Instagram and many other social media platforms often make changes to keep the platform as user friendly as possible. Of course this is per their own surveys, and decisions are made accordingly.
There has been a lot of talk about a HUGE change with Instagram regarding LIKES, well that’s not the only change Instagram made in 2019. Let’s check out the rest!
I want to make sure you are prepared for 2020 by knowing the changes Instagram has made in the past year, and prepare you to work with these changes!
Let’s RING in the NEW YEAR with a great SOCIAL MEDIA strategy that works with the changes of INSTAGRAM!
It is said by just about every optometrist that I know that if a person has 20/20 vision, they are said to have “perfect vision”, right?
As we prepare to go into 2020 in just a few weeks, I want every single one of you to go into the new year/new decade with a CLEAR VISION of what it is that you want to accomplish with your business.
So, in this article, regarding the changes of Instagram in 2019, I am going to go over some of the biggest UPDATES.
We’re going to take a look at these Instagram updates, and go forward keeping these new Instagram features in mind as we plan our social media marketing strategies for 2020.
I will be perfectly honest and say that it is very seldom that a week goes by without Instagram updating something (or some THINGS) on their platform. It can actually be pretty difficult to keep up with all of the Instagram updates. To keep it easy, what I’ve done here is created a list of the most impactful and important new Instagram features that were launched in 2019.
Ok, are you ready? Let’s GO!!!
(Image Source: Social Media Today)
Let’s go over each of these Instagram changes in detail:
February of this year was when the first majorly impactful update was added. Instagram made the announcement that they would simplify the process of discovering IGTV (Instagram TV) content, as well as making it easier to watch. It began to allow the option of uploading IGTV video, and for the first 60 seconds of that IGTV video to be viewed in the news feed/home feed as a “preview”.
This served as an “alert” to followers. Once the 60-second preview ended, the video automatically paused and gave the viewer the option to continue watching the full video on the IGTV platform. This “Keep Watching” update elevated IGTV viewing figures through the roof! As a result of this massive increase in viewership, the IGTV platform became a more practical workable channel for brands. This HUGE SHIFT started a massive upward trend in the IGTV platform’s popularity!
Then in March, Instagram officially rolled out another super-cool feature called ‘Checkout on Instagram’. This feature allowed users to instantly — and safely — make a purchase right there in the app.
Initially, ‘Checkout on Instagram’ was only made available to selected brands’ shopping posts. The ‘Checkout on Instagram’ button would take a patron/visitor to a payment screen, without ever having to leave the IG platform. This not only lent credibility to the merchants and a sense of security to the shopper (especially first time shoppers on the platform); it also streamlined the buying process. Instagram, of course, charged a nominal fee for each transaction they facilitated, but it proved to be worth it, and a win-win for all parties.
Needless to say, this feature proved to be very convenient, and we all know that people place a very high value on convenience, and so they are glad to PAY for it.
The next major update I am going to mention here is one that launched mid-year, in June of 2019. That unforgettable game-changing feature is the “paid partnership” tool. This feature provided brands with a simple, easy way to turn influencer posts into ads. This tool was designed to help influencers reach a broader audience across the spectrum. Presenting their content to users on the IG platform who aren’t followers of their content. Each of these posts display “paid partnership” tags next to the name of the brand(s). This was another BRILLIANT feature.
And then, just one month later in July, Instagram decided to take something that they were “experimenting” with in one country, and they extended it to include about 6 more countries. This groundbreaking update is the one that I talked about in this recent article.
The platform began to hide the TOTAL LIKE COUNT on posts. They hid the likes from public view, and made them available ONLY to the user who posts the content. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri made it clear that they “don’t want Instagram to be a competition”. Of course, there were (and there still ARE) mixed reactions about this decision, which eventually led to the experiment being extended to the US in October. For more in-depth details about this topic, make sure to go back and read this article, if you haven’t already.
Along with a number of other changes and developments along the way, as the third quarter of 2019 came around, yet another feature was added to IGTV in September of this year — Branded Content tags.
(Image Source: later.com)
With creator permission, businesses now became able to use ads manager to promote branded content as an Instagram feed or stories ad. !!*Businesses were now able to promote organically branded content posts as not only feed or stories ads on the platform; with more and more content creators using the IGTV platform to post longer videos.*!! It pretty much gave way to a natural progression. The paid partnership with tags now became readily available for IGTV content, giving marketers a simple and transparent way to access the IGTV channel and it’s ever increasing multitude of users.
Also in September of this year, as reflected in the above infographic image, it was also announced that Instagram had begun to place new restrictions around cosmetic surgery and diet promotions. They made it clear that their primary concern was to support the well-being and mental health of their users, thus at this point the platform would now begin to restrict and hide these posts from all users below the age of 18.
And now in conclusion, here are the October updates:
Recognizing various brands’ use of Instagram to hype up the launches of new products, the channel introduced an update taking it a step further. The new ‘product launch sticker’ could now be added to their IG Stories, and would allow users to set a reminder and receive a push notification once the product became available for purchase. In the past customers would have needed to have set their own reminders. (Once again, another convenient feature making the user experience easier and even more pleasant on the platform.)
October was also when Instagram decided to take the plunge into the world of AR (Augmented Reality) ads, and they launched a new ‘tap to try on’ ad option. This interactive element was initially tested with select brand partners: the ads for Nars, RayBan and Michael Kors added this new element where user’s could effectively “test out” their product. This progressive ad option will now be expanded beyond beauty and eyewear brands, and is expected to assist retailers in maximizing customer engagement, while helping users make buying decisions faster, thus increasing conversion.
To wrap October, Instagram also provided businesses with new customizable story templates for Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Just in time for the holiday period. The pre-designed templates can be customized with color, music, and call to action effects, and can be accessed via Facebook Ads Manager. Perfect for smaller brands looking to up their content game.
Okay! So there you have it!
The top 7 (or so) Instagram Updates of 2019.
Familiarize yourself with them. Learn them. Use them. Monitor them. Master them. Carry on this new knowledge and these new tips and tricks into 2020 so that you’ll stay ahead of the game and be head-and-shoulders above the rest!
I hope that you enjoyed this…so now I ask:
What’s YOUR Vision for 2020?
See you in the next article.