Features / 13 Jul 2018

Instagram’s Latest Updates for 2018


The latest news on Instagram, updated as it happens with our rolling coverage.

August 22 – Instagram introduces recommendations

Instagram has begun trialling showing users recommended posts through their feed. At the moment, this is displaying after users have seen all new posts from the past 2 days.

July 25 – Instagram wants your reactions

Instagram has added a new emoji-response option to its popular Stories format.

Whilst similar to the same feature announced for Facebook, Instagram does not include an angry react response.

July 13 – Instagram Stories gets even bigger

Instagram has today pushed a wider array of advertising options for Instagram stories.

Where previously only content already in a story format was able to be published, now Instagram will automatically adjust the format of your ad to fit the display – adding a relevant background gradient around your content as needed.

This update also sees text from the ad displayed near the bottom of the screen on an ad.

July 11 – Ask Instagram anything

Instagram today began rolling out question stickers on stories. The new feature allows users to invite fans to ask questions. Answers are provided privately, however, can be re-shared on subsequent stories. This follows a wave of new features that Instagram‘s rolled out this year.

Not all users can currently access this feature as it has just come out of testing with a small number of users – so whilst you might not know how to use it just yet, your friends sure will.

June 29 – Loud and clear: Instagram adds music stickers

Jaden Digital publication The Music Network confirmed with Instagram details of their latest update. Here’s what we found out:

  • You can now soundtrack your Instagram stories, as the new Music Sticker feature rolls out in Australia and New Zealand this morning.
  • Thanks to licensing deals with major record labels recently struck by Facebook, the new feature allows users to choose songs from an Instagram library sorted into ‘Genre’ ‘Mood’ and ‘What’s Popular’ categories.
  • You can search and add songs to your post by tapping the sticker button and selecting the music sticker, scrubbing through the track to find the perfect excerpt.

June 27 – Video killed the Insta-story star

IGTV (Instagram TV) launched this week to much hype, as the social platform allowed large accounts to post portrait videos up to 1 hour long. So will brands continue using stories, or switch to the new (but extremely similar) option?

It seems after the huge fanfare, creators are already going against the social giant. The ‘portrait-only’ format option is being largely ignored, and creators are directing fans in the comments to their YouTube channels, where full videos are uploaded in higher quality.

According to Instagram Co-Founder & CEO Kevin Systrom:

“You can swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.”

However, according to our office:

“There is difficulty understanding where the homepage is for it, and the discover feed is confusing.”

“The highlight of Instagram Stories is its quick, candid, unpolished format – something which IGTV isn’t”.

The feature is available within Instagram, and as a standalone app.

June 7 – Instagram reveals its algorithm

In a meeting with media this week, Instagram management revealed the three elements that determine how you see your feed. A number of myths were also cleared up, helping demystify how the app uses your information.

The announcements covered include:

  • Three elements are used to determine the algorithm: Interest (your engagement rate with past content), Timeliness (how recently posts have been published), and Relationship (how often you comment on, or direct message with, an account).
  • The updated Explore layout is similar in its algorithm method.
  • Photo and video posts are treated equally.
  • Instagram does not “shadow-ban”.
  • Personal and Business accounts are also treated equally.

May 30 – Instagram turns up the volume

In a great move for advertisers, Instagram will now adjust the volume throughout an entire session according to your current video settings, meaning the need to repeatedly turn on sound is now gone.

This comes after Facebook began trialling a similar feature within its native app.

May 24 – Stop using Instagram

Instagram is trialling new features to inform users of how long they use (or overuse) the platform, after parent company Facebook released a report about the negative side-effects of social use. This will include:

  • A new Usage Insights tab, showing how long you use the app.
  • In-feed notifications highlighting you’ve seen all new content, in an aim to reduce passive scrolling.

A Facebook report explained the reasoning behind this change, stating:

“We’re working to make Facebook more about social interaction and less about spending time. As our CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently noted, “We want the time people spend on Facebook to encourage meaningful social interactions.”

May 10 – New business features

Instagram has rolled out changes to how businesses can interact with users, with the aim to help streamline community management. Unkown users’ comments will no longer go into the ‘pending’ folder, rather be placed in the direct inbox.

According to Instagram:

“Now you’ll see important new customer messages in your main Direct inbox, instead of in the pending folder. You can also star and filter your conversations to come back to messages you want to follow up on.”

Action buttons will also be added to business profiles, in a similar manner to Facebook pages.

“Through our action buttons, people can now ‘Reserve’, ‘Get Tickets’, ‘Start Order’ or ‘Book’ through popular, third-party partners without having to leave Instagram.”

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