Posts

Major changes are coming to Facebook as the company tries to balance a more privacy-focused approach with several new features aimed at encouraging people to interact with their Facebook accounts more.

At the company’s F8 developer conference this week, Facebook announced a wide range of features, changes, and redesigns which will roll out over the next year.

At the same time, representatives from Facebook hammered home the importance of privacy and protecting data with more advanced encryption and a huge redesign to shift how people use the platform.

The Redesign

Leading the pack of changes is Facebook’s most significant visual overhaul since its launch. While the most noticeable difference is the removal of blue on the page to create a more vibrant space for you to explore, it also holds many deeper revisions which intend to change how we use the platform.

For example, the interface will now highlight more Groups and private messages to make the platform feel more cohesive.

The redesign is already rolling out on Android and iOS mobile devices, though the company says it will take a few months for the full update to go live. Meanwhile, Facebook says it will begin testing the desktop redesign in the “next few months” before bringing it to the public.

Facebook Dating?

Facebook Dating

Image Source: Facebook

One of the most bizarre introductions during this year’s conference was the launch of a new feature called “Secret Crush” which allows users to pick nine of their friends which they have a crush on. Then, if any of those nine friends also select that user as a crush, they will be notified. If the attraction is not returned, however, the other person will never know.

Meet New Friends

In a similar (but less creepy) vein is Facebook’s coming “Meet New Friends” feature. As you might expect from the name, the opt-in feature aims to help connect people who share schools or jobs, or those who live in the same city.

Messenger Comes To Desktop

Image Source: Facebook

As part of an effort to make Facebook’s Messenger a more widely accessible platform, the company is launching a standalone version of the service for desktop computers. While Messenger has always been available on the desktop version of Facebook, it has been limited in several ways. For example, features like Group calling have been exclusive to the mobile app. With the launch of the desktop app, users will now be able to take advantage of all of Messenger’s features from any type of device.

Instagram Create Mode

Instagram Create Mode

Image Source: Facebook

Facebook isn’t the only platform getting an overhaul. Instagram also has several changes on the way, including a considerable reworking of the camera in Instagram Stories. With the new Create Mode, users can now create images for Stories that don’t come directly from their phone without extensive workarounds. Now, you can easily edit your Stories to create the images you want to share without leaving the app.

Instagram Likes Go Secret

Instagram Likes Disappear From View

Image Source: Facebook

One of the more surprising tests Facebook announced is that it will begin hiding the like count on photos and videos on Instagram in an effort to encourage people to pay more attention to the content and focus less on popularity contests.

In the test, followers will not be able to see a photo’s total likes or a video’s view count while viewing the content in their feed or visiting another user’s profile. However, the person sharing the content will still be able to look at their post’s metrics by tapping through a post. The test is expected to begin this week for users in Canada, though it is unclear when this might appear in the US.

Instagram is launching a new in-app checkout feature for a limited number of brands which will let users make purchases without ever having to leave the app.

For now, the new feature is limited to just 23 big-name brands like Adidas, Burberry, and MAC Cosmetics, but the company says it will be expanding the feature to more brands in the coming months.

The in-app checkout is Instagram’s latest effort to make its service more retailer-friendly without hurting their own platform. While they have included several shopping-related features over the past few years, shoppers would ultimately have to leave the app to make a purchase.

With the new feature, users will now see a “Checkout on Instagram” button on product pages from brands’ shopping posts.

When tapped, shoppers will be allowed to choose from a variety of options like size and color, then taken to a payment page within Instagram.

Users who make purchases within the app will also receive shipment and delivery notifications within Instagram to keep them informed.

“The new technology gives Adidas’ audience the power to go from inspiration to purchase in an instant. Our consumer-obsessed approach to e-commerce focuses on simplified immersive connections with the brand and Instagram Shopping allows us to deliver a content-rich experience on a platform where our creators are exploring and curating their lives,” said Adidas SVP of digital Scott Zalaznik.

Instagram has launched a new feature that makes it possible to share posts across multiple accounts simultaneously. Currently only available to iOS users, the feature allows account managers to share a post to two or more of their accounts without the need for duplicating posts or creating multiple versions for each account.

“We are rolling out this feature to provide a better experience for people who often post to multiple accounts,” explained a spokesperson for Instagram.

If you have a business with multiple locations or individual brands for specific services, you likely can already see the utility of the new feature. In the past, to post across several accounts you controlled, you would essentially have to recreate the same post multiple times or use third-party tools to create and schedule your posts.

Now, you can save the time and effort by selecting the “Post to other accounts” option when creating a new post. From there, you simply have to toggle which accounts you would like to share the content on.

It also means that brands who aren’t using third-party social management tools can now effectively manage their multiple pages from directly within the Instagram app.

Unfortunately for Android users, Instagram hasn’t given any indication when the feature might be available outside of iOS devices.

Instagram has released a set of new features aimed to encourage better engagement and participation with followers, especially when live streaming or creating Stories.

Countdowns

 

Do you have a big event, announcement, or live stream coming up? Now you can highlight it with an interactive countdown sticker in your Instagram Stories.

Once you’ve created the countdown and set the time limit, you can easily insert it in all your stories to remind your audience about important events or promotions. You can also use the stickers to raise awareness of a limited-time offer that is expiring soon.

Followers who see the countdown can also choose to follow it, which will ensure they receive a notification when the countdown is over.

Question Stickers

One of the biggest ways people like to use Instagram’s live videos is to answer viewer questions. The only problem is this can get a bit hard to follow when you have lots of viewers asking questions back to back. It can also be hard for new viewers to know what question is being answered.

Now, viewers can create and share question stickers during live streams to make it easy for everyone to stay on the same page.

The stickers are easily browsable for streamers to pick from. Once chosen, the question will be shown at the bottom of the screen so that viewers know what question you are answering. You can see an example below:

Both of these features are now available for both iOS and Android users. However, broadcasting live videos is only available currently on iOS. Android users can still view the streams and share questions.

Instagram is betting big on long-form videos with a new video platform called “IGTV” which will show off videos up to an hour long. Until now, users were only allowed to upload videos up to one-minute-long, so this is a big upgrade for users.

While the feature is entirely accessible within Instagram’s app and web platform, Instagram is also launching a stand-alone app available on both iOS and Android devices today.

“We made it a dedicated app so you can tap on it and enjoy video without all the distraction,” CEO Kevin Systrom explained.

So far, indications are that Instagram “celebrities” will get most of the attention within the IGTV section on the Instagram app, but businesses can still get some use out of the ability to upload longer, more in-depth videos.

Businesses may also benefit from being able to curate their own Channels of content that users can subscribe to within IGTV. This way, they will be notified anytime you post a new video.

For now, Systrom said that IGTV is entirely-ad free, but it likely won’t last forever. Once it has established itself on Instagram’s platform, I’d expect ads to start appearing.

How to start your own IGTV Channel

Creating a channel is easy and can be done within the Instagram app.

Step 1: Tap the IGTV logo near the top-right corner of your Instagram home screen.

Step 2: Tap the gear icon on the bottom right of the screen.

Step 3: Select “Create Channel” at the bottom of the screen.

Step 4: After a brief introduction to IGTV, select “Next” on the following two screens. Then, tap “Create Channel.”

Step 5: Congratulations, your channel is officially active and you can start uploading videos to IGTV.

Instagram logo

Instagram is coming up in the world. This week the social network revealed it has reached more than 1 billion monthly active users, jumping from 800 million in September of last year.

The extra 200 million users also make the site the fastest growing social network around right now by a fair amount.

For context, while Facebook remains the biggest social network overall, its growth in monthly users has fallen to just 3.14%. Snapchat, trapped by its own niche market of younger users, is growing even slower at 2.13%.

Instagram, however, continues to grow by almost 5% from quarter-to-quarter.

There is certainly some irony in the latest numbers. While Snapchat continues to stall, Instagram is largely making its gains on the back of similar features like Stories and image stickers.

Stories, in particular, have taken off to surprising popularity. According to the latest numbers, there are more people posting Stories on Instagram than Snapchat’s entire userbase.

The continued growth of Instagram also hints at Facebook’s gradual disconnect with younger users. Teens and other young social media users are adopting Instagram, rather than signing into Facebook.

The social network still has plenty of hurdles in its path, but their user growth shows it may be worthwhile to establish a business presence on the platform sooner rather than later.

The popular “Stories” feature that has expanded from its SnapChat origins into Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has always been known for its short-term lifespan. Stories have always been something that disappears sometime after sharing.

Now, Instagram is changing this with new ways to save and reshare your Stories long-after they’ve vanished from people’s feeds.

Instagram recently launched two updates to its Stories feature that gives users the ability to add Stories to its Archive feature and include Stories in the “Highlights” section of users’ profiles.

In a blog post, Instagram said that Stories will be automatically saved to users’ private Archives once they expire. From there, you can view or reshare your old Stories as a normal video post or add them to highlights.

The feature is turned on by default, but you can opt to turn off the Archive feature if you like.

Instagram explained, “To access the Stories in your Archive, tap the Archive icon on your profile. From there, you can easily switch between your Posts Archive and your new Stories Archive. In your Stories Archive, your stories will appear in a grid with the most recent Stories at the bottom. The first story from each day will show a date indicator to help you navigate your archive as you scroll. Only you can see your archived stories, and you can choose to turn off auto-archiving at any time in your profile settings.”

At the same time, Instagram has launched the new Stories Highlights section, where users can add Stories to their profiles.

Stories Highlights can be created by simply tapping on the New circle on the far-left side of the app. After that, just choose which Stories you want from your archives, select a cover for the Highlight, and give it a name.

Once that’s all done, the Highlights will appear as circles on your profile where they can be viewed.

You can add as many Highlights as you want, and they will remain on your profile until you delete them by tapping and holding on the circle.

In the blog post, Instagram said: “Over the past year, Instagram Stories has become a key part of how you express yourself—but there hasn’t been an easy way to keep your Stories around for more than 24 hours. Now you can more fully express your identity by grouping Stories you’ve shared into Highlights and featuring them on your profile. Story Highlights lets you show all of the sides of your personality, and you can make highlights out of anything you’ve shared to your story in the past. From the best moments of your ongoing soccer season to all the stories you capture of your loved ones, the interests and activities that matter most to you have a home right on your profile.”

Brands and marketers will likely find these new features provide a number of ways to make Stories a more powerful marketing tool. In an email to Social Pro Daily, Instagram suggested brands can take advantage of the tools by:

  • Extending campaigns and promotions beyond 24 hours.
  • Showcasing immersive video and behind-the-scenes content on the increasingly significant profile page.
  • Re-engaging people around best-performing Stories content.
  • Sharing customer reviews

Instagram hasn’t become as synonymous with advertising or online marketing as it’s older sibling, Facebook, has. However, new stats announced by the company show business is booming on the popular social media platform.

Since July, more than 10 million businesses have launched business profiles – Instagram’s version of Facebook’s Pages – totaling over 25 million business profiles.

Instagram’s business profiles rolled out in May of last year and saw an initially slow response. The profiles give brands a more professional appearance on the app, including a “contact us” button and access to analytics features.

The inclusion of these business-oriented features has helped woo more advertisers to the platform, as well. Since the launch of business profiles, Instagram has increased its advertiser base from around 200,000 in February 2016 to more than 2 million in September of this year.

According to Instagram’s statistics, approximately 80 percent of Instagram’s 800 million monthly active users follow a business. Additionally, around 40 percent of the 500 million active daily users view at least one business’s profile each day.

Interestingly, two-thirds of the more than 200 million people that view a business profile each day did not previously follow the brand. That suggests the pages are effectively helping connect businesses with new potential customers and fans.

Instagram is quickly growing from just a platform for users to share pictures and videos towards a fully-fledged combination of social media and shopping. With the help of Shopify, Instagram is rolling out a new feature allowing “thousands” of merchants to seamlessly sell their products through Instagram just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The feature allows selected merchants to tag items in their Instagram posts to mark that they are available for purchase. When viewers see the post, they can easily click the tags to directly purchase the items without ever having to leave Instagram.

The feature has been in limited testing for almost a year, but it has been restricted to just a small number of high-profile brands like Warby Parker and Kate Spade. Since then, they’ve been gradually opening the feature to a few other merchants through Shopify.

The early response to this testing has been enthusiastic, so Shopify has now decided to expand the feature to a larger testing group including “many thousands” of merchants. They say they expect to roll it out even more widely in the near future, but they want to test and refine the system before a complete launch.

Instagram Banner

Instagram’s carousel feature for ads has been popular with brands as a great way to highlight their products and tell a story in their ads, and now it is coming to everyone.

Instagram announced this week it will be sharing the slideshow-like carousel ads to organic posts with all users, as well as expanding the number of photos or videos that can be shared at a time.

The feature is expected to roll out to all users on iOS and Android devices in the coming weeks. When it does, both advertisers and everyday users will be able to choose up to 10 photos and videos to include in a single post. Users can then swipe through the content to see more.

instagram-carousels

Regular users will be able to sort the photos or videos in their carousel manually, choosing the best way to tell their story. Advertisers will have this option, as well as the choice to let Instagram sort the content based on performance.

While the carousel format allows users to include several pieces of content in a single post, it does have some limitations. Most specifically, carousel posts do not allow for landscape photos or vertical videos. Instead, all photos or videos included can only be in Instagram’s traditional square frame.

Instagram is also labeling carousel posts to help make them easier to recognize in your feed. Similar to video posts, all carousel posts will include an icon next to the posts’ thumbnails.