Instagram is on quite the roll this year, reaching 400 million daily active users on Stories and 1 billion monthly active users overall. It’s currently the fastest-growing social platform, growing 5x faster than any other network and expected to hit 930 million users by the end of 2021. To match its rapid growth, Instagram is also releasing new features at breakneck speed. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if you missed a few of them. That’s why we’ve provided a roundup of the most important new features from the past few months that marketers should know.
Late last month, Instagram began testing recommended posts in the Feed as a new way for users to discover relevant content. Users see these recommended posts after they’re “all caught up” on the accounts they follow, giving them an opportunity to follow new brands and users.
Instagram took another step in the direction of social commerce by bringing its shoppable tags from the main Feed to Stories. As Instagram revealed in a recent survey, 1 in 3 daily users have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Stories. Now, brands can add click-to-shop tags to their Stories content to offer these interested shoppers more information about their products and drive sales.
With its rollout of the questions sticker in Instagram Stories, the platform introduced another way for users and marketers alike to interact with their audiences. The sticker allows anyone to pose questions to the accounts they follow, providing new opportunities for brands to drive engagement and increase transparency among their followers.
By adding Topic Channels to its Explore feature, Instagram has made it easier for users to browse through content and accounts they don’t follow—and made it easier for brands to boost their discoverability and connect with users via their interests and passions. Instagram Explore now groups content by personalized topics (e.g. Beauty, Sports, Fashion), giving users a better way to navigate the page—and potentially stumble upon a new fashion trend or beauty brand.
Instagram now lets users add content that @mentions them to their own Stories as a sticker that tags the original creator. This ability to re-share Stories is especially useful for brands, providing opportunities to gather user-generated-content or facilitate influencer partnerships.
Following its limited rollout of native payment, Instagram released new action buttons with a select group of partners. Through the buttons, users can now “Get Tickets,” “Start Order,” and more, further turning Instagram’s ability to drive discoverability into business results.
As part of its “Time Well Spent” initiative, Facebook released new tools for users to manage their time and usage across both Facebook and Instagram. On Instagram, users can tap “Your Activity” to view stats about their average time spent on the app, as well as mute push notifications and set a daily reminder about their ideal time limit. As social media users become increasingly wary of spending too much time on platforms, these tools aim to help people feel more positive about their usage and the platforms themselves.