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 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 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
Instagram began rolling out a new feature on 8 November for those who have always wanted to schedule their posts on the platform but had to rely on third-party apps for the purpose.
“We’re rolling out content scheduling tools right in the Instagram app – so you can choose to schedule a picture, carousel, or Reel up to 75 days in advance,” Instagram said in a post on its official updates account, Creators.
Users can navigate to the ‘Advanced Settings’ menu. They’ll find a toggle named ‘Schedule this post.’ When turned on, it allows the user to select the date and time when they want the post to be published.
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The company had confirmed it was testing the feature late in October but didn’t provide details. A TechCrunch report from 20 October, which cites Twitter user @WFBrother, revealed that there is also a separate section titled ‘Scheduled Content’ for users to check their scheduled posts and reschedule if needed.
Instagram also rolled out Achievements feature alongside content scheduling. The platform said that the new feature is aimed at acknowledging “the effort creators are putting into their Reels which is testing globally.”
According to Instagram, creators will unlock achievements related to specific actions when creating a Reel. These include collaborating with another creator through Collabs tool, Add Yours sticker or Remix, besides making Reels more interactive with polls or quizzes.
Achievements can also be unlocked by using trending audio or effects to join the conversation and making more than one Reel in a week.
Achievements that are unlocked will be visible via a notification once a Reel is published. The ‘…’ menu on a Reel will help users keep a track of their achievements and possible unlockables.
Instagram announced on 4 November that it will soon introduce a full set of digital collectibles toolkit for creators on the platform.
Digital collectibles are like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which are designed to help creators make money on the platform. The entire process from the creation of a digital collectible to its selling and buying will happen on Instagram itself.
Instagram said that it is expanding the type of digital collectibles that can be showcased on a creator’s account and would now include video. The Solana blockchain and the Phantom wallet have also been added alongside existing blockchains and wallets.
“Information for select collections where the metadata has been enriched by OpenSea, such as collection name and descriptions, will now be available on Instagram,” said the platform.
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Creators can create a digital collectible directly on Instagram. They will need to have a Polygon-supported digital wallet on mobile.
Once created and posted, the collectible will have a shimmer effect and display public information such as NFT descriptions. It will be visible on the profile.
After its payment information is entered, a collection can be listed for sale. All collections eligible for sale on Instagram will appear in the ‘Your Listings’ tab in the user’s account.
Gifts for creators
Instagram has also started testing a feature that will help creators get rewards from fans. The feature is similar to Twitter’s Tip Jar feature launched in May 2021 and TikTok’s December 2021 update, which allowed users to directly tip their favourite content creators.
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In a post on its Creators account, Instagram said that the fans will be able to leave tips for creators they like. The feature is currently being introduced for Reels. To tip creators, users will have to purchase Stars within Instagram.
The test is being conducted with a select group of users in the US.
Profile song feature
Users on Instagram might soon be able to add a song to their profiles. According to CNET, developer and tech leaker, Alessandro Paluzzi, revealed that the Meta-owned platform is internally testing the feature.
In a series of tweets, Paluzzi shared screenshots showing how the feature could appear on users’ profiles, in the testing phase.
According to the developer, the song would appear at the bottom of the bio on the Instagram profile of the user.
“Currently the music is NOT played but this may change before official release,” Paluzzi noted in one of his tweets, which showed Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” as the listed profile song of the developer.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) October 17, 2022
Here is where your chosen song will be shown in your #Instagram bio 👀
ℹ️ Currently the music is NOT played but this may change before official release pic.twitter.com/uRg81yCRdj
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) October 18, 2022
#Instagram keeps working on the ability to add a song 🎶 to your profile 👀
ℹ️ The song can be played in the profile 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/zkhkr4zFvF
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) October 18, 2022
He then shared another screenshot showing a ‘play’ button next to the song, mentioning that the song can be played in the profile.
According to reports, the song-in-profile feature isn’t an entirely new concept. A similar feature existed on MySpace between 2005 and 2008.
Notes to fam
Earlier in 2022, Instagram was experimenting with a new format of disappearing content called Notes. The feature became widely available in September.
Just as the name suggests, it allows creators to share notes with their ‘Close Friends’ and those who follow them back.
Instead of appearing as a notification, Notes appear in a separate panel above the chats. This is solely done to highlight any important and personal message that the sender doesn’t want to get lost in the chat threads. Plus, it reaches all ‘Close Friends’ at once.
Unlike Twitter’s Notes feature, the one on Instagram is more like a sticky note. It allows only 60-characters and falls off the wall, as in disappears, after 24 hours or if a new Note is shared within the period.
Not Interested and Snooze
In a bid to reshape user experience, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, highlighted two “hidden gems,” which offer more control over the platform.
“Everyone is different, which means that for each and every person the best version of Instagram is different,” Mosseri said in a video post on social media on 10 August.
Commenting on how Following and Favourites — two feeds that were launched in March 2022 — have changed user experience, Mosseri said that the platform has features that will help pare down what users see on their feeds to an even finer degree.
He said that users can select a feature called Not Interested to stop seeing recommendations they are not interested in.
“You can tap on the three dots in the top right of that post and click Not Interested and we’ll do our best to not show you similar content in the future,” he said.
The Instagram head added that the other feature, Snooze, lets users see no recommendations for up to a month.
By selecting the Following feature, users can see posts of every account they follow in chronological order. There is no recommendation in the feed. Favourites feed allows posts from only those accounts which have been marked ‘Favourite’ to show up on the feed.
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Dual is a new format for making Reels. Both cameras — the front and rear — of a phone can be used simultaneously to make a reel.
The feature can be selected after going into the list shown upon clicking the ‘plus’ sign. A camera icon marked ‘Dual’ needs to be selected and then, the Reel icon at the centre to record a Dual Reel video.
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Once activated, the rear camera occupies the larger share of the screen. The front camera records the person shooting the video, with the window appearing as an inset at the top right corner of the screen.
Recreate reels with Reels Template
Instagram has been updating reels with new features to enable users to recreate videos more efficiently and make them more fun.
For better well-synced reels, Instagram has introduced Reels Templates, which simplifies the process of adding an audio clip to your videos or photos.
To use this feature, go to the reels tab by clicking on the camera icon on the top right corner and browse through the templates. Choose the one you like, and the new feature will automatically adjust the chosen audio and trim the length of the video to suit the template.
The best thing about this feature is that once you create a reel with more than three clips, the Instagram app will consider your reel as a template. Conversely, if you see a reel with three or more clips that you want to recreate, Template lets you use the feature via reel’s in-app camera.
Now, go ahead and make creative new Instagram reels with just a click.
Instagram rolls back TikTok-like features
After some new features were rolled out to a few Instagram accounts, the photo and video sharing platform faced a backlash from influencers and celebrities, including the Kardashians and American television personality Chrissy Teigen.
The new Instagram features included full-screen video feeds that majorly focused on reels and overwhelming recommendations of posts from accounts that the users did not follow.
After the criticisms for trying to imitate TikTok, the social media platform has announced to reduce or pause these test features. Instagram head Adam Mosseri shared a video on 26 July 2022, where he said that Instagram will be shifting to a more video-oriented future while “continuing to support photos.”
Speaking to the Platformer newsletter, Mosseri said, “I’m glad we took a risk — if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough.”
He added, “But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we’ve learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we’re going to work through that.”
However, no further information on when the features will be reintroduced or what alterations will be made to the new ones has been shared.
👋🏼 There’s a lot happening on Instagram right now.
I wanted to address a few things we’re working on to make Instagram a better experience.
Please let me know what you think 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/x1If5qrCyS
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) July 26, 2022
Instagram will no longer remain just a photo-sharing app, as it is foraying into the e-commerce sector. As part of the new features, Meta announced on 18 July that users will be able to make payments directly from the Instagram app.
While users will need to message online businesses from their Instagram accounts to shop, they can also finalise their orders and ask questions through the app. They can also make relevant customisations to the orders and shop online through their own Instagram accounts’ chat feature. Making Instagram shopping more seamless, this update enables buyers to track their orders as well.
With this new feature, Meta wishes to further expand the scope of its e-payment service Meta Pay.
AR closed captions for reels and videos
After introducing captions for videos in March, a new Instagram feature has an added to it. The new feature automatically turns on the auto-generated captions. This is aimed at making the app more inclusive for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, as well as making video-watching a more seamless experience for those who prefer them minus the sound.
The same is available for reels as well. However, if you want to turn it off, simply go to ‘Advanced Settings’ and turn the captions off. This will disable captions for all videos in the future. Want to reactivate them? Tap on the overflow menu and select ‘Manage Captions’ and change it accordingly.
The app has also ushered in stylised AR closed captions to make your reels fun and eye-catching. Turn your dialogues into funny closed captions. You can choose from three styles available in the effects gallery — text message chat (bubble captions), spew from your mouth (mumble captions) and the ones that give a comic book effect (comic captions). You can add the effects both before or after recording your video on the Instagram camera.
Create your marketplace
One of the newest Instagram features is a win-win for all influencers and branded content creators. Meta’s photo and video sharing app is testing a new feature — Creator Marketplace — which will enable a smooth partnership between brands and creators. Imagine it to be something like walking into a marketplace and finding what interests you as well as getting noticed.
You can indicate your liking and interests and be sure to receive more brand opportunities, which are going to be best suited for you and your audience. Not only that. The feature also introduces a dedicated folder where creators will receive all messages and project opportunities in a seemingly organised way. Those messages, which will meet the eligibility standards, will now go to the folder at the top of your Primary tab instead of ‘Requests.’
There’s more. Brands will be able to send you projects and you can browse through them to choose the best one, all within the Instagram app. Instagram is also working to roll out a feature soon to make payments easier and smooth. By this, creators will be able to receive payments within the Instagram app and keep track of the payments from the ‘Tools’ section of a professional dashboard.
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, an announcement comes as a positive change that 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.New Instagram features have made automatic captions a pre-programmed feature, which can be changed as per preference
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.
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)