The Latest Instagram Updates and What They Mean for Your Marketing Strategy
October has been a busy month for Instagram, with platform updates introduced nearly every week. From easier posting to major developments in video, Instagram is doing everything it can to compete with the likes of YouTube and TikTok, but whether it’ll work remains to be seen.
Many of Instagram’s billion-plus users worldwide have been asking for essential updates to the platform and it looks like they’re ready to deliver. Now you just need to know what these updates mean for your marketing strategy.
Photo by Lisa from Pexels
Desktop Posting is Finally Here
Social media marketers have long been asking why Instagram has a desktop website when most of the app’s functionality is virtually nonexistent. Using scheduling tools like Later or Hootsuite becomes redundant when all they can do is send a notification for you to publish a post via the app at your scheduled time.
Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said himself in the announcement that desktop posting is “something we should have gotten to a long time ago.”
Well, it’s good news for social media marketers everywhere — Instagram has finally launched desktop posting. You can now visit instagram.com, click the plus sign in the top-right corner and post straight from the browser.
It’s as simple as that.
One of the best parts of this update is that you can finally post more content via your scheduling tools. You no longer have to fill your phone’s storage to the brim with content or be constantly on alert to post at any time of the day.
With all of your content from LinkedIn to Instagram scheduled all in one place, these tools can finally be used for their intended purpose and you can make your social media marketing process even more accessible.
Mary Walker, Social Media Specialist at Digital 22, said about this new update:
“Posting on Instagram has always been a bone of contention for social media managers, and desktop posting, in particular, has been a long time coming. There have always been ways to post to Instagram from a desktop, but all involved a third-party and were usually pretty lengthy.
“For our team in particular the ability to post carousels on a desktop will save us so much precious time and help to streamline our workflows. Keep those updates coming Instagram, the social media managers across the world thank you.”
IGTV is Gone Forever…Sort of
Source: Creators on Instagram
When Instagram announced its new video platform called IGTV, many people, whether they were social media experts or not, were sceptical. It seemed like a huge step forward that Instagram was delving more into long-form video content, but IGTV being in a separate app made the process clunky and more time-consuming.
In fact, research analytics firm Sensor Tower suggested that barely 1% of Instagram’s users downloaded the standalone IGTV app.
On 5th October, Instagram made the announcement many people saw coming: IGTV was gone.
Instead, Instagram is merging video feed posts with IGTV to create one video format called Instagram TV. All of which is available in a tab on your profile page next to your regular feed. These videos can now be 60 minutes long, with a 60-second preview on your main feed.
While this content may not be revolutionary for getting new followers, this long-form content is a great way to nurture your relationships with your current ones and provide more immersive storytelling.
Instagram themselves said in an announcement that this update would make finding your video content and reaching new followers easier. However, questions are still being asked about whether or not this is true. The only way to find out is by experimenting with your video content, which we, and many other experts, would recommend for your entire marketing strategy.
Tom Cross, Social Media Specialist at Digital 22, said about this update:
“If I'm honest, I'm not surprised to see IGTV has been scrapped. In fact, I'd go as far as to say I'm glad. I always found it jarring, as a user, to watch a preview of a video in-feed to then be directed to somewhere different in the platform to continue watching.
“Just keep it in-feed, in the main app. Instagram has been overcomplicating its offering for some time now and has gone through a bit of an identity crisis. I think this is a step forward in the right direction and I'll be interested to see how having videos up to 60 minutes in-feed will work for them.”
Introducing 60-Second Stories
Speaking of video — previously, video clips for Instagram Stories could only be 15 seconds long, which is why your longer videos may have seemed clunky or spliced together when you uploaded them to your stories.
Some marketers found their way around this by using third-party software to split their videos into these 15-second segments, especially for posting videos with closed captions that could get cut off or lost with Instagram’s method of splicing and putting them back together.
Now, you may be able to say goodbye to that software. App researcher Alessandro Paluzzi recently tweeted that he had found a notification in the back-end of the Instagram app alerting users to a new update allowing for stories to be up to 60 seconds long.
While this update hasn’t been officially confirmed by Instagram just yet, it wouldn’t be a surprise development. Adam Mosseri told Decoder in January this year that: “We’re looking about how we can — not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram — simplify and consolidate ideas because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”
Instagram Stories are great for businesses to use. They enable you to be experimental with your video content and provide a more personal day-to-day look at your company. This update also means you can upload entire Reels to stories and truly streamline your video content and your social media strategy as a whole.
Schedule your Lives up to 90 Days in Advance
Source: Creators on Instagram
One slightly unexpected update introduced in October was to Instagram Live. You can now schedule your live streams up to 90 days in advance, so you won’t have to post countdowns on your stories to remind your followers that you’re going live.
By swiping right onto the Live section on Instagram, you can now click schedule and set up the title of the live stream and its start time. You can then share this with your followers via Stories and Feed posts. From your posts, users will sign up to receive alerts about the live stream before it takes place.
An Instagram live stream is a great way to interact with your followers in real-time, and by scheduling these in advance, you can not only be held accountable for actually going live, but this can also make it easier to plan your marketing campaigns and social calendar.
Instagram is also launching ‘Practice Mode’ for live streams, which will allow you to join your guests ahead of the scheduled event. This gives you the ability to test your settings and surroundings, all without that five minutes of awkwardness at the beginning.
More Analytics Means Better Insights
Every marketer knows that having too many analytics is better than having not enough. Instagram used to suffer from the latter problem, with users only seeing post data on the app.
With their previously updated ‘Accounts Reached’ data earlier this year, Instagram has added three new metrics to their insights.
These metrics include:
- Accounts engaged: the total number of accounts that have interacted with your posts
- Engaged audience: the demographics of people who engage with your posts, e.g. where they live, how old they are and what their gender is
- Reached audience: the same demographics as engaged audience but for everyone you’ve reached with impressions as opposed to those actively engaged
All of these combined mean that you can now target your posts better with your intended audience in mind.
Before the update, you could only see data from your followers. Now, you can analyse anyone who interacts with your account, even if they’re not following you.
This means that you can now see how your different types of content are performing and get insight into why people are interacting with your content but not following.
Ultimately, you can use this data for retargeting the right groups and turning your reach into follower growth. Unfortunately, right now, these insights are only available on the app. Still, with Instagram rolling out desktop posting, it likely won’t be long until the full analytics suite becomes available on desktop.
From delving deeper into video, introducing new analytics, and improving its web functionality, Instagram is becoming an even better place to both build on your existing customer relationships and develop new ones.
With all of these updates, and more likely to come, Adam Mosseri’s statement that Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app” holds more true now than ever before.