Coming soon to Instagram: a brand new Instagram Stories camera, creator profiles, and donation stickers for Instagram Stories.
Plus, influencers will now be able to tag a brand’s product on their posts, and this summer anyone will be able to design and create their own face filters for Instagram.
But the biggest Instagram update in 2019 isn’t adding anything new — in fact, it’s removing one the most intrinsic values of the app: likes.
Yes, that’s right, Instagram is starting to officially test hiding your like count from both your followers and yourself.
Keep reading to learn more about all the exciting updates Instagram announced at #F82019, the Facebook Developer Conference.
Instagram Feature #1: A Brand New Camera for Instagram Stories
With more than 500 million active users, it’s no surprise that some of the biggest feature announcements at this year’s F8 conference were for Instagram Stories.
The first new feature: a revamped camera design and new camera mode called “Create Mode.”
According to Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, the new camera will include a semicircular mode switcher that makes it easier to find the creative tools we all know and love!
For example, when you’re in Camera Mode, you can swipe right to access the different shooting options, like Boomerang, Superzoom, and Rewind. And if you swipe left, you’ll find all of Instagram Stories’ creative tools, like stickers, GIFs, text, and more.
Also coming is the new Create Mode, which will let users create stories without having to upload a photo or video first. This is great if you’re trying to share a poll or text-based story with your followers!
Instagram Feature #2: Raise Money with the New Donation Sticker for Instagram Stories
Instagram is launching a new donation sticker for Instagram Stories that will let people raise money for nonprofits from within the app.
According to Mosseri, to use this new feature, simply open the camera, take or upload a photo, tap the sticker icon and select the donation sticker from the tray.
You can then search through a list of non-profits and customize your fundraiser using Instagram Stories’ creative tools.
Once it’s live, you can swipe up on your story to view the total amount raised — according to Instagram, 100% of the money you raise will go to the nonprofit you support.
#3: Creator Profiles Are Coming to Instagram: Should You Switch?
As more details emerge about Instagram’s new “creator profile”, a lot of influencers are wondering if they should make the switch!
Like Instagram business profiles, creator profiles will get access to a number of exclusive features and in-depth analytics — but there are some major differences between the two!
For example, while creator profiles will still be able to access their Instagram Insights, they’ll also get access to Instagram Creator Studio on desktop with a wide range of analytics metrics, including engagement stats, when their audience is online, and demographic info.
For the first time ever, creators will also have access to follow/unfollow data, which will make it easier than ever for influencers to see exactly what content is resonating (or isn’t) with their followers!
Additionally, creators will have more DM filtering options, allowing them to prioritize messages from brands and friends, or rank them by relevance or time to make sure they never miss an important request.
The new creator profile will also let influencers designate their “preferred” method of contact, whether that’s email, text, call, or DM.
By giving users with creator accounts more control over how they are contacted, influencers will be able to filter out “cold” messages and spend more time engaging in meaningful interactions with brands they prefer to work with.
While many of the new features offered on Instagram creator profiles are appealing, there are some downsides to making the switch. For example, Instagram creator profiles aren’t connected to the Instagram API, which means they won’t be able to schedule posts automatically to Instagram or use third-party analytics tools.
It’s also rumored that the new profiles will only be available to Instagram influencers who have reached a specific account standing, similar to the 10K follower limit for access to the Instagram Stories swipe-up feature.
Wondering if creator profiles are the right choice for you? Check out our blog post: Should You Switch to an Instagram Creator Profile?
Instagram Feature #**4: You Can Now Buy Products** from Your Favorite Instagram Influencers
Starting next week, Instagram is testing a new dedicated shopping tag that will let any influencer, artist, or celebrity tag an article of clothing they’re wearing so followers can buy that item without ever leaving the Instagram app!
Now, Instagram says “public figures, creators, athletes, publishers, and artists” will gain access to the feature, which will let them tag articles of clothing and let followers buy those items immediately within the app.
So what does this mean for influencer marketing? A lot of $$$.
Until today, influencers had no *direct* way to sell products on Instagram. Sure, they could ask their followers to click the link in their bio or swipe-up on their Instagram Stories, but without the ability to actually tag products in their posts, any sales they generated had to occur outside the Instagram app!
Now with the new shopping tag, influencers can act as real salespeople for the brands they represent, driving purchases directly within Instagram.
It remains to be seen how this new feature will affect how influencers and businesses work together on campaigns.
For example, while it’s common for influencers to promote products in their Instagram posts, they may charge more for sponsored posts with product tags since they require more time to set up and are more directly beneficial to businesses.
Instagram also hasn’t added a revenue-sharing option yet to their checkout feature, but according to a press release from Instagram, both creators and the brands they tag will receive shared insights within Instagram so they can better understand the performance of their shopping posts.
At the moment, the feature is only available to a small group of creators, including Chiara Ferragni, Kim Kardashian, Ronnie Fieg, and more. Businesses also have to be part of the checkout beta in order for creators to tag their products.
Instagram Feature #5: Anyone Will Be Able to Create Their Own Instagram Stories Filters This Summer
If you’ve already jumped headfirst into the AR (“augmented reality”) craze on Instagram, you’ll be happy to know that soon anyone will be able to create their own Instagram Stories filters!
Yes, that’s right! One of the biggest announcements at this year’s F8 conference is that Facebook’s Spark AR Studio (the software that brands and designers use to create Instagram Stories filters) will soon be available for everyone, including both Mac and PC users.
Up until this point, only select designers and brands in the closed beta could create their own custom AR filters for Instagram Stories.
But now that Facebook has opened up Spark AR to more platforms and developers, we expect to see plenty of brands and businesses getting creative with AR effects in the future.
Custom AR effects have already proven to be a massive hit on Instagram. In fact, according to Zuckerberg, in the last year alone, more than a billion people have used Spark AR effects in Facebook apps, including Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, and Portal.
And as a business, there’s just so much to gain from creating your own AR effects for Instagram!
For example, if you’re a cosmetic brand, you could create an AR filter to let your followers “try on” your products like Kylie Cosmetics did with their Kylie’s Lip Kit filter.
We’ve also seen fashion brands like Off-White use AR filters to let their followers “try on” products from their collection.
Creating your own AR effects for Instagram is also a great growth hack because in order to access the filter, you’ll need to either follow the brand on Instagram or visit their profile to try it out!
This is the feature that I am most excited about, while I was at F8 I got a hands-on experience with AR Studio and honestly…creating these AR effects are not that hard! This could be an amazing way to get children involved with STEM, and the fact that even those with no design knowledge can see their creation live on the Instagram app is not only cool – it’s super empowering!
#6: Instagram is “Officially” Testing Hiding Like Counts
Earlier this month, images revealing that Instagram was testing a new feature that would hide the like count on people’s photos began to circulate online.
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
as stated in the app: "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get" pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
An Instagram spokesperson quickly dispelled the rumors, telling The Verge, “We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.”
Well, as it turns out, not only is Instagram *officially* testing the new feature, but it’s getting a trial run in Canada later this week!
According to Adam Mosseri, the new feature is part of Facebook’s goal of making social media a less “pressurized environment.”
“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they get on Instagram, and a bit more time connecting with people they really care about,” Mosseri said at Tuesday’’s keynote.
“As you scroll through your feed, there are no like counts. You can see who liked a photo or video, you can tap through it, if you have the time you can add them all up yourself, the owner can see how many people liked the photo but only if they ask.”
This is, of course, represents a massive change to how Instagram and its users function. The number of likes a post gets, while not the best measure of “success,” has long been a kind of status symbol on the platform.
The “hiding” of like counts seems to be purely about helping users share more authentic content without getting caught up in competition.
Zuckerberg said as much during his keynote, stating “We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people.”
It will be interesting to see how receptive people are to the new feature — if the trial goes according to plan, we’ll never see another world record-breaking egg.
New Instagram Feature #7: “Away Mode” and Other Tests to Combat Bullying
Facebook also announced that it’s testing several new features to combat bullying — and while Adam Mosseri explained that some of these features “may never see the light of day,” he emphasized that Instagram cares about this issue deeply and is “trying to lead the fight against online bullying.”
The first feature that was discussed is an “Away Mode” that lets you opt out of Instagram during sensitive periods of your life, like if you’re moving or getting over a break-up.
This would give users a chance to step away from Instagram activity and notifications temporarily, without having to delete their account.
Mosseri also discussed a new “nudge” feature that aims to stop bullying before it even starts.
How it works: if Instagram notices that a user is about to leave a negative comment, the app will “nudge” that user, giving them a warning before they’re able to post.
The feature stops short of actually censoring negative comments, but according to Mosseri, Instagram hopes the extra step could provide the person with the opportunity to stop and think about what they’re posting.
As always, we’ll keep you in the loop as we learn more about these new Instagram features and when they’re set to release.
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