Are you up to date on changes from Instagram? Wondering which Instagram updates are important to marketers?
In this article, we explore Instagram changes that affect your marketing.
#1: Instagram Carousels
Instagram has introduced the ability to add music to carousel posts, opening up more creative options beyond just photos and videos.
Our Take: In the past, carousel posts in the Instagram feed were limited to silent images or clips. The addition of music adds a new dynamic, though some may find it alarming when sound suddenly starts autoplaying in the previously mute Instagram scroll. To improve user control, Instagram could take a cue from Reels and allow carousel music volume to be adjusted. Overall, the music integration paves the way for more engaging carousels.
#2: Instagram Close Friends Feed Posts
Seeking more ways for users to selectively filter their audiences, Instagram is testing the ability to share posts to just close friends.
Our Take: This would build on existing features like close friends stories and favorites lists that allow followers to be grouped. With the close friends posting option, users could create posts visible only to their inner circle, essentially a secret feed within the broader Instagram ecosystem. Brands could leverage this for exclusive deals for top customers and prospects. It gives marketers more nuanced targeting options beyond a simple public or private setting.
#3: Instagram Notes
Instagram is now testing the inclusion of audio clips and music to Notes.
Our Take: This makes the feature more dynamic and expressive compared to just text. It also accommodates different communication preferences on the predominantly visual platform. Audio Notes could be key to driving adoption, especially among younger users who are already utilizing Notes at a much higher rate than older adults. For individual and business accounts alike, it allows users to provide short audio commentary without needing to create a full reel.
#4: Instagram Reels
10-Minute Instagram Reels
Instagram reels are about to get a lot longer. Instagram confirmed internal tests are underway to extend Reels videos to 10 full minutes.
Our Take: This brings Reels up to par with competitor TikTok's maximum lengths. While some users argue attention spans can't handle such long reels, they can be an ideal vehicle for educational and informational content. For brands, longer reels mean more opportunities to engage users. If targeted strategically, a 10-minute reel could efficiently guide users down the marketing funnel. Compared to the existing 1-minute cap, the substantially longer videos are likely to spur more actions, conversions, and engagement.
#5: Unconfirmed Instagram Feature Tests
Instagram Collaborative Post Media
Instagram is exploring a new twist on user-generated content: collaborative posting where your followers contribute photos and videos to your feed posts.
In the test, users could add related media to your posts, like group trip photos or different angles from an event. There's moderation built in; as the original poster, you'd need to approve new additions before they go live to your feed.
Our Take: This signals an overall move by Instagram to enable more creative collaboration. Other examples include allowing co-authoring of posts and reels, remixing reels, and tools for brands to source content from followers.
For marketers, the collaborative posts could provide an engaging way to extend the lifespan of content. By allowing followers to continually add relevant media to a post even months later, it could keep the content circulating in the feed algorithmically. It also provides brands an easy way to source additional photos or clips from an event, campaign, or activation.
The crowdsourced posts provide a lighter lift version of compiling user-generated content—one post at a time versus a whole feed or campaign of curated submissions. While UGC should always have a purpose, this on-the-fly style of collaboration could produce content that feels more authentic and community-powered for both brands and social media creators.
Sharable Comments for Instagram Stories and Reels
Instagram is exploring letting users highlight and share post comments within their stories and reels.
Our Take: This mirrors the common TikTok practice of creators responding to or repurposing video feedback in later content. On Instagram, the shared comment would appear overlaid on a clip or image from the original post. For marketers, it's a seamless way to continue an engaging back-and-forth with followers. It also provides built-in social proof as followers view the comment response. It also completes the feedback loop, potentially driving observers to check out the original post and join the conversation.
Instagram Chat Status
Some Instagram users may soon have more privacy around their activity status in direct messaging. Instagram is testing the ability to disable the Seen indicator that shows when you've read a message.
Our Take: While current workarounds exist like airplane mode, officially hiding your read status provides more flexible communication. For individuals, it removes pressure to instantly reply after opening a message. For brands, it can help avoid appearing unresponsive if inquiries require additional research before a thoughtful response can be provided. Overall, the change gives both personal and business accounts more control over their inbox experience.
Instagram Shares, Comments, and Likes Display
Ever wondered exactly how many shares, comments, or likes an Instagram post has? You may soon find out, as Instagram is testing showing expanded metrics for engagement on feed posts.
Our Take: The numbers mirror data already shown on reels, making it clearer at a glance how much interaction a post has garnered. While small icons currently indicate commenting and sharing, displaying the counts directly could further drive engagement by showcasing social proof. However, brands may want to think twice before artificially inflating numbers, as ethics around manipulation remain controversial.
Instagram Meta Verified Feed
Code referring to an “Instagram Meta Verified Feed Filter” was recently uncovered, sparking speculation of an exclusive feed for verified accounts. However, Instagram quickly denied such a feature was in the works.
Our Take: The rumors tie into earlier statements that gaining verified or paid account status could increase reach and visibility. However, experiments in increased visibility for paid verification by platforms like Twitter have been met with backlash regarding pay-to-play ranking bias. For an app focused on content discovery like Instagram, limiting feeds to only verified accounts seems misguided. But only time will tell whether a verified tier becomes part of their monetization strategy.
Chelsea Peitz teaches sales professionals how to leverage social media and technology to build a powerful personal brand and develop content that generates real leads. She's host of The Voice of Social Sales Podcast and author of the book, Talking in Pictures.
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