Instagram recently reached 500 million users, including more than 300 million Monthly Active Users. The platform has already made a number of important updates in 2016. What do these changes mean for marketers today?
1. Instagram StoriesNow, Instagram users can post content that are separate from their profile posts. With Instagram Stories, users post content strings - called stories - that disappear after 24 hours. They can design these posts using text and drawing tools, and no one can comment on them publicly. By incorporating these Snapchat-like features into Instagram, Instagram has just given marketers a seriously powerful tool to reach users. Putting these features into a platform where marketers already have an established presence will only empower more creative usage of disappearing content, and could lead to more access to data about how users engage with these posts.
2. Account switchingNow companies with multiple Instagram accounts can switch seamlessly between them within the mobile app. This will make every social media manager’s life much easier.
3. Video viewsWith all the hype deservedly surrounding the two changes to Instagram videos, this may actually be the most significant for marketers. Instagram has called it "the first of many ways you'll see video on Instagram get better this year" - now, the first metric people will now see attached to your video post is one that more accurately and inclusively represents user engagement.
4. Rewarding engaging contentThe Instagram content feed will now be ordered to prioritize content that each user more likely wants to see.
Although the earlier chronological feed may have felt like it had a great UX, Instagram found that people were actually missing 70% of their feeds on average. This new update rewards the best content creators by bringing the most engaging content upfront, making Instagram a more consistent, reportable source of social ROI.
5. Longer videos unleash creativityThe 15-second limit for Instagram video has long been one of the network's defining qualities, but now that limit has been quadrupled to a full minute. Marketers have good reasons to be happy about the change: you have just been given an amazing new platform for testing longer creative videos on mobile. The time restriction has not really disappeared - many Facebook mobile videos drop off in terms of viewership by the 15-second mark, no matter how long they are.
6. Multi-clip iPhone videosInstagram also brought back an old fan favorite, multi-clip videos for iOS, when it extended video length to 1 minute. The platform is rededicating itself to user creativity by allowing 'grammers to film videos in multiple clips, or to patch together clips of videos they have already taken and stored on their phones. Now marketers can really experiment with their creative output.
The TakeawayThis is a time of rapid change for Instagram marketing. To take advantage of the moment, you need to experiment with making longer videos and reporting on video views in addition to Total Interactions. Between these changes and smaller but still important ones, like Instagram's creation of topic channels for video, you have the chance to innovate your Instagram strategy and come out on top!
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