Instagram in 2018:The Big Changes You Need to Know About
2018 has been a huge year for Instagram as the social media network has stepped up its efforts to bring brands and users a deeper and richer experience. In 2017, Instagram continued to add users with the ‘Stories’ feature and for much of 2018, the addition and improvements to ‘Stories’, including GIFs, emojis and filters have really driven Instagram’s user growth.
By June 2018, Instagram announced that it had touched 1 billion users. It was in May and June of this year that Instagram has made some massive changes to the social media network.
For all Instagram accounts, especially the Instagram business accounts, these new announcements, features and policies are going to impact all future posts, so it is extremely important to understand the new information to use Instagram more effectively. Here are some important developments to keep in mind.
Instagram TV or IGTV is a major shift in how Instagram views video content and how it intends to create a platform more suited to long-form content.
Video content is going to make up the majority of online content in the future and it was important for Instagram to challenge its competitors, YouTube and Snapchat, in this field. IGTV allows for:
- Videos in a vertical format, they can run from 15 seconds to 60 minutes (although, only certain verified accounts have access to 60 minutes as of now, for everyone else the limit is 10 minutes)
- These videos can be viewed on Instagram or the new IGTV app.
- The IGTV videos are unbroken videos that can be liked, commented on or sent via direct message
- Creators can add a “Swipe Up” call-to-action to this content.
For businesses and brands, this means they have an uninterrupted and more convenient channel of marketing on Instagram to their audience.
Expect better engagement from audiences and with options such as “Recommended For You”, “Continue Watching” and “Following”, they are much more likely to see your video content now than ever before on Instagram.
High-quality video projects can now be created with less emphasis on the “Stories” format with more natural long-from video taking over.
IGTV could legitimize video for Instagram in a way, Instagram Stories cannot, so it is up to creators to break new ground here.
Instagram Shares New Information on its Algorithm
For years, Instagram has kept its algorithm quite close to the company. Changes have been made with posts moving from a chronological post format to a more ‘prioritized’ posts appearing first but for the long time, there was no consensus on what really worked. Instagram has shared some insights in May and we summarized some of the biggest takeaways here for you to keep in mind.
- Interesting Content – Instagram has stated that their intention is to make sure content that is of interest to the user will be prioritized over almost everything else. Instagram has said this is done by analyzing“past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.” Businesses must develop a strong visual identity and content plan to make the most of Instagram.
2. Chronology – While they might have abandoned the idea of creating a “New Posts” tab to promote new content directly, Instagram has stated that they will favour newer posts over older ones. All posts have a smaller shelf life now, which means content must be created in a more timely fashion.
3. Relationships Matter – One of the biggest edicts that Instagram has issued over the past few months is to ensure that users see more posts from friends and accounts that interact more regularly with.
Instagram now claims that 90% of the posts that people see are from “friends and family” which used to be only about 50% when chronological posts were the norm.
Businesses must work much harder to engage with audiences now to yield significant results. Every account needs to get more likes, shares and comments so that they feature more heavily on audience feeds.
The addition of IGTV and the algorithm changes are exciting indicators of what is shaping up to be a landmark year for Instagram. Instagram Stories has received rich features and plenty of updates especially for Instagram Business accounts and the insights we have received from the company about how it perceives the future of Stories is another avenue waiting to be explored.
Brands or businesses looking to make the most out of Instagram can begin working on incorporating this new wealth of knowledge and reap the benefits almost immediately.