Happy July everyone! We don’t know about you, but we are wondering just where the first half of 2022 has gone? In this month’s Sparks we wanted to have a look at all of the updates and changes that Instagram has thrown our way over the past month, what those changes mean for you and your business and how you can make the most of them.
Immersive Experience Home Screen
The new Immersive Experience Home Screen on Instagram sent a shiver down the spine of digital marketers and creators alike when it was announced. It looks like, once again, Instagram has taken a que from Tik Tok and decided to introduce a full screen format. This means that soon your Instagram home screen is going to be full screen, like it is at the moment when you look at stories on the platform. Instagram initially made this announcement on their Creators page stating that as it stands “20% of time spent on Instagram is spent watching Reels”, so to facilitate this Instagram has taken the action to change from its traditional 1080×1080 format to a 9:16 aspect ratio. Instagram states that this will help businesses and creators grow audiences by recommending your content to people that don’t already follow you. Only time will tell if this is will actually work as the new format is still being tested across a select number of profiles. But who would have thought that Instagram, the reason that square photos became so popular, would abandon them for full screen video!!
Another update that Instagram rolled out in June was Grid Pinning. What this means is that you can now pin your best performing or your favourite post to the top of your Instagram profile. This is a great opportunity for businesses to keep their most popular products or services or their latest launch at the top of their profiles so that it is the first thing that potential customers see when they visit your page. All you need to do to pin a post to the top of your profile is follow the below steps:
- Go to the post you want to pin,
- Tap the 3 dots in the top-right corner
- Choose ‘pin to your profile’
You may also be asking yourself where you’ve seen this idea before and we hate to say it but this is another idea, aesthetically, that Instagram is “borrowing” from Tik Tok, I mean I know they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but this might be taking things a little bit too far?
Updates to Reels
There were also some very exciting changes that are coming to Reels that were announced. Starting with, the length of Reels which was extended from 60 seconds to 90 seconds. This means that you will have even longer to get your message across to your audience, whether that’s a new product announcement, a services update or just telling the story behind your business, having longer Reels is a great addition to the platform, especially if, as we mentioned earlier, Instagram is shifting its focus to be a more video focused platform.
Another much welcomed update to Reels is the ability to upload your own sounds to use in your Reels. This feature has been heavily requested by creators in particular for quite a long time now. This new feature allows users to record any sound that they want and use it as the audio on their Reel. This is especially useful as you can now record voiceovers and use them as the audio for your Reel, this is a great idea for businesses to show their customers a sneak peek behind the scenes of their business, show how products are made or a typical day in the office.
Instagram are also hoping to make Reels a more interactive experience for users by introducing the ability to include the quiz, emoji slider and question box features that was previously exclusively available on Instagram stories. This new feature means that creators and businesses will soon be able to make their content even more interactive for their followers. It will be great in terms of getting live, in the moment feedback to new launches, potential products in development and more, it will give businesses the chance to do even more market research on their socials so that they can cater their offerings even more to their customers.
The final update to Reels is that from now on any time that a user uploads a Reel the autogenerated captions will be automatically added to your video. This is a sign that Instagram want to make the platform as accessible as possible for any and all users. To make the autogenerated captions experience more fun and exciting Instagram are also introducing AR caption effects like speech bubbles and text message boxes.
Instagram also announced that it is testing a new “Creator Marketplace” platform (we know it sounds very similar to a platform launched by a certain app beginning with Tik and ending with Tok). This new feature will facilitate the communication between creators and apps on the Instagram platform to set up collaboration opportunities. According to Instagram the goal of the Creator Marketplace is to allow creators to indicate their interests and filter brands that they would like to work with and are suitable for their audience. From the brand’s perspective, it will help brands to easily discover, connect and collaborate with creators who suit their brand message and have an overlapping audience. To make all of this happen, the below steps need to be followed:
1. Creators Define Their Interests
Instagram creators will be able to select up to 10 interests and items that will qualify the profile of the creator. These interests should be reflective of the type of content the creator posts and their audience demographics. The Instagram algorithm will then determine what creator’s profiles match the criteria that a particular brand is looking for.
2. Collaboration Opportunities
Based on the creators suggested by the algorithm to a business, brands will then have the opportunity to projects to selected creators all within the app and through a simple message, that will now appear in a new, specific inbox on a creators profile. The creator will then be able to view the proposed project details, including the payment rate and decide whether to accept or reject the project.
And, of course, Instagram will process the payment for the project. This means that creators will receive their payment from a project through the Instagram app. Businesses will also need to process their payments to a creator the Instagram app if this is the method that is used to set up a collaboration.
The Creator Marketplace is still in the testing phase at the moment, with no indication just yet as to when the feature will be widely available or in what territories it will be available in, but of course we’ll keep you up to date on all of this information in the Sparks updates over the coming months.
Take A Break
Shifting the focus to wellness, Instagram are also launching a new “nudge” feature. With this feature Instagram will let users know when they have spent “too much time” looking at one topic on the platform and encourage them to explore new topics by suggesting 9 different posts that the algorithm thinks they will like. This new feature will be a great way of encouraging users to explore new topics and discover new profiles and businesses.
As well as this, Instagram also announced their new “Take a Break” feature. The “Take a Break” feature will allow users to schedule days and periods of time that they want to take a break from the platform and Instagram will schedule these times as times they can’t use Instagram. Instagram will also tell users when it thinks they have spent too much time on the platform and encourage them to take a break from the platform and do something else.
So, there you have it, it’s been quite the month over at Meta with all of these changes coming to Instagram, they definitely have their benefits but will take some adapting to that’s for sure! As always if you would like some guidance on all of these changes why not reach out to our Digital Dream Team to set up some social media training?
Do you need help with your digital strategy or have a specific topic you want us to cover?
If there’s anything you want us to cover in our future Sparks Roundups, or if you need help planning and implementing your digital marketing campaigns, just pop [email protected] an email, and we will be happy to get back to you.