2016 has been a big year for Instagram especially for two main reasons: 1) the app has crossed 500 million users and 2) this has been a year of constant changes and improvements, with Instagram Stories being the biggest of them all.
From interactive Ads to 60-second videos to zoom-enabled images, Instagram has incorporated some interesting changes this year. Here is a quick roundup of the top features:
1. Now You Can Save Drafts before posting them (September 2016)
Previously, if you wrote a message and hit the back button, your messages would disappear. They would be lost. But now Instagram has rolled out a new feature that will ask whether you wish to ‘save’ or ‘discard’ your draft.
But, note that the ‘save draft’ option is available only when you have added filters, captions, or locations to your photo before tapping the back button. Otherwise, it will still be lost!
What it can do for your business promotions: The idea of saving drafts is particularly good for business because when you are running out of ideas to complete the draft, you can always save a draft and come back and do it later. That also gives you the extra option of scheduling your posts for the right time.
2. Instagram Now Allows You To Filter or Disable Comments
Instagram has launched a new keyword moderation tool using which you can disable comments for your posts.
If you read the news in July, you might have noticed how thousands of snake emojis disappeared from Taylor Swift’s account, and people were confused as to what might be the reason. Well, that’s one of the most recent features introduced by Instagram. Using the feature, you can block comments on your post for targeted keywords which can be words, long-tail phrases, or even emojis.
How to do it? Just hit the gear icon on your screen and use the newly added “comments” tool to highlight words that you feel are inappropriate or offensive – so the comments passed for these words, phrases, or emojis would be disapproved from appearing on your timeline.
What it can do for your business promotions: There are so many ways this tool can be helpful for your business promotions. You can get rid of expletives, offensive language, bad testimonials, and any negative remark from appearing on your comments so you can focus on the positive part of your marketing campaign. In a nutshell, this comment disabling feature can help clear clutter, not just for you but allow your followers. It’s one of the win-win tools that Instagram has brought to business owners this year.
Big Update to Instagram Stories (September 2016)
There is another interesting feature called Instagram Stories that lets you send out your achievements and recognitions to people individually to create a positive outlook on your business.
3. You Can Mute Instagram Stories from people you don’t want a response from
One of the best things about using Instagram stories for your business is that it lets you mute specific users from responding to your story. Just tap and hold the user to active mute so they can’t reply to your story update. It also disables the story from playing automatically. On the other hand, if you wish to unmute the user back, all you need to do is repeat the process of ‘tap and hold’ and choose the unmute option.
4. Automatically Save Your Own Instagram Stories
This is similar to the newly launched ‘save draft’ but a bit different. It applies to only stories. To enable the save story feature, all you need to do is click on the gear icon on your camera and flip the “saved shares photos” button. The app also allows you to save stories individually by clicking the three dots that appear on the lower right corner of the users’ screen.
5. Change the Color of Text on your Instagram Story
Similar to what we see with Snapchat Stories, Instagram makes it possible for users to pick a suitable color for their stories while adding texts. Why not give a personal or branding touch to your story? Choose a color that resonates with your identity and message! Perhaps, you can even include glowing texts using the neon market tool to give a stylish touch to your story. Give it a try and see how people respond!
What it can do for your business promotions: The mute option is probably the only feature that could affect your Instagram Stories. By blocking annoying marketers, offensive users, and competitors, you can peacefully focus on the brighter side of your marketing campaign. Better yet, there are ways to prevent yourself from getting on someone’s muted list.
6. Instagram Ads Get Interactive (September 2016)
With the site growing by the day, the creative head seems to know exactly what to give to the audience. Instagram has released an improved to call-to-action button where the ad poster will be notified of every click he or she gets from a potential buyer. As far as video ads are concerned, viewers will be diverted to the landing page of the ad poster when the video is unmuted.
What it can do for your business: You can generate more leads, that is, targeted leads using this type of interactive advertising launched by the app.
7. Finally, You Can Zoom In Instagram (August 2016)
Instagram now allows users to zoom in on photos and videos.
The photo zooming option is probably a copied feature from other networks like Facebook and Twitter, but it still offers more delight to users who like to get a closer view of photos they like. The zooming feature was rolled out in August, and since then Instagram users are able to zoom photos, videos, and even Instagram stories to enjoy a more natural expression of the content.
What it can do for your business: Well, it lets you explore more opportunities when you are looking to be more creative and interactive with your updates. In addition to the engagement factor, it also lets you connect with your audience on a deeper level. According to most business owners and marketers, Instagram contests are generating better results since the launch of the zooming feature. Again, that is good for business!
8. Instagram Video elevated to the next level with New “Events” Channel (August 2016)
Instagram welcomed a new video channel within the Explore tab called “Events.”
This August, the mobile-only social network rolled out a personalized video platform that puts together the best of videos from different events like sports, concerts, and award functions and displays them in one channel. That means you can get to know more about the most happening events from around the world. Cool, isn’t it?
What it could mean for your business
If you have a real-life event that you wish to be seen by the world, there is a pretty good chance that your event videos could appear on Instagram’s Explore page provided it’s goes viral after you have posted it. This is where it pays to get more followers and likes for your videos. This feature could be helpful for businesses particularly because the site doesn’t allow sponsored events or ads on its platform.
In any case, the Events feature proves to be clear evidence that the site is putting in more work to increase its video-sharing option so individuals and businesses can get more benefits in terms of publicity and engagement.
9. No more Instagram Locations 🙁
Instagram quietly removed its map feature on profiles.
With no prior intimation, the site removed its “Add to Photo Map” feature.
Earlier, when users visited someone’s profile, they could use the Photo Map feature to know where the photo was taken. But, that’s no longer available. However, you could still post with your location but can’t feed them in your Photo Map.
What it can do for your business: Well, more than a boon, it’s a bane for business owners especially for the ones that were using the feature regularly. Location tagged photos were a value-add for travel bloggers, freelancers, event managers, and other local businesses that were running targeted local marketing campaigns. Potential customers who clicked on a Photo Map could view all other posts uploaded by the owner using geo-tagging. This helped advertisers to promote their products and services in their local area and get more customers for their business. But, now you have to get more creative and rely on the new options to get local recognition for your content.
So, there you go! These are some interesting changes we have seen this year. Let’s hope to see more amazing features heading into 2017. Happy Instagramming.