Instagram Updates Unleashed: Marketers, Get Ready to Level Up!

Posted on July 5, 2023

Keeping up with the latest Instagram changes can be challenging for marketers. It’s important to stay informed about updates that directly impact your marketing efforts. Below are the significant updates on Instagram that I feel matter to marketers.

Expansion of Instagram Content API

Instagram Business accounts have long been able to publish content through third-party apps using the Instagram Content API. However, this feature was not available for Creators until recently. Meta (formerly Facebook) has now opened access to Creator account holders, allowing them to publish content through third-party apps as well.

Moreover, the platform has increased the total number of posts that can be published via the API from 25 to 50. If you use a third-party app to publish Reels on Instagram, you’ll soon have access to two new features: the ability to tag one or more people in a post as you publish it, and the option to change the name of any original audio you own.

The limitations on the Instagram Content API have been a matter of concern for marketers, creators, and third-party tool developers. The expanded access for Creators and the new features are positive developments. Renaming original audio is particularly advantageous as it allows you to use keywords that reflect your services or products, making your content more searchable.

Instagram Content Ranking

For years, Instagram kept the secrets of its algorithm closely guarded. However, the platform has started to provide more transparency regarding what influences content ranking. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, recently shared insights on how content is ranked in various sections of the platform, including feed posts, Reels, Stories, and Explore.

The primary factor determining the content you see in your feed and Stories is proactive engagement. This means that the content you consume, the accounts you engage with, and the people you communicate with play a crucial role in determining what appears in your feed.

Past behavior influences the content suggestions in the Explore and Reels feeds. For example, if you frequently watch videos on a particular topic, you’re likely to see more related videos suggested to you. Similarly, if you regularly engage with carousel posts, you’ll come across more carousel posts in your feed.

When Instagram heavily promoted Reels, many marketers assumed that the algorithm would prioritize more photos in the feed. However, the reality is that the algorithm shows you more of the content you actively engage with, whether it’s photos or Reels. It’s essential for marketers to recognize that Stories are limited to followers, offering a valuable opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. Make the most of this feature to engage strategically with your existing followers who are already familiar with your brand.

Instagram Ads

Instagram has introduced a couple of updates related to ads that are relevant to marketers.

Instagram Search Results Ads: The platform has been testing ads in search results, clearly labeling them as “Sponsored” to distinguish them from organic search results. Now, marketers can utilize the Marketing API via third-party tools to place these ads.

Instagram’s focus on improving search functionality and discoverability is evident with the introduction of ads in search results. The platform has been actively working on enhancing search features, such as displaying trending topic chips below the search bar. The new ad format further emphasizes Instagram’s commitment to becoming more search-friendly.

Instagram Channels

After a global rollout of broadcast Channels, users can now search for or browse their DM tab for Channels they follow or want to follow. The Inbox now has a dedicated Channels tab, and Instagram is testing additional features to enhance the one-to-many messaging tool. Some of these features include Question prompts, Channel expiration dates and times, the ability to add a moderator, and the option to share Stories.

Channels offer great potential for creators, marketers, and businesses to communicate and share information with their audiences. Combining Channels with features like expiration dates allows for effective use in scenarios such as conferences. Organizers can share key details without being overwhelmed by comments and spam. Attendees benefit from an uncluttered feed that makes it easy to find relevant information during the event, which then disappears once the conference concludes.

Reel Downloading

Users in the United States now have the ability to download Reels published by public accounts and share them on other platforms. Although this feature is in its early stages, it can be disabled at the account level. While it is unclear whether the downloaded videos will feature a watermark, an example shared by Adam Mosseri showed an Instagram logo and the username of the account.

This feature has generated excitement among account holders, as it provides a way to extend their reach by sharing Instagram content on other platforms. However, concerns exist regarding the potential misuse of downloaded content by bad actors. While accounts can disable this functionality, a more effective solution would be to have it disabled by default, allowing users to enable it for specific Reels. As advised by Chelsea Peitz, it’s generally best not to impose extra restrictions on your account until a specific problem arises.

In conclusion, staying updated on Instagram’s latest updates is crucial for marketers. The expansion of the Instagram Content API, changes in content ranking algorithms, new ad options, the introduction of Channels, and the ability to download Reels all present opportunities for marketers to enhance their Instagram marketing strategies. By leveraging these updates effectively, marketers can maximize their reach and engagement on the platform.


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