By Nikki Buergel ~ General Manager & Head Of Paid Media
Instagram is not known for making major updates, however, in May and June we saw 4 major updates that will impact our marketing activities.
The one that got us all talking was Instagram Tv, also known as ISTV. This update is massive! YouTube, watch out, there is competition…
This is a stand-alone app that can be accessed either via Instagram or on its own. Videos of up to an hour long can be loaded onto Instagram. Basically, this app prioritises long-form video content (vertical and full-screen), so essentially you can tell a much longer Story.
Your followers can be notified about your new videos and the video content will also show up in their IGTV feed. So as soon as a user opens the app, a video will start to play emulating the TV experience. In addition, users will be shown content that Instagram believe they will be interested in i.e. targeted videos based on a mix of interest targeting and filed pages. Again, much like Google does. Facebook hasn’t quite got this right!
You can find specific content by swiping up for more options, as well as only showing content from people/ companies you follow, what is popular at the time, personalised content (based on your interests and/ or content that you have already watched).
An important feature is that when users follow a creator on Instagram they can then view their entire IGTV channel. What does this mean?… this is your opportunity to shine with interested and first-time users since they get an uninterrupted stream of long-form content that has been created on your channel.
The ability for brands to create and share long-form content is going to be invaluable. Think what this means for example travel brands e.g. bring the Safari experience to life…
It is worth mentioning that just because you can make an hour-long video, that an hour isn’t always necessary. Like all advertising, keep it relevant and the visitor interested. Don’t just add content for the sake of it!
Way to go Instagram with this VERY cool new feature and I for one am looking forward to seeing this evolve. Watch this space!
#2 New Instagram Algorithm
When Instagram released this update, marketers and brands were puzzled. Posts were shifted from chronological to “prioritised” posts. Instagram is finally shedding light on how it works. They are using three main factors for showing photos and videos that are important to you, namely interest, timeliness, and relationship. Reason being their main goal is for you to see content from your “friends and family.” According to the stats, people now see 90% of posts from their friends and family.
Frequency, following, and usage are also factors to determine what content is delivered to your feed. This all adds to Instagram’s efforts to show you more of what you want to see!
Why would Instagram update the algorithm? Simple, according to Instagram, users were missing 70% of all posts, and about 50% of their friend’s posts. After this update, users are now spending more time on the app because they are seeing more of what is relevant to them!
How do we as marketers leverage this information?
- It has become imperative to use engagement-building techniques on Instagram, which means you must get more likes and comments. This will indicate to Instagram that your content is relevant and high-quality. (Much like Facebook.)
- As with everything, timing is essential! New posts are given a bump over older ones. When you post, it is even more important to make sure you post at peak posting times in order to yield the best results!
#3 @ Mentioning Of Stories
This update allows you to share someone else’s story to your own if they have used a mention sticker in their own. And what’s more, it is super simple and can be done anywhere with the tap of a button!
UGC (User-generated content) stories are popular because they can reach a large audience and now with the @mention sticker it can drive brand awareness and traffic to your profile!
#4 Shoppable Posts
It was inevitable that Instagram would become an ecommerce platform. Instagram is a visual platform so shoppers visit it looking for the latest trends and styles. With Shoppable Posts you can now tag and shop for products directly from your organic Instagram posts. Again, how cool is that?!
The Shoppable Posts feature is currently available is 9 different countries.
We don’t often see such major updates in such a short space of time. But this is all good news for marketers and brands. Each feature offers new possibilities and functionality for us to get the most out of Instagram marketing, a major plus!