You may have read the recent headlines that lead you to believe the Instagram app you know and love is no longer going to provide you with the content you've come to appreciate as a marketer and consumer of content. If you’re anything like us, the quote “Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app” might have sent you into a tailspin when the news broke last week. Don’t panic, the headline is not exactly correct about what's to come!
The constant social media updates can be a chore to keep up with, but we've done the research and are here to let you know what you actually need to know.
Don't Panic: Here's What You Need to Know About Instagram
Why the changes?
As social media becomes more and more popular, different platforms pop up and users have new demands. There is pressure for these platforms to make updates and advancements in order to keep up with the pack.
Specifically with the surge in popularity of TikTok and YouTube, Instagram is doing everything it can to try to keep up and stay on top of the social media game - and we can’t blame them! This is nothing new, they have done it time and time again. When Snapchat was popular, Instagram created stories, when TikTok rose to popularity, Instagram quickly implemented Reels. This pivot is no different and is, admittedly, in direct response to the rise of these video content platforms.
While it may be true that Instagram will once again be making changes to it’s platform in order to fulfill its users' need for video content, that doesn’t mean that your whole Instagram strategy is going to come crumbling down! Instagram is known for innovation and that is exactly what this update will be about.
Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri shared that right now Instagram is focused on 4 key areas of growth: creators, video, shopping, and messaging. Video is something that we have been talking about for awhile and the medium is becoming more popular garnering 38% more engagement than static content. So it makes sense that Instagram wants to make more room for this medium to flourish!
When will changes occur?
Instagram takes its time when rolling out new features and functionalities. Oftentimes they even test them exclusively in certain geographic locations or with certain types of users (like creators) to make sure they are received well and continue to adapt based on feedback!
Take Instagram Guides for example. This feature was rolled out in May of 2020 to a select group of creators and was not even available to all users until the end of 2020. The point is, you have time... This is not something that is going to happen tomorrow, and when changes are made they will most likely be gradual.
What you need to do to prepare?
So what does this all mean for you? Well let’s break things down.
- If you aren't already, it is time to get comfortable with more video! This Instagram update will make video a much larger part of the user experience and this is something we need to be ready for. With Reels and IGTV, it is clear video is one thing that Instagram is invested in, but the foundation of the app will most likely remain the same.
Pro Tip: Start thinking through how your brand can implement video! Play around with Reels and IGTV to see how these work for your brand so that if and when video becomes a bigger part of Instagram, you are ready to jump in.
- Along with video content, Instagram will be rolling out additional updates. In fact, some of them are already being tested, one of which is the "suggested post" feature. Instagram has stated that their goal is to entertain users and keep them on the app as long as possible. In an effort to do this, they are testing the suggested feature where posts from accounts you do not necessarily follow show up in your feed. This function is similar to one you've likely experienced on YouTube where you see the content of people you are following as well as suggested content you may like as a result.
We hope this gives you some comfort and a little more perspective on what's to come for Instagram. While Instagram is (and should be!) making updates to stay relevant, it doesn’t mean they are going to abandon the very purpose of their app! Maybe an alternative headline would be “Instagram is no longer JUST a photo-sharing app”.