Getting ready to step up your Instagram game in 2022?
Here’s a roundup of the latest news and features that the platform’s released over the last couple of months to keep in mind!
There’s a lot to get through so feel free to bookmark this article so you can refer back to it as much as you’d like.
Link Sticker Now Available for Everyone
Instagram caused an international flurry when it announced that – finally – all accounts will be able to incorporate a direct link in their Stories instead of directing people to a link in the account’s bio. This feature has been highly sought-after; previously, only accounts with over 10,000 followers were able to unlock a ‘swipe up’ feature that linked to specific websites or other accounts. The Link Sticker was an immediate hit when it was officially rolled out, which isn’t surprising since over 500 million accounts use Stories every day.
Instagram Branded Content Partnerships
According to TechCrunch, Instagram highlighted its dedicated to creators on its platform by releasing a series of tools that help them earn commissions and build partnerships. These include offering creators the opportunity to establish a digital storefront that allows them to earn affiliate commissions, allowing creators to create a preferred Brand List so they can be matched more efficiently with preferred companies and organisations, and a Partner-specific DM folder to ensure that no messages are lost or missed.
Instagram expanded on that with additional details, such as brands on the platform also being able to access specific data and user filters to identify the best creators for their campaigns. Additionally, brands can organise different lists to manage campaigns efficiently.
Creators and brands can also take advantage of new Reels ad features that allow for the creation of branded Reels ads using a creator’s tagged feed, stories and reels featuring the brand.
These new features are currently available for US-based users and brands, but it’ll be exciting to see how they’ll be used globally once they’re rolled out internationally.
You can now post to Instagram from desktop
If you’ve ever struggled posting to Instagram from the app or using a scheduling platform then this news is music to your ears.
You can post photos and videos directly from desktop by logging into your Instagram account through a browser. Previously, you could only access Instagram messages and updates if you logged in via desktop.
This is expected to make posting more efficient and user-friendly, since you’ll be able to post by directly uploading content from your desktop to your account.
Uploading 60 second videos now available
Instagram’s taking its rivalry with TikTok seriously. So seriously in fact that it’s copied most of TikTok’s popular features, the latest of these is the ability to post longer videos to Reels – up to a minute, in fact. It’s still behind TikTok’s latest announcement of three-minute videos but it’s expected that Instagram will announce something similar for Reels – and potentially Stories and Feed posts – too.
This benefits creators and brands alike, as well as ordinary users, because now it is possible to upload a single video without being concerned about having to edit it into 15 second chunks or being worried about how Stories would split it automatically. This means that people can enjoy your video content seamlessly.
New Metrics added to Instagram Insights
Instagram’s rolled out several new insights for Creator and Business accounts that provide a deeper dive into who is engaging with posts by splitting that information into three segments:
Accounts Engaged: This shows the total number of accounts that interacted with your content in any given time period.
Engaged Audience: This data provides demographic insights into the users that are engaging with your content, whether they follow your profile or not, including top cities, top countries, top age ranges and gender.
Reached Audience: Similar to Engaged Audience, this will provide demographic information about the people you’ve reached with your posts in a given time period, including top cities, top countries, top age ranges and gender. The difference is that Reached Audience is literally about who saw your post in their homepage or timeline whereas Engaged Audience is specifically about those who interacted with your post, whether it’s a Like, Comment, or Share.
These are useful because they allow Creators and Brands to observe what’s working and what’s not as well as whether posts are behaving in an expected way or if there are surprising insights that have emerged. These can then be used to take any necessary steps to adjust things to make sure that things are back on track to achieving the goals set for a specific post or campaign. Alternatively, the information extracted could be used to create new content or adjust current ones, depending on what’s required.
Currently, these new insight segments are being rolled out in a limited way but they’re expected to be available for global users in the near future.
Instagram Live Scheduling Now Available
This new feature is a great way to build hype for special announcements, product launches, discussions, and everything in between. The best part is that announcements can be made up to 90 days in advance and the countdown can then be promoted in both Stories and as a Feed post to build hype and awareness. You can also use it to encourage people to sign up for reminders and notifications so they don’t miss out on your Live event.
Instagram’s even announced that it’s releasing a new tool called Practice Mode that allows you to test your Live setup ahead of time to avoid stressing on the day about any technical or connectivity issues.
Instagram to alert users when app is down
You’ve probably experienced this more times than you’d care to count, which can be frustrating for all users but for those working within social media, it’s a nightmare scenario. When the app crashes, it can be easy to assume that there’s an issue from your side when in fact, it could be a technical issue from Instagram itself.
When such incidents occur, people tend to turn to Google or other social media platforms, typically Twitter, to find out whether it’s a platform-wide issue or not. Instagram’s rolled out a new alert to inform users about any issues.
It is currently being used for US-based users, but it’s expected to be rolled out internationally over the coming months. It’s anticipated that this alert will be rolled out to Meta’s other products: Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
IGTV and feed videos will now be one format
This is going to divide users into those who are happy about the new, single format and those who hate how this is going to impact their video creation process and output.
Regardless of how you feel about it, this merger is coming to your account sooner or later so it’s best to embrace it and start creating videos that can adapt to the new format. Instagram’s also announced as part of the update, it’s introducing new features such as trimming, filters, and people and location tagging to allow users to tweak videos to make sure that they’re perfect before being posted. It will also come with more detailed insights that will be useful for Creator and Business accounts.
Several IGTV things will remain the same though, including IGTV Ads – though these will be called Instagram In-Stream video ads – as well as monetizing opportunities for eligible users, and boosting videos, as long as they’re 60 seconds or less.
You Can Now Add A Reels Cover Photo
Since Instagram rolled out Reels and then gave users the opportunity to share them to their feed grids, accounts have been trying to figure out how to make sure that the Reels video looks like a natural fit on the grid.
Now, the platform’s given everyone a way to do that through allowing you to add a cover photo to your Reels video by simply selecting Next and going to the Share settings screen before tapping on Cover in your Reel’s preview page. Once there, you have the option of selecting a frame from your video or uploading a cover from your phone’s camera roll.
…. and that’s it
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of the roundup! It’s a lot to take in but take baby steps and you’ll be comfortable with these features in no time.
It is eye-opening though in terms of just how quickly platforms are moving and evolving, so don’t worry about feeling overwhelmed – we’re all trying to keep up to the best of our abilities.