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Instagram No Longer (Just) A Photo-Sharing App: Just The Facts

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“We’re no longer just a square photo-sharing app,” announced Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, in a video on the social media platform, posted June 30. The site, on which tens of billions of photos have been posted, is looking around at the competition and plotting a course for the future, inclusive of new advertising and creator opportunities. “At Instagram we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: creators, video, shopping and messaging,” explained Mosseri on the Instagram pivot.

How Does Instagram Plan To Be More Than Just A Photo-Sharing App?

Much of what Mosseri shared in the announcement isn’t surprising, and much of the announced emphasis on creators, video, online shopping and messaging is an extension of features and enhancements that Instagram has been rolling out for several years, including Reels, Shops and Drops. Mossieri did delve further however, explaining:

Creators: Instagram wants to help creators “make money,” citing the shift from “institutions to individuals.” Social media platforms across the spectrum, including Twitter and Snapchat, have widely touted new initiatives to lure creators to their platforms. 

Video: Understanding how important it has been for all social media platforms, Instagram wants to “lean into” video even more. Mosseri cites the competition of TikTok and YouTube, and internal data that says Instagram users want to be entertained when visiting the platform, as reasons for the evolving role of video at Instagram.

Shopping: Noting the shift from offline to online buying during the pandemic, Instagram wants to capitalize on the trend. Social commerce has become increasingly popular in recent years, with the growth of live streams, in-app purchases and digital storefronts.

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Messaging: Without delving into much detail, messaging is an area Instagram wants to explore as many users move away from communicating with their contacts in posts and Stories, “preferring messaging,” according to Mosseri.

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How Does Instagram Plan To Implement These Changes In The Near Future?

As Instagram begins to implement its new plans moving forward, the platform is testing “recommendations,” previously unseen content that will pop up in users’ feeds, which users can opt to see more or less of. Video in particular will be a focus of Instagram’s experimentation in the coming months, with Mosseri noting that “full-screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile first” videos are all a part of what’s to come.

What Do The Instagram Changes Mean For Advertisers?

The rise in social media use during the pandemic encompassed a range of consumer behaviors, from more shopping and product research to more young people getting their news from sites like TikTok and Instagram. Robust social media strategies, organic and paid, have become essential for brands and advertisers. The changes ahead for Instagram are reflective of consumer behaviors and, although much is still to come, it’s likely the changes at Instagram could also meet the evolving needs of advertisers. The Instragram-wide updates and enhancements may offer more advertising opportunities and potentially higher impressions, engagement and conversions. 

In this episode of “Quick Questions With Kathy,” DMS CMO Kathy Bryan interviews DMS Chief Media Officer Jonathan Katz to get his insight on why short-form videos, enjoyed by social media users, are so good at attracting and engaging audiences. 

Are You Looking For New Ways To Reach Targeted Audiences?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) is a leading technology-enabled, data-driven digital performance advertising solutions provider connecting consumers and advertisers. Contact DMS today to learn how our first-party data asset, proprietary technology and expansive media reach can help you connect with high-intent consumers.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.


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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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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.

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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.

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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.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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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.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

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.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: 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.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: 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.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: 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.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: 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.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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Social networking websites launch features to encourage users to get boosters

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Facebook Instagram and TikTok are launching new features to encourage people to get their coronavirus booster jabs.

From Friday, users will be able to update their profiles with frames or stickers to show that they have had their top-up jab or aim to when they become eligible.

It follows on from people previously being able to show they have had their first and second jabs on certain social networking websites and apps.

TikTok also held a “grab a jab” event in London earlier this year.

I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones

More than 16 million booster vaccines have now been given across the UK.

People who are aged 40 and above and received their second dose of their vaccine at least six months ago are currently eligible to have their booster.

A new campaign advert is also being launched on Friday, which shows how Covid-19 can build up in enclosed spaces and how to prevent that from happening.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said:  “Getting your booster is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family this winter.

“It is fantastic to see some of the biggest household names further back the phenomenal vaccine rollout, allowing their users to proudly display that they have played their part in helping us build a wall of defence across the country.

“I urge everyone who is eligible – don’t delay, get your vaccine or top-up jab today to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

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