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New Ad Features: Instagram

Next in our Social Media Updates series, we have Instagram: a unique visual platform where users have some of the highest expectations for beautiful imagery of any social network. With over 400 million monthly active users, Instagram is known for its inspiring imagery and active, artistic community of users. Its high engagement rates makes brands strive to publish thumb-stopping images or videos to interact with users.

Instagram updates their features regularly for advertisers and users alike. Are you leveraging all the available products? Here's a round-up of Instagram's biggest recent updates, and the implications for each.

Key trends:

  • Improved video capabilities
  • Personalization based on user preference
  • Optimized feed & content curation 

Personalized Video Feeds
Launch: April '16 (US only, international launch coming soon)
Key features: hand-picked and curated video feed for users

  • Features feeds with themed video collections based on user preferences and history
  • Auto-plays after user engages first video in feed via thumbnail
  • Videos are tagged and themed, allowing for easy navigation from Explore page

Improved Explore & Trends Page

Launch: June '15
Key features: search expanded to include people, trends, tags, and locations

  • Also includes an Instagram-curated collection at the top of the page
  • Trends are updated in real time, and are based on followed users and user preferences
  • Places Search allows users to see a collection of content tagged at a specific location

60-second video
Launch: Feb '16  (brands), March '16 (all users)
Key features: extended video length allows brands to post full length TVC videos

  • Extended videos enabled just in time for select brands during Superbowl 50
  • Regular users now able to post extended videos as of March '16

Account Switching
Launch: Feb. '16
Key features: allows users to easily switch between accounts

  • Allows users to switch between accounts without logging in and out
  • Supports up to 5 accounts at once

Algorithmic Feed
Launch: March '16
Key features: feed now based on user data rather than post time

  • Feeds no longer in reverse chronological order; now based on user history and preferences
  • New algorithm curates content for a more personalized feed

Since launching ads globally last fall, Instagram has accelerated feature updates to improve user experience and support the shift towards monetization. In a world where visual content is king, even text-based platforms like Twitter have fully integrated imagery and video. As a result, Instagram has continued to innovate content features to stay ahead of the curve. Is your brand up to speed to capitalize these on updates?