Big changes are coming to Instagram: Here’s what you need to know

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri took to his socials on the 30th June to shed some light on what Instagram has been working on internally. Instagram is notorious for adding and removing new features or switching up its algorithm, depending on how these potential updates are received by its users. We’ve broken it down so that you and your brand can stay ahead of the updates that are coming our way over the next few months.

New changes to Instagram

Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app”

Image credit: Later Media

Instagram has come a long way from the general photo-sharing platform it once was, and this evolution doesn’t show any signs of stopping – but before you panic, this doesn’t mean an end to your tailored grids and products photos! In his update, Mosseri laid out the four key areas they’re looking to focus on in the coming months – one of which being entertainment, more specifically video content. With competitors such as TikTok and YouTube storming ahead in this field, it’s no wonder Instagram is looking to rise to the challenge.

What does this mean for your brand? Well for starters, the days of photo feeds are far from over, but now is as good a time as ever to start leaning into more video content on the platform, such as Reels or IGTV, which have proven to be amazing tools for growth and engagement since their launch in 2020. Similarly, you may want to try going live every so often – while this may seem intimidating at first, it’s a great way to get candid with your followers. Lives allow you to interact with them in real-time as you show off some of the behind the scenes of your products or simply get some feedback about what they’re loving and what they would like to see more of. Plus, with the introduction of Live Rooms – a feature that allows you to go Live on Instagram with up to three people – back in March, Instagram Lives now makes it easy to get collaborative with influencers/affiliates or other brands. Try incorporating these tools into your social media strategy as a way to engage with your following in a more personal, direct way, that will likely result in greater brand loyalty going forward.

Get on the algorithm’s good side

Image credit: Instagram

Don’t be tempted to recycle content from TikTok – while we know you want to maximise the potential reach of your content, Instagram has stated that their algorithm for reels has been tailored to deprioritise content that is low-resolution or visibly-recycled from other apps (for example, sporting the trademark TikTok watermark), making these reels less likely to be seen by potential audiences. Thankfully the platform has been very transparent about what makes a reel stand out from the rest. According to Instagram, brands and creators should post Reels that: 

  • Are entertaining and fun (i.e. delights people, grabs their attention, makes them laugh, or has a fun surprise or twist) 
  • Are inspiring (i.e. starts a trend that others can easily participate in) 
  • Use creative tools like text, filter, or camera effects 
  • Use vertical video 
  • Use music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio you create or find on Reels 
  • Are experimental! Try something new, be yourself, and see what works for you 

On the other hand, they urge you to try and avoid uploading any reels that: 

  • Are blurry due to low-resolution 
  • Are visibly recycled from other apps (i.e, contains logos or watermarks) 
  • Are uploaded with a border around them 
  • Have the majority of the image covered by text 
  • Do not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines 

It’s a lot of factors to consider, but the fact that Instagram has been so open about what their algorithm is prioritising means that you can use it to your advantage to make sure your content reaches as many people, new and old, as possible. Looking for some info? You can get a feel for what Instagram is looking for here, along with some handy tutorials.

Keywords and hashtags are about to become your new best friend

Image credit: Press Loft – Created on STUDIO

Another feature that they are hoping to double down on is introducing new forms of recommendations. We’ve already started to see suggested and sponsored posts pop up on our feeds every so often, but it looks like this is a feature that we’ll be seeing more of across the app as a way of exposing users to new creators, brands and topics based on their activity. 

If up until this point you’ve been using hashtags without much thought, it may be time to sit down and establish a strategy, pulling together a bank of relevant hashtags that you can pick from to increase your reach. The best way to do this is to break your hashtag bank into three categories relating to: Brand (hashtags relevant to you), user (your desired audience), and content (content pillars, such as travel, food, skincare, etc.). By using relevant, targeted hashtags, your account is more likely to grow and be discovered by new audiences, and with the help of these new recommendation tools your hashtags are becoming as important as ever in increasing your reach. 

The bottom line…

While yes, things are changing on the platform, these changes do not mean that everything up until this point – feed posts, stories, hashtags, etc. – are suddenly going to become irrelevant. They will still play a vital part in establishing your brand identity and allowing you to get creative with the platform. But as Instagram as a whole leans more towards video, it may be time to adjust your strategy to incorporate more of this type of content so that you and your brand can stay ahead of the game.

Not sure where to begin with you content? Press Loft STUDIO has loads of different templates for you to choose from for feeds, stories, posters and more. Plus, you can download a thread of images to create your own gif format online if you want to try your hand at more animated content!

What is Press Loft?

Press Loft; is a PR platform specialising in the home, gift and lifestyle sectors that helps thousands of brands to get their products into the press. Their PR tools allow companies to easily secure press coverage and quality backlinks for SEO by connecting with their network of 20,000+ journalists, bloggers, and influencers. Get free press coverage – take a 60-day free trial (available to new customers only).