t’s clear that Instagram is not going to slow down with the updates and new features any time soon. They’ve been releasing substantial amounts of new features every month for as long as this post has been going.
Compared to most other platforms, which only roll out updates every so often, it’s particularly impressive. It could also indicate the ever-increasing value Instagram offers to both users and businesses alike.
For our May Instagram Update, Instagram just announced a number of smaller features last week, and we have some new incredible data that shows the importance of Instagram as an advertising platform.
We’re going to go over all this and more (including the new web app!) so let’s get started.
This is my favorite new feature that we got this month. You can actually add “hashtag stickers” to your Instagram stories.
While you could add a hashtag before manually with text, this new feature works a little differently; now, when customers watch your story, they can click on the “See Hashtag” prompt.
When you use this strategically with your branded hashtag or when promoting a hashtag campaign, you can build incredible brand awareness and get interested users to your content to engage with it.
Because the quirky nature of the Stories feature is perfect for the hashtag sticker, it’s a great opportunity to promote a campaign or inspire user generated content (or both).
We’ve got yet another Snapchat-inspired feature! If you miss those flower crowns from Snapchat, you can now get them on your Instagram Story images.
They’ve just announced a total of eight filters, which include glasses, animal features, and several types of crowns. These filters even work with Boomerang content, images, and videos. You can use both your front or back camera.
You can use these filters to show some of your brand’s personality; you can crown your Employee of the Month in a story, for example.
If you love Boomerang, you might like Instagram’s new Rewind format.
This feature lets users take a video with the app’s native camera, and then play it only in “rewind mode.” You can watch a baseball that you threw come zooming into your hands, for example. This feature can be used to create eye-catching illusions that will capture users’ interest immediately.
This, right now, is purely a feature that users can take advantage of; the collections feature lets users compile saved posts into different, you guessed it, collections. These are groups of posts that users can organize their saved content in, so it’s easier to find and revisit at any time. I can already tell you what mine are made up of: a ton of different collections of marketing examples.
These collections, like a users’ saves, are entirely private. That being said, businesses can use this feature to their advantage. They can create collections of:
- User generated content about their brand, which they can use at a later time
- Groups of their own posts (since you can save your own posts) to monitor closely, or that belonged to a certain hashtag campaign
- Examples of great content from other brands that you love and find inspiring
(Almost) Fully Functional Web App
Instagram has been growing quickly (we’ll look at just how quickly in the next section), and they’ve got their eye on continuing that trend. One strategy they’re using to implement that growth in their user base is to offer an Instagram experience without users needing to download the app.
While downloading the app is a breeze for people in locations like the US, where WiFi and 4G LTE data is everywhere, this isn’t a reality for other places in the world.
Users who have more limited data will now be able to access Instagram without needing to actual download or utilize the actual app; there is a web-based version available for Android mobile phones to use, and users can (or will be able to) even upload pictures and posts from within the web-based app.
There’s also a “light-weight” version of the Explore section in the new web app, as Tech Crunch called it, expanding the app’s features even further.
Instagram’s Expanding User Base & Advertising Prominence
And now for our final May Instagram update, we’re going to go over Instagram usage information. This isn’t a feature update, but it gives us valuable insight into why we need to be channeling so much effort into the platform.
Instagram now has more than 700 million users. This is a substantial number, and may even rank them above Twitter; they’re definitely ranked significantly higher than Snapchat.
This is especially true considering that Instagram Stories has more than 200 million daily users, which is more than Snapchat’s entire user base. This means there’s a huge audience there, just waiting to connect with you.
It’s also worth noting that Instagram really has made its name in the marketing world. Instagram now has more than 1 million advertisers vying for users’ attention every single month. Even better? A study from #Hashoff found that Instagram is the #1 platform for influencer marketing.
What does all this mean? Brands and businesses have flocked to the platform because of its rapidly growing, high engaging, high converting audience. The competition may drive up ad costs, and it can make it harder to get users attention. What this boils down to is that our content has to be exceptionally fantastic every single time, and using segmented audiences for Instagram Ads can help give you some leverage against your competitors.
Did you miss some updates? Keep on reading: we have almost 1 year of monthly updates covered!!!