Time flies in a jiffy when you keep scrolling through the never-ending reels and stories on Instagram. To be honest, it is quite an addiction that is taking over, not just the Gen Z but people of all ages. Instagram hasn’t stopped there. With innovations and updates that are sure to keep one engrossed and hooked, Meta’s photo sharing app has grown exponentially in form and dimension.
Regular updates and new Instagram features ensure that no moment is left uncaptured. From timely stories to news, images, videos and lives, Instagram is undoubtedly a one-stop platform to get all the information from around the world. Needless to say, with the rise of the reels format the entire Instagram app has received a boost like no other. Enabling Instagram users to portray themselves in unique and distinct ways as well as creating waves with new trends, it has revolutionised the way we perceive the photo-sharing app.
Making things all the more creative yet keeping the user-friendly aspect intact, Instagram features and updates have silently impacted our social media experience in ways that are hard to explain. No wonder, giant world corporate houses, news outlets and celebrated personalities all keep coming back to their Instagram accounts to reach the audience directly.
The COVID-19 pandemic too has impacted the launch of a new Instagram features and how the audience might react to it. The Instagram story became a powerful way to spread information as it takes Instagram users directly to their audience. Similarly, in the past years, the platform has added metrics to the Instagram insights which has helped content creators gauge audience engagement and traffic. Several Instagram features also aim at ensuring teen safety and controlling the content they watch.
Ushering these updates and changes for both iOS and Android, Meta is constantly on the lookout to make the experience anything but mundane. So, the next time you get a notification to update the app, go ahead, install it and never miss out on capturing that Insta-worthy moment in the most perfect way for your Insta fam.
Check out some of the recent Insta updates in case you have missed
New logo and typography
To revamp its visual representation and create more inclusive and immersive experiences for its users, Instagram announced a slew of changes in its colours, typeface, logo and other brand elements.
As per the Instagram blog, the gradient has been reimagined with “vibrant colours to make it feel illuminated and alive, and to signal moments of discovery.” Instagram Sans, a new typeface has been added keeping the brand’s “heritage in mind and also includes multiple global scripts.”
The redesign is more content-forward and “celebrates creativity, simplicity and self-expression.” Instagram used an innovative 3D modelling process to make its gradient feel more vibrant and alive.
The new typeface Sans will be included in Stories and Reels with an aim to make it accessible to all creators and community members globally. Instagram partnered with language experts in different countries to make the typeface available in global scripts like Arabic, Thai and Japanese. Interestingly, the typeface was inspired by Instagram’s logo and wordmark.
On 16 March, Meta announced new parental control and supervision elements for both Instagram and Quest VR with an aim to oversee children using its social media apps.
While this supervision will require consent from the users i.e. teens, parents will be able to track which accounts their children follow and set limits on the time spent.
The aim is to eventually enable parents to keep an eye on their kids’ activities pan-Meta’s services from one central place. The Instagram supervision tools have been activated in the US and will be rolled out globally in the coming months.
Moderate your lives
Streamers + Mods = Dynamic Duo ❤️
We’re launching Live Moderator on Instagram Live, where creators can assign a mod and give them the power to:
✅ Report comments
✅ Remove viewers from Live
✅ Turn off comments for a viewer pic.twitter.com/S9j7s4dInB
— Instagram (@instagram) March 11, 2022
Instagram live has been around since 2016 and has evolved to shape our social media experience. What can be a better way to interact with followers, audience and viewers than directly from the Instagram app?
Now, in order to make the experience more professional and organised, a new Instagram feature allows the host to appoint a moderator for the Live. The moderator will be able to report comments, remove viewers from the stream, as well as turn off comments for a specific viewer. This new feature will help Instagram be at par with YouTube and Twitch where moderating a Live has become quite a regular thing. This is also a much needed feature as trolls and nasty comments tend to become rampant during live sessions.
It is extremely easy to add a moderator. Simply tap on the three dots in the comment bar during a Live and from there the host can choose a moderator from a list of suggested accounts. One can also use the search bar to search for a specific account.
Enhanced tags for creators
There has never been a time which has seen such a rise in collaborations and creators coming together to take the culture forward. Hence giving credits and acknowledging creators for their original work and ideas has never been more important and pronounced than today.
On 7 March, Instagram launched enhanced tags to make it easier for creators to receive credit for their work. An official Instagram statement read, “For many Black and underrepresented creators, crediting is an entryway to building a sustainable career as a creator, while combating cultural appropriation and ensuring the world knows who is driving culture.” New features like this help budding creators to get noticed and discovered by the ever-growing community. It further says, “Enhanced tags allow a creator’s self-designated profile category on their professional accounts to be displayed in their People Tag, so that people can share and view a creator’s specific contribution to a photo or video post.”
To top it all, this Instagram feature is extremely easy to add. Simply open the Instagram app and tap the (+) in the top right corner to create a post. After adding images or videos, complete all creative edits and hit Next. You can write a caption and once tap on ‘Tag People.’ Select ‘Add Tag’ and select the contributors. Tap on ‘Show Profile Category’ to display the creator category. Tap on done to finish and then share.
In aid of hearing
Today the world of social media is pushing its horizons to make an all-inclusive environment. To help Instagram users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, the app has put in place a very important and new feature that will give them all the experiences of Instagram videos.
We’re excited to share auto-generated captions for IG Feed videos.
Adding captions makes Instagram more accessible for those in the deaf/hard-of-hearing communities🧏🦻. You will have the option to turn captions on (or off).
Available in 17 languages (with more to come). pic.twitter.com/DiaFa95o7U
— Instagram (@instagram) March 1, 2022
With the help of this Instagram feature all feed videos will have the option of adding auto-generated captions in 17 languages. There is also an option to turn it off as well. This, 1 March, announcement comes as a positive change which makes the social media platform accessible to all. A similar feature exists for Instagram stories which have a caption sticker. It also helps Instagram be at par with TikTok which introduced the feature in the Spring of 2021.
Reel in your stories
It will not be an exaggeration if we say that reels dominate our social media feed. Carousel of images, videos or a mix of both with synced audio in the background, reels really does set the trends and make you instantly want to take the ride.
Did you know you can create reels out of your Instagram stories? And it’s just a click away. Simply click on a story highlight and click on ‘Create’ on the bottom left corner. You can then easily add audio and sync images accordingly to create the most fantastic reels out of your precious memories.
This is not limited only to the images featured in the highlight. Users can remove and add other images from their camera roll to give it a more personal touch.
End of IGTV app and In-Stream video ads
Reels have completely changed the way we view Instagram and there’s no two ways about it. Creators and influencers have embraced reels in a way that today Instagram is unimaginable without them. Almost everyday a new trend emerges and the short videos permit users to join, share reviews and spread the word around.
Building on this line and strengthening the reel power, Instagram announced the closing of its In-Stream video ads and standalone IGTV app on 28 February.
Creators who monetised their content using In-Stream video ads, aka IGTV ads, will be provided with a temporary monthly payment based on recent earnings. The strive to simplify the video experience has been on the radar for a long time. In 2021, the platform clubbed all feed videos and IGTV videos under one umbrella Instagram video which can be viewed on the main app itself. This has opened up a corridor to easily create, find and explore content on the Instagram app itself.
Upcoming changes and updates will focus on monetising reels which will have ads and help in generating revenues. Instagram said, “We believe this makes it easier for people to have all these features and abilities in the main app, and are excited to continue to simplify and improve video in the main Instagram app over the coming months.”
Like the story
In February 2022, Instagram rolled out an update which enabled users to like stories without sending a DM. This implies that you can ‘like’ an image or video shared as a story and it won’t appear on the user’s DM list. The like notification will appear on their viewers’ list below the story itself. Just where one sees the list of people who have viewed their story.
This was announced by Instagram head Adam Mosseri via a Twitter video as a move to keep your Instagram account decluttered.
3D avatars are coming to Stories and DMs. 🎉
With this update, we’re bringing more face shapes, skin shades, new expressions and many more options to better express who you are. 💜 pic.twitter.com/AejMChDfWF
— Instagram (@instagram) January 31, 2022
Metaverse is a concept hard to ignore today and taking cues from it, Instagram has introduced 3-D avatars that can be featured in stories and DMs. The news was announced on 31 January on Twitter.
For a more inclusive and better representation of diverse users, Meta also introduced a slew of new features to the avatars including new facial shapes and expressions, skin shades and assisted devices. It is available only to users in the US, Canada and Mexico, albeit work is in progress to launch this new feature globally.
Meta also aims at making the avatars available on Facebook and Messenger in the coming few months.
Plan ‘Your activity’
On 8 February, Instagram announced that it has begun to roll out this new feature for all. Aimed at making the Insta experience all the more smooth and less cluttered, the feature allows Instagram users to view and manage all their activities in one place.
“People will now be able to bulk manage (delete, archive) their content (posts, stories, IGTV and Reels) and their interactions (comments, likes, story sticker reactions, etc.),” read an official Instagram statement. It also goes a step further and lets users search for previous comments, likes and story replies from particular date ranges.
Find the ‘Your activity’ option in the menu at the top right corner of your profile.
Instagram is a growing hub for young creators and influencers who have grasped the very essence of viewers’ engagement. To maximise this, Instagram, in January 2022, introduced a feature to not only schedule Lives but also make stories and feeds out of it.
Scheduled Lives will also appear as badges on the creator’s profiles, below the bio. Interested followers and visitors can simply click on the badges to subscribe for Live reminders.
🎉 Subscriptions 🎉
Subscriptions allow creators to monetize and become closer to their followers through exclusive experiences:
– Subscriber Lives
– Subscriber Stories
– Subscriber Badges
We hope to add more creators to this test in the coming months. More to come. ✌🏼 pic.twitter.com/SbFhN2QWMX
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) January 19, 2022
It seems like Instagram has opened a Pandora’s box with the launch of the subscribing option to Insta Lives. Revenue generation, now, is solely dependent on content instead of reach or followers count.
The feature brings in three different types of content. First is subscribers’ specific live that allows creators to go live only for their subscribers. It lets a more niche audience view the content and gives incentive to followers to subscribe and access exclusive content. Second, subscribers will get stories posted only for them. A purple ring tells subscribers that the content is for exclusive viewing. Finally, subscribers themselves get purple badges that sets them apart in the creator’s DMs and comments.
Instagram boss Adam Mosseri announced on 19 January that it is for selected creators in the US but the company is working to make it globally available.
We love seeing our community get creative with a Remix moment on Reels. 😎
Starting today, we are rolling out a feature where you can Remix any new public video that you see on Instagram. 🙌
Videos posted prior to this launch will not be affected. pic.twitter.com/X8zH7QV8wS
— Instagram (@instagram) January 20, 2022
2021 saw an extremely popular feature that got us all occupied during the COVID-19 lockdown. To let creators and users hop on to new trends’ bandwagon and share their responses, a new feature was rolled out that enabled them to remix reels that are already posted on Instagram.
But now, Instagram has extended this update to all new public video formats. The app platform announced on 21 January, 2022 and assured that this will not affect videos posted before.
Order of the feed
Moving in a direction to give more autonomy to users and let them decide how they would want posts to appear on their feed, Instagram is testing ways to introduce new feed changes. 2022 started with Mosseri introducing three new options – Home, Favourites, and Following to redesign one’s Insta feed.
Home will keep the whole thing unaltered and will let the algorithm take the call on suggesting posts which it thinks the user might be interested in. Favourite option will show posts from the accounts that the user has classified as favourite and Following will simply show a chronological list of accounts that the user is following.
These changes follow Mosseri’s testimony with the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security in early December that questioned how the app’s algorithm manipulates and suggests posts on a user’s feed.
(Main image credit: Erik Lucatero/ @eriklucatero/ Unsplash, feature image credit: Solen Feyissa/ @solenfeyissa/ Unsplash)