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Six Instagram Updates You Need to Know About

Changing user behaviours during the pandemic have seen social media companies seize the opportunity to innovate, offering more features and formats than ever before in a bid to entice users to spend longer on their platforms.

Our senior social media strategy director, Alex Mansell, takes a look at the latest Instagram updates to launch and the opportunities these present to brands:

1. Native Stories Scheduling

This long-awaited feature is finally being launched by Facebook, allowing brands to schedule Facebook and Instagram Stories via Facebook’s Business Suite. Unfinished Stories can also be saved to drafts. This update will offer much more flexibility to businesses looking to get the most out of their Stories content, and remove the constraints of the real-time options currently available. We can’t wait!

2. Remix

Inspired by TikTok Duets, businesses can now use Remix to react to other creators’ Instagram Reels, provided they are public. The feature offers a new way for users to engage with and showcase each other’s content, and will work well for brand collaborations.

We look forward to using this for any partnerships between our clients and influencers – watch this space.

3. IGTV Ads

Instagram is currently testing IGTV ads with a select number of creators. Adverts of up to 15 seconds long will appear when users click on IGTV previews from the feed. This will provide a new revenue stream for brands, with the aim of increasing IGTV’s appeal.

Instagram says: “Long-form video makes it even easier to tell your brand’s story, connect with your audience and reach more people.” We know video is key for any social platform and it will be interesting to see how long brands will be able to keep viewers watching with this new format.

4. Live Rooms

With events, shows and meetings cancelled, live formats have provided an excellent tool for businesses during the pandemic. A year after Instagram Live exploded on the platform, the channel has launched Live Rooms, which enables live broadcasting with three people.

The opportunities for this new feature are vast. For businesses, this will enable the hosting of more engaging Q&As or tutorials with communities. Live Rooms will also use other interactive features like Shopping, so buying experiences will be more exclusive and intimate.

5. Professional Dashboard

Reporting features have been limited on Instagram…until now. Instagram has launched the Professional Dashboard, which not only enables brands to track account performance, but also provides tools to grow the business as well as educational resources, empowering users to get the most out of their account.

6. Instagram Stories Vertical Feed

Instagram developers are testing reorienting Stories into a vertical, rather than horizontal, feed. If implemented, instead of swiping left, viewers swipe up to view the next Story. The user experience would emulate Instagram Reels and the TikTok viewing experience. The reorientation could lead to further changes, including integration of Stories and Reels into the Explore feed or Reels tab. This is definitely one to watch.

The author: Alex Mansell is a senior social media strategy director at WPR, who specialises in using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep clients ahead of the curve when it comes to social media marketing.