Instagram announced some big changes as short-form video and shopping are prioritized in their latest update.
Instagram is notorious for constantly changing its user interface design and algorithm. Over the last decade, the social media giant drastically changed the way we create and share content. And with more than 1 billion users worldwide, Instagram makes sure to continually reinvent itself.
From IGTV to live streaming, it’s apparent that video content is at the leading edge of social media and content creation. In June, Instagram released its latest feature, Reels, in response to the rival app, TikTok. Reels allows users to record and edit 15-30 second videos, add audio, adjust speed, and use special effects.
It’s no surprise that video continues to be one of the most effective elements in digital marketing. Social media posts with video have 48% more views and generate 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. Video as a means of storytelling and advertising is no longer an option to consider — it’s a necessity.
On Nov. 12, Instagram released an update that radically changes the app’s layout, and is affecting the way users interact with the app.
The Latest Changes:
The new post and notifications tabs have been replaced with Reels and shopping icons. Meanwhile, the upload content and notifications icons have been moved to the top-right corner of the screen.
“The Reels tab makes it easier for you to discover short, fun videos from creators all over the world and people just like you. The Shop tab gives you a better way to connect with brands and creators and discover products you love,” Instagram announced Nov. 12.
How the Instagram Update Affects Users
Content creators and influencers have voiced strong opinions about the latest update, saying the algorithm and interface changes make it difficult to engage with their audiences and expand their reach. As many content creators and influencers rely heavily on Instagram as a source of income, they fear this update will negatively impact their relationships with brands and cast a shadow on their online presence.
Instagram is an essential platform for retail brands, with 200m Instagram users visiting at least one business profile every day. This latest update is a major win for small businesses and e-commerce stores, especially with the holiday season in full swing. The Shop tab is a great tool to highlight new product collections, curate shoppable videos, and find personalized recommendations.
For small businesses, this is the perfect opportunity to push sales, increase reach, and build out their e-commerce presence. Instagram Shop accepts payments from all major credit cards and has partnered with PayPal to make it easier and safer for users to shop.
Reels is a great video marketing tool for quick and easy engagement. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on video production and lighting because Reels videos are meant to be authentic and relatable. Just a quick 30-second video could produce thousands of hits on your profile and website. Still don’t believe the hype? The Los Angeles Lakers received the most engagement per Reel in the NBA, gaining more than 385k engagements and over 4.1m plays from a single video! Sounds like a slam dunk to me.
Instagram users will start to see a use-it-or-lose-it effect on their engagement and reach. If you’re not utilizing the latest tools and features, your profile is most likely to see fewer actions compared to the profiles that are posting frequently and actively following the algorithm.
How to Optimize Your Instagram Account and Beat the Algorithm
There have been many changes with Instagram’s algorithm, from favoring likes and comments to favoring shares and saves. The latest algorithm prioritizes short-form video, e-commerce profiles, and a mix of the latter.
In order to make the most out of the latest update, I recommend the following:
- Post frequently to your story and feed
- Post a variety of content (photo, video, Reels, IGTV)
- Utilize Instagram’s Insights tool
- Focus on niche-specific hashtags and content
- Boost posts that are performing well
What Will the Future of Instagram Look Like?
As the social media giant celebrates its 10th birthday, we can’t help but wonder what the future will hold for Instagram.
“We don’t take these changes lightly — we haven’t updated Instagram’s home screen in a big way for quite a while. But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too fast, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant,” says Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram.
There are a lot of mixed reviews from Rebels about Instagram’s latest changes. Some are considering no longer using it, while others are confused about how to leverage the latest algorithm update. Many are concerned if Instagram continues to drastically change, it will become a thing of the past. Remember the rise and fall of Myspace and Vine? It’ll be interesting to see what Instagram will be — or not be — in the next ten years.