Struggling to keep up with the changes from Instagram? Wondering which updates are important to marketers?
In this article, we explore changes to Instagram that matter to marketers.
#1: Instagram Content API Expansions
Instagram Business accounts have been able to publish content via third-party apps using the Instagram Content API for some time, but Creators have yet to. Earlier this month, Meta rectified that by opening access to Creator account holders.
Additionally, the platform raised the total number of posts you can publish via the API from 25 to 50.
Finally, if you're using a third-party app to publish Reels to Instagram, you'll soon have access to two new features. First, you can tag one or more people in a post as you publish your post. Second, you can change the name of any original audio you own.
Our Take: Limitations on the API have been a hot-button topic for marketers, creators, and third-party tool developers for a while now. It's nice to see things opening up. The ability to rename original audio you create is advantageous because it allows you to use keywords that reflect your services or products so that your title is something people might search for.
#2: Instagram Content Ranking
The company held the secrets of the Instagram algorithm close for years. They've become more transparent about what drives the content ranking on the platform. Most recently, Adam Mosseri posted a review to reiterate that each part of Instagram has its own algorithm and to recap how content is ranked by those algorithms for feed posts, Reels, Stories, Explore, and more.
The primary factor driving the feed post and Stories content you see is proactive engagement; whose content you consume, who you engage with, and who you communicate with.
Past behavior drives content ranking in the Explore and Reels feeds. Suppose you've watched multiple videos about a particular topic. In that case, you'll likely see more of those videos being suggested to you in either feed.
Past behavior also applies to the content mix served up in your feeds. You'll see more carousel posts if you often engage with carousel posts.
Our Take: Remember when Instagram went all-in on Reels? When the platform bowed to users' feedback to rebalance the algorithm, many assumed that would translate to more photos in the feed. That assumption needed to be more technically accurate. You see more of what you choose to engage with. If that's photo posts, your feed serves more photos. If that's Reels, you see more Reels. Marketers must remember that your Stories will never be seen by people who don't follow you. That's a good thing because that gives you the space to use Stories to talk more directly and strategically with your audience. After all, they already know who you are.
#3: Instagram Ads
Marketers have a couple of ads updates from Instagram.
Instagram Search Results Ads
First, Instagram has been testing ads in search results, adding a ‘Sponsored' label to differentiate them from organic search results. Now, the platform is rolling out the ability for marketers to place those ads using the Marketing API via third-party tools.
Our Take: Instagram remains focused on improving search and discoverability on the platform. Recent iterations of the Search results page show trending topic chips underneath the search bar. This newest ad type further underscores the platform's desire to become more search-friendly.
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App Promotion Ads on Reels
App Promotion Ads (formerly App Install Ads) expanded to Reels on Instagram and Facebook.
#4: Instagram Channels
Following the global rollout of broadcast Channels, end users can now search for or browse their DM tab for Channels they follow or might want to follow.
There is also a new dedicated Channels tab in the Inbox, and Instagram is already testing new features to build out the one-to-many messaging tool, including Question prompts. Other test features are designed to make managing a Channel easier; a Channel expiration date and time, the ability to add a moderator, and Stories sharing capability.
Our Take: Channels has a lot of potential for creators, marketers, and businesses who want to communicate and share information with their audiences. Conferences that couple Channels with the channel expiration date and time functionality demonstrate a strong use case. On the organizer side, key details can be shared without managing the noise of comments and spam. The details are easy to find on the attendee side because the feed is uncluttered. When the conference is over, it will disappear!
Users in the US can now download Reels published by Public accounts to share the content on other platforms.
This functionality is in its early stages and can be disabled on the account side. No confirmation whether the video will feature a watermark, but the example shown by frontman Mosseri showed an Instagram logo and the Instagram username of the account.
Our Take: Many account holders are excited about this feature because they see a path the grow their reach by sharing Instagram content elsewhere. The obvious concern with this update is that bad actors may ‘repurpose' downloaded content and republish it for their own gain. While accounts can turn off the functionality, a better solution might be for the default setting to be off so accounts can toggle it on for specific Reels. Chelsea Peitz advises her clients, “Don't put extra restrictions on your account or your profile until it's a problem.”
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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