“Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app.” Say what? 

If you’ve heard this floating around in the news, you’re not alone. But there’s only some truth to the statement. 

A few weeks ago, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri posted an IGTV video discussing the changes Instagram is working on internally and what users can expect in the near future.

Mosseri began the video saying Instagram is trying to build new experiences primarily in four areas:

  • Creators
  • Video
  • Shopping
  • Messaging

For creators, there has been a shift in power from institutions to individuals across industries. Instagram recognizes the shift and wants to make it easier for social media creators to earn a living. 

Right now video is driving immense growth online across all platforms. Web giant YouTube has always been popular for medium- and long-form videos, but the recent explosion of TikTok has shown there are major competitors in the entertainment app space. 

And as Mosseri stated, the number one reason people head to Instagram is to be entertained. Instagram wants to embrace the change and surge of video with open arms! This is also why they recently began experimenting with an algorithm to recommend content.

Mosseri also spoke about the shift of commerce from offline to online due to the pandemic. Instagram Marketplace currently makes it possible for businesses to sell their products directly to consumers within the mobile app as long as their profiles are set up with Facebook. But Instagram wants to create an even more seamless shopping experience for users.

Finally, the ways we’ve kept in touch with friends and family have changed over the years. Now it’s common to keep in touch from within platforms, and not just from feed and story updates. You can expect to see more features added to Instagram’s in-app direct messaging.

Our Thoughts on the Instagram Update

While Mosseri didn’t comment on specific features Instagram wants to add or changes they plan to make to the current experiences, there are a few things we encourage you to look out for.

Consider Your Keywords Carefully 

Hopefully you already know about the importance of keywords for SEO. But the new experimentation (and hopefully implementation!) recommendations will make using keywords even more important on Instagram. Keywords (more specifically, keywords in hashtags) will be a key indicator of what audiences Instagram may decide to push your content to. Since your words will decide your audience, choose wisely—this is a great opportunity to increase your business’ reach without the paid advertising.

Work with an Influencer

With a new emphasis on creators, put some thought into working with an influencer. We can expect content from these individuals will be pushed to more feeds through an algorithm update, so if there’s a great time to work with an influencer, THIS IS IT

Want to know if working with an influencer is right for you? Check out our recent blog, Should Your Business Consider Influencer Marketing?

Updates to Instagram’s shopping Marketplace experience may also enhance the use of influencers. Currently, businesses can tag specific products for users to tap and buy from a photo. But if the update gives influencers the ability to link these products within their content, influencer promotions will become even more effective.

Maximize Your Video Content 

While talking about video, Mosseri also mentioned the appeal of full-screen and immersive video. Instagram has already implemented some full-screen experiences in the app through IGTV and Reels, but we can expect to see larger-scale content as we scroll through our feeds. We’ve seen Instagram more recently change its compatibility features to include photos beyond its normal square 1080×1080 pixel image size.

No matter what experiences the app unleashes, monitor and evaluate the features that align best with your business goals. The same applies to businesses that didn’t think Instagram was worth their time—explore the new features as they come out and reevaluate if the new ones are worth your time. 

So is Instagram no longer a photo sharing app? No. But it’s no longer only a square photo sharing app.

If you need help managing Instagram with any of these new features, shoot us a message