We’re closing in on the end of the year, but Instagram isn’t ready to slow down yet, and since we’re in the middle of the holiday marketing season, we hope that you aren’t either!
This month, Instagram has released some great new features that give businesses new ways to connect with their customers and give customers new ways to interact with the content marketers are creating for them.
We’ve also got a few great features in testing that are in the mix.
We’ve got the scoop on everything from IGTV video previews to a new big analytics that’s in testing, so let’s go through all the new Instagram updates and discuss what they mean for marketers and brands.
Instagram Cracks Down on “Inauthentic Activity”
Facebook has been leading the charge on improving transparency on the platform, and earlier this year Twitter made some big changes to ensure their platform was being used as it’s supposed to, opting for conversation over spam. Instagram is now joining the mix.
In a blog post they released this week, Instagram announced that they’re cracking down on “inauthentic activity” on the platform.
If you’ve purchased likes, comments, or followers, you’ll likely see those disappearing quickly, as they’ve learned how to better track down fake accounts and delete them immediately.
If Instagram detects this activity on your account, a few things will happen:
- They’ll remove all the fake likes, followers, and comments from your account. The social proof will all disappear.
- They’ll send you a message letting you know they’ve detected the activity and removed it.
- They’ll ask you to change your password and secure your account.
There’s no word on what happens if your account is deemed to be a repeat offender, so don’t panic just yet if you get dinged from bots that aren’t yours.
That being said, Instagram ended the announcement with a note to keep an eye out about further changes they’re making along these lines in the future.
New IGTV Preview in Stories
If you’re marketing on IGTV, then you may be happy to learn about this next update on Instagram.
Now, users are able to share previews of their favorite IGTV videos to their Instagram Stories.
When friends view the Story and tap on it, they can go to watch the entire video on IGTV. And yep, in case you were wondering, you can share your own content, too.
IGTV is a standalone app that also has a heavy integration with Instagram. Users can see when profiles they’re following have IGTV channels that just added new content, but right now some brands are struggling to get users over to the platform.
Since longer-form, full-screen mobile content is a good option to engage followers, make sure you’re using this feature to maximize the visibility of your channel if you have it and get as many people to see your content as possible.
Want to share your own IGTV video content to your Instagram Stories?
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
- View the IGTV video that you want to share.
- Click on that little paper airplane symbol in the bottom left-hand corner.
- Click on the “add video to your story.”
See? It’s as simple as that!
Instagram Expands Stories Ads to Facebook
This is really more of a Facebook update than an Instagram one, but we’re still covering it here.
Brands can now run Facebook Stories Ads the same time they’re creating Instagram Ads, reaching users in the same full-screen format on Facebook.
If you want to speed up your advertising and if Instagram Stories are working for you, enable Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories Ads at the same time during ad creation.
Instagram Rolls Out New Shopping Features for Customers
Marketers already have the ability to create Shoppable Posts and now Shoppable Stories. (You can check our past updates for information on these features and how to use them.) This isn’t changing, but Instagram users are getting some great new ways to interact with these posts.
The most notable of these changes is the ability to “save” products to their “Shopping collection.”
When users tap on a product tag in either Stories or their feed posts, they’ll see the option to save the product– not just the post.
Users can now essentially create a virtual wishlist that lives on Instagram and takes them right to your product when they’re ready to purchase.
It’s almost like an Instagram-Pinterest hybrid.
Instagram is also testing a redesign to business pages, so when a user checks out a brand’s page, they can see a list of clickable, tagged products that the business has active.
Users can see all of the products the business have available and browse, making them more likely to find what they’re looking for and increase sales.
While there aren’t any new features here for marketers, that’s ok. This adds importance to the Shoppable Instagram features we already have, making them more powerful.
If you sell physical goods and don’t have a Shoppable Instagram up and running yet, set one up. If you do, make sure you’re using it to its fullest potential.
Remember, 60% of Instagram users discover a new product on the platform; this is your chance to make sure they buy it, too.
In-Testing Features To Watch
Everything we’ve looked at so far has been confirmed and is either now available or will likely be available soon to many audiences.
The next two updates are still in different stages of testing.
While there’s a good chance we’ll see them at some point in the relatively near future, they may look a little different when they roll out to a wide audience.
Facebook Beta Tests Instagram in Analytics
Instagram has their own native analytics platform, but it’s nothing compared to Facebook’s in-depth insights. Fortunately,
Facebook is currently beta testing adding Instagram to their analytics platform.
With the new analytics platform, Instagram business accounts will actually go beyond metrics like engagement, clicks, and impressions to look at metrics like retention rates and lifetime values.
You’ll also be able to create audience segments and assess their value to you.
This feature is available in beta-testing right now, but you need to request access.
Promote Stories from Business Page
We already have sponsored posts, which allow us to quickly promote organic posts on Instagram so they can reach a wider audience without going through the full ad system. Soon, we may have promoted Stories, too.
Instagram recently confirmed that they’re currently testing this ability, which would allow business profiles to quickly boost their organic Stories for maximized reach.
They’ll be able to use the targeting criteria available through Instagram sponsored posts so that you’d still get some control over who is seeing the ad, though they’ll also be able to auto-target users similar to their current audience of followers.
Matt Navara snagged a screenshot of what this looks like in testing:
Instagram now lets you promote your Stories pic.twitter.com/ir3JEpw9IQ
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) November 1, 2018
This time of year in the chaos of the holidays, it’s more important than ever to be up to date on all the new potential features and Instagram updates so that you can stay competitive and beat your competitors.
The new shopping features for customers, in particular, are exceptionally valuable, so do what you can to make your Shoppable Posts as appealing and far-reaching as possible to maximize sales from the platform.
Use the other new features to connect with your audience in as many places and ways as possible, and get ready to hold on for the rest of the holiday season!