Who would have thought, back in October 2010, that Instagram would become the platform that completely changed the way we socialize, shop and interact in 2019. And this is true for both personal accounts and brands.
Now, more than ever before, Instagram is an integral resource to many influencers and businesses. It has the ability to spread a wide reach and influence billions. On top of that, eCommerce business owners are able to unleash the potential of their goods through new features that were announced at Facebook’s F8 conference earlier in May 2019.
In order to make sure you’re up-to-date with the trendiest platform, here are eight new Instagram features to watch out for in 2019.
01. Shoppable tags
This update is mainly geared towards social media influencers (both micro and macro). Known by Instagram as ‘Creators,’ these influencers are used by brands to promote either products or services. Now, these Creators are able to a linked ‘tag’ a product or brand within their post. Thus, by simply tapping on the tag (that displays the name and the price of the article), viewers are redirected to the product’s or service’s page within the brand’s website.
This feature enables a smoother process for browsers to discover what brands or influencers have on offer, along with a better optimization of the conversion process for the announcers.
02. Shop within Instagram
Instagram is perfect for displaying and talking about products or services. But when it comes down to actually closing the circle and buying whatever is being advertised, users have to eventually leave the app to complete the process. Well, not anymore.
Starting with a few selected accounts, Instagram has now released an in-app checkout feature. Previously, influencers had no real way of directly selling to their followers. They could talk about a product in the description of a post and prompt visitors to either click the link in their bio or swipe up on Instagram Stories. This new Instagram feature is a game-changer for influencers. Not only can they show off the brands they represent, but they can also act as a salesperson and drive purchases directly within Instagram.
03. Sharing feed posts in Stories
The platform has (finally) found a solution to sharing content from feed posts into Stories. This is excellent news for brands and small businesses. Imagine you’re an eCommerce store owner selling sunglasses. A customer has bought your glasses and posted a picture of themselves wearing your latest summer accessory. In the description they give a quick word of praise about your brand and tag you in the post. Now, you as the eCom store owner, can utilize this valuable UGC (user-generated content) and directly share that post to your Instagram Stories.
Here’s how to share a feed post to your Stories:
- Tap the airplane button below the post (like you would if you wanted to send the post via DM).
- Select the ‘Create a story with the post’ option.
- Tap it to see the feed post as a sticker with a customized background color that matches the original post. You can then add more features or text to the post if you wish.
All posts that are shared via Stories include a link back to the original post and also state the poster’s name. It’s a great way to show off your clients and further spread the word about your booming business.
04. Interactive stickers in Stories
Users can now add quiz stickers in their Stories. This allows them to ask a question and give multiple choice answers to the viewers. Game players will be able to see if they are wrong or right and brands will be able to see responses in real time.
This feature is an excellent way to interact with your visitors as well as promote your service or product. Questions can be easy and fun or something brand specific. Let’s say you’re a skin care brand – you can ask which ingredient is best for anti-aging. After you reveal the answer, continue with the same train of thought by explaining the formula and showing off your products that include that specific ingredient.
05. New camera design
The selfie-era is here to stay. How do we know this? By Instagram’s upgraded camera design called ‘Create Mode.’ The new camera includes a semicircular mode switcher that makes it easy to find and use the fun filters we all know and love. The main idea behind this update is to make it easier for users to share content without the need for a photo or video. Following the theme of interactivity, users can also add text, stickers and questions to their front facing camera creation.
06. Donation sticker
Considering the amount of people who use Instagram, it’s no surprise that crowdfunding has made its way into the social channel. With the donation sticker feature, you can now raise money for nonprofits straight from within the app.
To get started:
- Open up ‘Stories’.
- Take or select a picture from your camera roll.
- From the stickers selection, choose ‘Donation.’
- You can customize the sticker using Instagram Stories’ creative tools.
After it’s live, you can swipe up to see the total amount of people that have donated. Important to note: 100% of the money you raise will go directly to the nonprofit of your choice.
07. Creator profile
In the same way that Facebook released a Facebook business page option, Instagram is now following suite. Insta’s version will be referred to as a ‘Creator profile.’ It’s an influencer’s dream as the profile will give businesses access to an array of insights and in-depth analytics. Some of these include: engagement stats, knowing when your audience is online, and detailed demographic information.
The creator profile also enables businesses or influencers to have access to specific data which shows who followed or unfollowed them as a result of their shared content. The specialized profile allows for DM (direct message) filtering options. Now, creators can rank messages in order of relevance (messages from family, friends or other brands). More control comes with being able to set your preferred method of contact – that could be email, text, call or DM.
However, much like the coveted ‘swipe up’ feature, the creator profile is said to be reserved for accounts with a following of 10K or more.
08. Hiding ‘like’ count
In an effort for influencers and creators to combat a ‘pressurized environment’ according to Adam Mosseri of Facebook, Instagram is testing out the notion of doing away with showing how many ‘likes’ a picture has. The owner of the image will have a total number, but browsers will only be able to see a list of who has liked the image.
The ‘hiding’ of comments seems to be a way to make Instagram a more authentic place where users can connect to their followers without the added pressure of competitiveness. For now, the feature is still in the trial phase. It will be interesting to see how people feel about not being able to ‘judge’ an image based on its ‘like’ success.