As part of its broader shift towards video content, in order to maximize user engagement, Instagram is testing two new options that would further integrate its various video functions, following the merger of IGTV into its broader Instagram Video offering.
First off, Instagram is testing new, longer video uploads in Stories, with videos of up to a minute in length no longer being cut down into smaller chunks.
As you can see in this screenshot, posted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, this new notification is currently sitting in the back-end of the Instagram app, which will eventually alert users to the update.
That’ll essentially enable you to upload full Reels clips to your Stories. Reels clips were extended to 60 seconds back in July, and with this expansion in Stories, that’ll mean that you can just upload your whole Reel to Stories as well, or instead of to the specific Reels feed.
Which could make this second update in testing somewhat obsolete.
As you can see in this example, posted by Ahmed Ghanem (and shared by Matt Navarra), Instagram is also testing a new option that would redirect users to full Reels clips from Stories, when you share your Reels to Stories as well.
Which is designed to raise more awareness of the app’s various video tools, and bring them all together, which is Instagram’s real, broader aim, as it moves further away from its ‘square photo sharing’ roots.
Back in January, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri flagged a coming consolidation of the app’s video products, with a view to streamlining content creation and process, and scaling back the platform’s various tools.
As Mosseri told Decoder:
“We’re looking about how we can – not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram – simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”
Much of the discussion in that podcast chat focused on the challenges posed by TikTok, and how Instagram was looking to adapt. Mosseri noted that TikTok had taken the lead on many fronts, which it’s continued to expand since.
Which is why these new tests make sense. By streamlining the app, that’ll make it easier for Instagram to put more specific focus on the key elements driving the most in-app engagement – specifically Stories and Reels – while also broadening the audience for both through integrated presentation.
Which does also lessen the differentiation between them. But that’s the kind of the point – ideally, Instagram users will eventually be able to log in and see a single stream of the most engaging content in the app, sourced from its various formats, and aligned with their interests, which would then broaden the pool of content that Instagram’s algorithms can draw on to keep users engaged.
On TikTok, you open up to the ‘For You’ feed – a full-screen, immersive, never-ending stream of the videos that the algorithm has picked for you. You can then switch to the ‘Following’ feed (less engaging), or the Live display, the top contents of each will make into your For You feed anyway, and you can search based on trends and keywords.
It’s simple, straightforward, and it ensures that all of the best, most engaging content is highlighted to each person, every time they log in.
On Instagram, you have to tap into Stories and Reels specifically, and while Explore can be good for browsing, its not presented in an up-front stream the way content is shown on TikTok.
This is the problem that Instagram’s looking to solve, reducing friction, confusion and expanding the breadth of content that its system can choose from to keep you glued to the app.
Which is why, eventually, we’ll see the end of the traditional Instagram feed, with Stories and Reels to become the main focus, in a simplified display. The retirement of IGTV was only the start, with these new tests pointing to the next phase of full content integration in the app.
We’ll keep you updated on any progress.
LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August
Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?
This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.
As per LinkedIn:
“As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.”
LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.
Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:
- Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
- Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
- Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
- Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
- Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
- Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
- Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
- Learning Python with Joe Marini
- Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
- Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
- Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
- Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
- Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
- SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
- Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
- Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
- Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
- Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
- Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.
Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.
The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.
Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …
Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.
Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.
Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.
Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.
Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.
Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.
— Yash Joshi (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021
5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android
Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.
You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).
You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.
While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.
We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.
Credit: buffer / app store
Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.
Credit: preview / app store
Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.
Credit: content office / app store
An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.
Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.
Credit: plann / apple store
You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…
Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.
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