts and negotiate their terms on equal knowledge.

This new feature is still in beta testing and is only available to small group of creators at the moment.

Once rolled out across Instagram, it will be up to influencers and businesses on how they work together on campaigns with this new feature. Both parties will be able to measure the success of campaigns, with more much more detail around ROIs.

Thoughts?! We often talk about how Instagram isn’t a direct sales tool, but this new feature does have its place in the right frameworks. Our tips would be to explore whether this new feature will work for your community and choose your influencers/brands carefully. Spend some time understanding the influencer/brand and identify if they have an audience that is accepting of direct selling and product promotion. As always, transparency and authenticity is key.

There's more...

Other new features announced are the Spark AR Studio - create your own Stories filters, the donation sticker, Instagram Explore

Some features will be launched in the US before, being rolled out to the UK and across the globe.

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June 01, 2019 — Keira Ridel