Doesn’t it seem like there’s a new Instagram feature being released every few weeks?
While Instagram continues to change at a rapid pace (and give users new and fun ways to connect with their audiences!), it’s more important than ever for businesses to stay on top of new features to reach their marketing goals in 2018.
Feeling overwhelmed? We’ve got you covered!
In this post, we rounded-up every new Instagram feature to hit the app in 2018 to help keep your business up-to-date:
Every New Instagram Feature Changing Your Feed
There have been a ton of changes that have affected your Instagram feed this year, from the API update to a new set of tools making shopping and selling easier than ever before!
This year, Instagram is also putting high priority on its users privacy and well-being — making the app a safer place for us to interact with our family, friends, and businesses.
Here is every new Instagram feature and update that is changing the way your feed looks this year:
Instagram API Changes
Before we can dive into all the fun new features, it’s important to cover the API changes that hit the platform in 2018.
Earlier this year, Facebook and Instagram made major changes to their APIs in an effort to protect your data and privacy, and nearly every company that does business on Instagram was affected by these changes.
If you use any apps connected to Instagram, you probably noticed a few changes — and some of your apps may have stopped working altogether!
Here are a few things that were changed with Instagram’s new API:
Instagram bots are officially dead. If you were using any bots to follow and unfollow accounts or like Instagram posts for you, they’ve most likely stopped working.
Your Instagram “likes” are now private, meaning other companies won’t be able to tell what posts you’ve liked or not. This mainly affected shopping apps that kept track of your interests were based on your Instagram activity.
Apps that help you analyze your Instagram followers, or someone else’s followers, no longer work. This includes any apps that showed when someone unfollowed you.
If you’re using an app to search for user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram (like Later’s Search by Hashtag feature), it’s capabilities will be a bit more limited. Since Instagram likes are now private, you can now only search for UGC by hashtag.
You will no longer be able to post or delete comments from anywhere except with Instagram with a personal account. This means f you want to use community management features like Later’s Conversations, you’ll need to switch to an Instagram business profile.
Check out our post, The Instagram API is Changing: Here’s What It Means for You to learn more!
Automatically Schedule Instagram Posts
One of the most exciting Instagram updates this year was the ability to automatically schedule Instagram posts!
This was also a result of the changes to the API, giving Instagram business profiles the ability to schedule single photo and video posts to Instagram without the use of push notifications.
Now you don’t have to interrupt your busy workday or stop what you’re doing to post to Instagram, just schedule your posts and let us do the rest!
Note: The Instagram API limits auto publishing to single photo and video posts, which means that carousel posts will still need to use Later’s “notifications” publishing method.
Need help setting up your Later account for auto publishing to Instagram? Check out our step-by-step help guide here!
The New Instagram Algorithm
The new Instagram algorithm has arrived and Instagram is finally shedding light on how the algorithm chooses what photos and videos show up in your feed!
As we explained in our recent post, the Instagram algorithm tries to predict what photos and videos are most important to you, and uses three main factors to determine this: interest, timeliness, and relationship.
Instagram’s main goal is to help you see content from your “friends and family,” and with the algorithm, they say that people now see 90% of posts from their friends and family, instead of 50% when it was the chronological feed.
Instagram also use frequency, following, and usage as factors to determine what content is delivered to your feed, adding to their efforts to show you more of what matters most.
Check out The New Instagram Algorithm Has Arrived – Here’s How it Works to learn more about the latest algorithm change and how it will affect your Instagram marketing strategy!
Mute the Accounts You Follow
Last month, Instagram introduced a new “mute” feature that lets you mute posts from accounts you follow without having to actually unfollow those accounts. This feature gives users way more control over the content they see in their feed, which is obviously a big priority for Instagram in 2018.
If you want to make sure you’re seeing more of the content you care about without ruining any relationships, this is a great feature to help you clean-up your feed!
Add Username and Hashtag Links to Your Instagram Bio
You can now turn profile usernames and hashtags within your Instagram bio into clickable hyperlinks!
Now, when you include a “#” or “@” in your bio, it will automatically become a clickable link that can lead visitors to a hashtag or other Instagram profile.
Just keep in mind that adding hashtags in your bio does not make your profile searchable within those hashtags, so it’s probably best to stick to using your own branded hashtag in your bio!
If you didn’t have enough reasons before, this new Instagram feature is a great reason for businesses to give their profile an upgrade!
Time-Spent Usage Insights
Instagram is making strides to create a safer community, which means investing in both their users public and personal well-being. Instagram is making strides to create a safer community, which means investing in both their users public and personal well-being.
Recently, a developer found code hidden away in the latest version of the app that points to an upcoming “time spent” feature, showing users how long they’ve spent on the app.
Instagram is likely making this move in response to the time well spent movement and to place greater priority on the mental health of their community. By being transparent about how much time is spent on social apps, users can better monitor and manage their time spent scrolling (or as some have put it, “zombie scrolling.”
Also to protect its community, Instagram is doubling down on its efforts to put an end to cyberbullying on the app. According to a recent announcement from the F8 Conference, Instagram will soon be able to hide accounts that are promoting hate speech or harassing others.
Instagram also announced that they’re creating a filter that protect users from bullying comments, stating at F8 that “This new filter hides comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health.”
Instagram will also be alerted when there are repeat complaints about a user on the platform.
Instagram Shoppable Posts
It was only a matter of time, but Instagram has finally become a full-fledged ecommerce platform with their new Shoppable Posts feature, which is now globally available to users in 9 different countries.
While this feature was limited to a selected group of retailers in 2017, now that it’s expanded and available to all Instagram business accounts, we expect the trend of “shopping on Instagram” only to grow from here.
Check out How to Make Money with Instagram Shoppable Posts for everything you need to know about creating a shoppable feed.
If you’re a small business or publisher looking for an easy way to drive traffic back to your website, using a feature like Linkin.bio might work best for you! It’s the perfect tool for driving traffic from your Instagram account back to your product pages, blog, or website.
Existing Instagram Posts Can Be Turned Into Ads
Previously, the only way to run an organic post as an ad was by using the in-app “Promote” button. After the long awaited update, Instagram is now rolling out a new feature allowing users to turn existing organic Instagram posts into ads within Power Editor and Ads Manager.
According to WeRSM, “The feature, currently rolling out to “all global advertisers” within “next few weeks” will be available for the Brand Awareness, Post Engagement, Reach, and Video Views objectives, and will be available in “auction buying” in both Ads Manager and Power Editor.”
Note: At the moment, you will only be able to create an ad from Single Video and Single Photo Feed Posts. Carousel posts, Instagram Stories, branded content, and Instagram Shopping posts are not supported.
While this feature is still slowing rolling out, it’s expected to be available to all users by the end of June.
Every New Instagram Feature on Instagram Stories
It’s obvious that Instagram is on its way to becoming a one-stop shop for both creating and sharing visual content with your community.
How do we know this?
Just look at the number of creative tools and incentives that Instagram has released for Instagram Stories in 2018!
Stories are now becoming an indispensable tools for businesses trying create engaging content while reaching their marketing goals.
Here is every Instagram feature released on Instagram Stories this year:
Type Mode & New Fonts
This February, Instagram introduced “Type” mode, adding a new way to add personality to your Instagram Stories!
You can also use the new font styles when adding text to any photo or video, which can help your message stand out and keep users tapping through your Instagram Stories!
Type is also a great tool for brands and businesses to keep their customers up-to-date. If you’ve got an important announcement to make, a coupon code, event, or promotion to share, Type will make the process quicker and easier than ever before.
Click here to discover creative ways to use Type mode to add personality to your Instagram Stories content!
Add GIFs on Instagram Stories
Earlier this year, Instagram teamed up with GIPHY to build a library of high-quality GIFs on Instagram Stories. Now you can add fun, expressive GIF stickers to any photo or video in your story!
Adding GIFs on Instagram Stories is easy — when you tap to add a sticker to a photo or video in stories, you’ll now see a new GIF option. Tap it and you’ll find a library full of hundreds of thousands of moving stickers powered by GIPHY.
Using this feature in a consistent way can add a ton of personality to your Instagram Stories and help you build a loyal following. You can get a step-by-step Instagram tutorial about how to add GIFs to Instagram Stories here.
Mention Stickers to Tag Accounts in Your Stories
Instagram also added a new “mention sticker” to go along with their location and hashtag stickers this year.
Previously, users had the option to tag accounts in their stories by typing a users handle after the @ sign. But now you can tag their friends and businesses with a fun and interactive sticker:
Focus Portrait-Mode Camera
This feature will help you achieve look of a professional portrait, without the need of any fancy equipment (or iPhone X!).
This new Instagram feature is called Focus, which you’ll find alongside other popular Instagram Stories features like Boomerang and Superzoom. As the name suggests, the feature focuses on a subject’s face while blurring the rest of the photo’s background, creating a professional, depth-of-field effect – and some seriously good selfies.
If you don’t have a professional camera and want to create high-quality stories content, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this feature!
Repost Instagram Stories
Whereas in the past there was no direct way to repost other people’s Instagram Stories, this new feature makes it easy to do!
The new button appears in your Instagram DMs when other accounts tag you in their stories. Clicking the button brings you to the Instagram Stories interface where you can make any edits or simply share it to your own profile.
Rather than having to screenshot the image and create a new story, you can use the repost feature to quickly share content related to your business!
Location Suggestions on Stickers
Now when you add location stickers to your stories, Instagram will suggest locations that were close to where your photo or video was taken.
This means, if you’re posting a photo from a trip a few weeks ago, Instagram will automatically suggest the location your photo was taken while adding your location sticker.
Adding a location sticker to your stories gives you the opportunity to reach tons of new and undiscovered audiences. And if they like what they see, they might even give you a follow!
Re-Share Instagram Posts to Stories
One of the latest Instagram features to hit the app is the ability to share Instagram posts to stories!
Posts shared to Instagram Stories will display the original poster’s username, letting users tap it to check out the original post:
With more and more users shifting their attention to Instagram Stories, users have been using stories to cross-promote their regular posts. Now, instead of including a screenshot of their feed to stories, users can easily share the post with the new re-share feature:
There are a ton of different ways to use this new Instagram feature — whether it’s to share a relatable post or drive attention to a new campaign, re-sharing is a great way to build engagement and get more eyes on your content!
Upload Bulk Photos & Videos to Stories
Instagram recently announced updates to Instagram Stories (currently only available on Android), including the ability to upload multiple photos and videos at once.
Previously, if you wanted to post several photos or videos to your Instagram story, you would have to go through the process for every individual piece of media. Now, when Android users go to upload media, there will be a new icon in the top right corner of the screen.
Once you tap it, your phone’s gallery will display and you can select up to 10 photos and videos to post in one shot!
AR Camera Effects Platform Launches on Instagram
Developers will soon have the ability to create AR filters that Instagram users can feature in their stories! Instagram introduced the Snapchat-like filters last year, but it’s the first time partners are teaming up with Instagram to create their own unique filters:
The new filter platform gives users access to user-designed filters based on the accounts that they follow. According to The Verge, “Instagram will debut new filters through partnerships with Kylie Jenner, BuzzFeed, Ariana Grande, the NBA, Vogue, and others so you can try on Kylie Cosmetics lipsticks through a face filter or add floating effects to your background through a world lens.”.
You’ll have access to these new AR camera effects if you’re following the creator of the filter on Instagram. The AR camera effects will also let users try out filters directly from their friends’ Stories.
Share Songs From Spotify
Want to share your favorite song with your Instagram followers? Now you can!
With this new Instagram feature, you can now share a song you’re listening to or loving directly from the Spotify app!
In the past, Instagram users had to share a screenshot of their favorite song, however, this didn’t make for a very good user-experience since followers couldn’t actually listen to the song.
Now when you share from Spotify, the app will unlock custom cover art stickers for your song. The cover art for the album or playlist you’re sharing will appear in your stories with a link under your name for follower’s to listen in Spotify:
This new Instagram feature is just another way that Instagram is trying to improve the ease-of-use of Instagram Stories.
Share Your GoPro Footage
You can now also share your GoPro videos on your Instagram Stories! This is a game changer for travel bloggers looking to share their content on the go.
“Some of our best stories happen in places or in moments that you’re simply not going to use your smartphone,” said Nick Woodman, GoPro Founder and CEO. “Now that it’s easier to share straight to Instagram Stories, we can’t wait to see what the GoPro community will post.
Sharing to Instagram stories is launching with Spotify and GoPro, with more apps coming soon!
Emoji Slider Polls
The new Emoji Slider acts similar to a poll, letting users pick how much they like or dislike something with an animated emoji on a sliding scale.
When you see an Emoji Slider in a story, just drag the emoji to the left or right and watch it animate as you make your decision:
There are a ton of great ways you can engage with your audience by using the Emoji Slider in your Instagram Stories. Whether you’re looking for input from your customers or simply want to entertain your followers, the new Instagram feature is a fun new way to engage with your audience!
A New Instagram Explore Page
The Instagram Explore page is getting a makeover! Instagram announced the update at F8, giving you a first look at the totally redesigned Instagram Explore page that’s coming soon:
In addition to showing you popular Instagram posts based on what you like, the new Instagram Explore page will also let you browse content by interests via the new “channels” feature.
These channels will be based on your personal interest, so instead of seeing what content Instagram thinks you’re interested in, you’ll be able to actually choose the content category you want to engage with.
In other words, users will have much more control over the content they see, and the new Instagram explore page will also make it easier for Instagram users to find and interact with your business on Instagram!
Instagram hasn’t given specifics about the release date, but says the new Explore page can be expected over the next few weeks.
What do you think of the new Instagram features released in 2018? Let us know in the comments below!
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