This past year has posed some major updates to the visual social platform, Instagram. Updates to content, algorithms, and a logo stirred the pot up with its growing base of users. As with any major overhauls, some are fully embraced and others are kicked to the curb. E-Power wants to share a snapshot of the major updates that Instagram has rolled out so far in 2016!
Recently, Instagram’s team rolled out an impactful update that received much applause, a pinch-to-zoom feature. For being a visual wonderland, images and video are hard to see on some devices. Priding themselves on being primarily mobile, Instagram now allows users to use the common “pinch-to-zoom” gesture to enlarge picture and video content. Don’t get too excited though, both fingers need to be touching the screen to make the post larger, otherwise it automatically resizes itself to its normal 1080px by 1080px size on your screen.
In August 2016, Instagram’s camp rolled out a new feature to its app called Instagram Stories. This Snapchat-like feature caused quite the stir as users found it very similar to the pioneer of cute filters and 24 hour storytelling. Both social platforms have even donned the same “stories” name. Here is a comparison of the features between the two platforms:
|Feature:||Snapchat Stories:||Instagram Stories:|
|Chat||Tap “chat” or swipe up on a story||Tap “send a message” or swipe up on a story|
|Drawings + Emoji’s||Uses a slider tool to choose colors and only has one brush option, Emoji text is more flexible allowing for placement on picture or video||Drawing tools are more advanced with color layout and brush choices, Emoji’s can only be added to the text bar|
|Sharing Photos from Camera Roll||Allows users to share any media saved to memories||Only allows users to share camera roll photos from the last 24 hours|
|Documenting Stories||The camera screen is launched instantly when you open the app||Access the camera for Stories by swiping left from news feed or by tapping the “+” sign on the top left corner|
|Watching Stories||Stories can be accessed by swiping left and are in chronological order||Stories are featured on the top of the news feed in an order of who is closet to the user, determined by an algorithm|
News Feed Algorithm Changes Visibility
Instagram is all about finding which accounts are the most important to users, then prioritizing those posts and Stories above others on news feeds. Instagram shared that people miss 70% of their feeds, sparking a new initiative to share the moments Instagram has decided that users care about first. In March 2016, this social platform rolled out changes to its algorithm that eradicated the straight-forward chronological news feed and implemented a complex algorithm that ranks content based on:
- Timeliness of sharing content
- Relationship to the user posting
- Likelihood of interest in particular pieces of content
An Increase in Video Length
Instagram rolled out an update in March 2016 to increase the length of videos from 15 seconds to 60 seconds, and this was one change that was welcomed with open arms. Why the increase in length to the one minute mark? Of course, Instagram’s team has carefully calculated this one out as well. They saw a 40% increase in video views over just six months, encouraging them to raise the video length. Another interesting initiative they took on was setting a goal to have users finish a video. Forbes sites that viewership dies off around the one minute mark and Instagram wants to keep users in the app and engaged with the content.
Revealing Calls-to-Action in Ads
Instagram is notorious for not having any way to measure metrics beyond the standard likes. Slowly but surely, their platform is working to heighten the sophistication of analytics that are available to measure branded content. When an ad is configured, marketers now have the option to add a call-to-action on their images so users can click through to a website or app. These appear when someone taps on a photo. Beware though, CTAs are strictly for images and not available yet for video advertising.
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