Our Take on Instagram’s Latest Updates: What You Need to Know

By: Kasey Perez, Social Media Intern

Instagram users are growing and so are the platform’s updates.

Instagram reached 600 million users in December 2016 and they’re poised to continue ranking as one of the top social media sites in 2017, currently locked in second place behind Facebook. This power does not come without responsibility to be relevant to its users though, and Instagram is continually stepping up their game with newly released features to squash competition. Here are the latest updates you need to know:

Saved Posts: How does it work?

On December 14 Instagram released the capability to save any photo from your feed to a private section of your own profile page to view later. To do this, simply click the small bookmark button at bottom right of each photo. Instagram doesn’t notify the user if you save their photo, so you can Insta-stalk to the utmost degree! And most importantly, no more scrolling through all your photos to find that screenshot of that Corgi puppy or the inspirational quote from a few weeks ago to try to show your friend. 

What’s the point?

This update is not only helpful for users but also lends serious benefits to businesses and marketers. Users have never been able to easily search for a photo on Instagram they saw a few days or weeks ago. With the saved photos, users can now have a spot on the app that easily holds all the photos they want to check out again later. From a business perspective,  customers will be able to save that photo of a fun new menu item or drink you just released, making it much more likely for them to remember your business.

Shoppable posts

Instagram is also #businessing by testing a new feature to help people shop easily within the app. Instagram is well-aware that online shopping has been rapidly increasing, especially among their target audience. According to a recent UPS survey, millennials are making 54% of their purchases online. Naturally, they want a slice of that pie! So with this new update, Instagram hopes to make customer’s shopping experiences easier and more intuitive. The testing process is about three months in and they have selected some big name brands like Warby Parker, Target and a handful of others to be the first businesses to give it a try.

How will it work?

  • Tap the “view icon” button on the photo
  • Hover over the photo to see tags pop up on all shoppable products
  • Click the product you are interested in for a closer look and the price
  • To complete a purchase, you can easily click “shop now” to be taken to their website to check out

*Photo from Instagram’s blog on the new update.

What’s the point?

Awe yeah, life just got a whole lot easier! We all hate being transferred away from our spot when we’re deep into scrolling just because we’re curious how much that pair of sunglasses are. With online shopping being the new norm, the need for it to be seamless and simple has also grown exponentially, especially when it comes to shopping on a smart device. According to Kantar Retail, the shopping experience needs to be a continuous and connected path to easily guide the shoppers from one thing to another. This update will do exactly that and we can’t wait to see it in action!

Video updates

Instagram has also made some changes to their video capabilities (although some of these updates have been controversial because they’re a little *ahem*… familiar). There are three different aspects of Instagram’s new update: live stories, creating and posting boomerangs and disappearing photos and videos. This is not the first Instagram update that’s had people crying copycat and stirring up a little discussion. First, when they released the Stories feature (very similar to Snapchat), then replicating Periscope and Facebook’s success with Live Stories and mimicking Snapchat again with the disappearing photos and videos. A note to other social media platforms: Instagram is always watching you.

Live Stories

So, we were just getting used to the Instagram Stories feature, and now we can go live? The concept of  “going live” has been seen and used often on Facebook — and it is pretty similar except for one difference; Instagram only lets you see a live video while it is being recorded and then it disappears as soon as the user’s stops recording.

How to use it? It’s as Easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Swipe right from your feed to open the camera
  2. Tap the “Start Live Video”
  3. Start recording for up to a full hour

All of your friend’s live stories will be available in your Stories bar. There is also a new page under the search menus where you can watch all the trending top live videos.

           

Boomerangs

We all love boomerangs and now we can free up some storage space (hooray!) because Instagram is letting us take them directly on the app.  All you have to do swipe right into the camera and switch it over to Boomerang. We can dig it.

Disappearing photos and videos

Lastly, we have disappearing photos and videos from Instagram.

How does it work?

  • Swipe right to the camera screen
  • Take your photo or video
  • Draw, type or put stickers on the image or video
  • Click the bottom right arrow to send
  • You can send to you followers, your story or a group
  • As soon as the person views your photo or video it will disappear forever

For some strange reason, we feel like we’re having deja vu… we just can’t put our finger on it. Oh yeah, yeah, we can. This is just like Snapchat.

While there may have been some contention around these new features for their similarities to other social media apps, Instagram won’t always be the first to come up with the newest, most innovative idea every time. Their edge against competitors consistently lies in their larger user base. Bigger audience = bigger adaptability rates. Instagram currently has about 300 million daily users compared to Snapchat’s 160 million and Periscopes 2 million. Instagram has already seen an increase in their users sharing with these updates, so it’s paying off. According to a recent blog by Buffer Social Instagram stories have increased the amount of shares users make and the overall messaging, making it “a place to not only share our best moments, but discuss our every moment.”

 Which Instagram updates have you been using the most? Are you still loyal to Snapchat vs. Instagram’s Stories?

 

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