In spite of what plenty of people perhaps had hoped, 2021 didn’t bring about as much change as we expected. That being said, there was one social media platform that embraced change like no other last year. Instagram.
Progressing from the very unpopular decision to move the placement of the home button and having introduced reels to compete with TikTok in 2020, the pressure was definitely on Instagram to please its users – and it did not disappoint. So without further ado, here is a bitesized recap of all the changes Instagram brought in 2021.
1. Professional Dashboard
As social media marketers, we were super happy about this. A tab within the app providing us with the main tools and resources to help understand our audience better? Yes, please!
2. Suggested Posts
Something that we were not expecting, but aren’t mad about is the suggested posts feature. This obviously helps out with pushing good content out to users similar to your current following organically.
The main issue that we have so far is that the content can become repetitive, but that’s why there’s the option to tell Instagram you’re not interested in the posts it’s recommending.
3. Interactive Story Features
Our personal favourite! Gone are the days of clients requesting bots to get to 10K followers which enabled them to use the ‘Swipe Up’ feature or constantly having to say ‘link in bio’ in every post. The new link sticker allows users to navigate to any webpage of your choice in one click.
We also can’t ignore the other community stickers that help support local businesses, donations, etc.
Another handy tool is AI integration that transcribes story videos with closed captions. Considering that 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound, this tool is super handy for content creation on the go.
We highly recommend adding captions to any video published on social media, so here’s a little tip if you’re stuck for time and urgently want to post an Instagram Reel. Upload the video to your story and add the captions, save the video to your camera roll – then upload to Reels. You’re welcome.
4. Removal of IGTV
Although it was not a success, IGTV walked so that Instagram TV could run. Instagram still somehow managed to create a space for vertical video on the platform through Stories and Reels, but users can now upload videos to their feed that are longer than a minute – which is great!
Whether people want to watch long-form content on Instagram rather than YouTube is up for debate, but we’re just glad that we don’t have to pull our hair out if we have a video that is 1 minute and 5 seconds long.
5. Instagram for Desktop
This one was about time! The struggle of exceeding the Instagram account limit is no longer a thing! Sounds heavenly, right?
Although this feature is very basic, and only allows you to ‘like’ and comment on posts and upload images to your feed, we’ll take that over nothing! Just know that we’ll crack open a can of beer once we can use Stories on our desktops just as we would on our phones.
That was Instagram’s 2021 for you. But we all know that although reflection is a good thing, you have got to look at the future. So, what can we definitely expect in 2022?
Monetisation within the creator economy. We’ve already seen ads being rolled out on creators’ feeds in select countries, but Instagram have just released a statement saying that they have released a subscription feature for a handful of creators in the US that will hopefully enable them to generate a monthly income through the platform.
If this works for them, we predict that Instagram will then be able to start competing with YouTube in 3 to 5 years as it will encourage more creators to post their long-form content on the app. Should be an exciting year to say the least!