4 Exciting Instagram Updates Every Business Should Know About

Fab Giovanetti

From the recent update that has seen its notification tab moving to the upper right corner of the screen, all the way to the introduction of Live archives, Instagram is proof that learning from the behaviours of your users is not such a bad idea after all.

Keeping up with Instagram can easily become a full-time job. From new features to updated layouts and options, the platform is constantly evolving due to its unparalleled popularity.

All right, Instagram, I’ll keep chasing you along.

Update: New Live archive and extended duration

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With live-streaming having something of a renaissance in 2020, as people look to replace their lost social interactions as best they can, Instagram has recently announced two new options to help users maximise their IG Live streams.

First off, Instagram is extending the time limit for its live streams from the current 60 minutes to four hours.

This feature can be incredibly beneficial for individuals and personal brands, especially ones looking to move more of their events online.

As Instagram stated

”This could help people such as instructors (yoga, fitness, schoolteachers etc.) who had to pivot to virtual classes, budding musicians, artists, or activists hosting discussions with fellow peers engage with their audience with no interruption from a 60 min time limit.”

As well a the extended duration, users can now also archive their IG Live broadcasts for up to 30 days. This means that past Live broadcasts will be easier to access, and you will be able to reuse that data if you are not looking to download your videos on your phone.

Instagram’s also looking to boost live content discovery by updating its “Live Now” section within IGTV and at the end of each live stream.

Takeaway: if are yet to tap into Live broadcasts, this is a clear sign from the Universe that you need to explore the format.

Update: new Reels tab

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A few months back, Shops and Reels started taking up space in our Explore tabs.

Most recently, both upgraded to their very own tabs. For both Shop and Reels this is huge — why is that, you may ask? Because it shows that Instagram is highly capitalising on both features.

What does this mean for you, as a brand?

Think about introducing more Reels content into your own strategy.

Very similar to TikTok in the look and feel, Reels is a great way to create 15 to 30-second snippets of videos. From introducing team members to FAQs and product launches, Reels are incredibly versatile in the format.

Reels is a new feature and could be the response to the growing popularity of TikTok — which has surged in popularity over the last 12 months. According to research data from AdWeek, the percentage of US-based TikTok users aged between 25-34 increased from 22.4% in January to 27.4% in April, while the 18-24 year-old bracket fell from 41.1% to 35.3%

Unlike Lasso, Reels is clearly playing on Instagram’s popularity and the familiarity of its users with features like Instagram stories.

Pro tip: Posting educational content is a great place to start, as well as feature highlights or even ‘meet the team’ style content. Fun and relatable is truly key.

Update: new Shop marketplace tab

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When it comes to shoppable feeds, it appears clear that the time has come to spend some time setting up your own shop.

In 2018, Instagram launched their shopping experience in the US, allowing business accounts to tag products in their organic posts, and soon rolled out in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Instagram shop is now a reality.

With more and more categories of businesses being added, as well as more and more integrations (outside of existing ones like Shopify and Etsy), Instagram is encouraging users to view the new shops' tab as a marketplace that collates all the products from brands users love and follow.

This seriously does not surprise me, especially after the rise in popularity of the Facebook marketplace.

Brands could truly benefit by setting up a product catalogue and tap into a frictionless shopping experience.

According to a recent press release, this drastic shift to e-commerce is a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggles it has caused for many businesses:

“Right now many small businesses are struggling, and with stores closing, more are looking to bring their business online. That’s why we’re launching Facebook Shops and investing in features across our apps that inspire people to shop and make buying and selling online easier.”

Watch out for: Live badges and IGTV ads

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Instagram is exploring new avenues of monetisation for Live and IGTV.

As well as being able to add links to your IGTV videos, creatives will now be able to monetise their IGTV efforts! Instagram broke the news that it’s finally rolling out updates that will allow creators to earn money directly on IGTV.

According to Instagram, the video ads will only appear when a user clicks to watch an IGTV video from the preview button in their feed. The ads will be mobile-optimized vertical videos and last up to 15 seconds long.

As mentioned in their announcement, Instagram plans to test IGTV ads with a small group of creatives and advertisers in the US and will expand slowly over time as they improve the experience.

In an interview with The Verge, Instagram’s COO, Justin Osofsky shares that those in the IGTV ad rollout will receive an “industry standard” 55% share of all advertising in IGTV, the same rate as YouTube.

Look out for new badges on Live broadcasts. The feature, which will allow creators to ask for donations in exchange for badges (similarly to Twitch) is rolling out to even more creators — which could be overall a great new revenue stream for individuals.

In addition to this, Instagram’s also expanding its IGTV ads beta to more creators in the US.

”We have been testing this over the past couple of months with a smaller group and will now begin to expand access on an ongoing basis.” (Instagram)

This could yet be another great way for creators and brands to collaborate, and for brands to make the most of dynamic ads on the platform.

Admittedly, keeping up with the platform and its updates can feel daunting at times, but the benefits of tapping into these latest changes ahead of the masses is that it will allow you to get a deeper insight into the latest changes.

My suggestion would always be the same — focus on the one feature you want to capitalise on, and spend time refining it to make sure it can work for you.

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