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Instagram is finally making it easy for many users to schedule posts or reels up to 75 days in advance without the use of third-party tools or services.

In the past, the only official solution to scheduling when content goes live on the platform was through the desktop tool Meta Business Suite. 

Now, many users and almost all brands will be able to schedule content drops up to 75 days ahead of time directly from the iOS or Android Instagram apps. The only catch is that users must have a professional account which is free for brands or professionals on the app.

How To Schedule Posts on Instagram

Professional accounts can now schedule posts containing the most popular types of content on Instagram including:

  • Single Pictures
  • Image Carousels
  • Videos
  • Reels

Currently, the feature allows users to schedule these posts up to 75 days before they are to go live. 

To do this, open the Instagram post composer and tap “Advanced settings” to find the option to “Schedule this post.”

From there, you can select the exact time and date you want the content to be published. 

This will let you get the most impact out of content releases by getting in front of your audience when they are most receptive. You can also use this to synergize content releases with the content being published on other platforms or product releases to amplify your content’s influence. 

For more, check out the announcement from Instagram here.

Though TikTok is mostly known for its video content, the platform’s latest feature is a throwback. Along with new editing abilities and longer captions for content, TikTok has revealed it is introducing a Photo Mode within its app.

What Is Photo Mode?

As announced in a recent blog post, TikTok’s Photo Mode is a new post format that creates a carousel or slideshow of still images for users to share.

Along with their original images, users can add music, filters, stickers, and more to the carousel.

Ironically, the new post format is very similar to the type of content found on Instagram – which has been repeatedly accused of copying TikTok’s features.

Though nearly every popular social network has incorporated aspects of TikTok’s layout and features in the past year or two, Instagram has received the most criticism for the ways it has borrowed from the newer platform. This may be partially because many view the two platforms as rivals.

Enhanced Editing Features

Along with the reveal of Photo Mode, TikTok introduced new editing tools for videos, photos, and more. 

As the blog post says:

“TikTok’s enhanced editing tools allow you to easily adjust clips, sounds, images, and text in a new editing environment, all within TikTok’s creation flow.”

With the new tools you can:

  • Edit clips: Stack, trim, and split video clips.
  • Edit sounds: Cut, trim, and set the duration for sounds.
  • Edit and position text: More easily edit, position, and set the duration for text.
  • Add overlays: Add photo and video overlays for picture-in-picture (or video-in-video) stacking.
  • Adjust video speed: Speed or slow the pace of video clips.
  • Frame content: Rotate or zoom in and out of frame of individual clips.
  • Add sound effects.

The new features, including Photo Mode, have been rolled out to all users in the U.S. and most other countries.

Since it started testing a new fullscreen redesign, Instagram has come under heavy criticism from users – including high-profile figures like the Kardashians

Now, in a recent video, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri seems to agree that the new design is not delivering the quality experience the company had hoped for.

In the video shared on Twitter, Mosseri explained the redesign is “not yet good” and that the new layout will likely see some revisions before it becomes the default for all users. 

However, Mosseri also emphasized that the platform will not be backing away from its current direction. Recommended posts and a new emphasis on video are going to be major parts of the final redesign despite the public demand to “make Instagram Instagram again.”

More Changes Are Likely

The ongoing test has made quite a splash, but it is actually only being shown to a relatively small number of users.  While it captures what Instagram is trying to achieve, it is not up to the standards of the company.

“It’s a test to a few percentage of people out there, and the idea is that a more full-screen experience, not only for videos but for photos, might be a more fun and engaging experience. But I also want to be clear. It’s not yet good, and we’re going to have to get it to a good place if we’re going to ship to the rest of the Instagram community.”

Photos Aren’t Going Anywhere

Much of the anger about the new layout comes from the opinion that Instagram is becoming too much like TikTok by prioritizing video content. 

Though Mosseri emphasizes the platform is always going to be a photo-sharing app at its core, it also needs to grow and expand.

“I want to be clear — we’re going to continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage. I love photos and I know a lot of you out there love photos too. That said, I need to be honest, I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time. We see this even if we change nothing.

We see this even if you just look at chronological feed. If you look at what people share on Instagram that’s shifting more and more to videos over time. If you look at what people like and consume and view on Instagram, that’s also shifting more and more to video over time even when we stop changing anything. So we’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.”

Recommended Posts Are Staying In Your Feed

Another major complaint from users revolves around the inclusion of recommended content in the main feed. 

Recommended posts show content from other users you don’t currently follow. The inclusion of this type of content upset many users who found the recommended content irrelevant or poor-quality. 

Though these recommended posts are going to be sticking around, Mosseri said it is a work in progress and offered tips on how to improve the quality of recommendations:

“Recommendations are posts in your feed from accounts that you do not follow. The idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on Instagram that you might not know even exist. “It’s a test to a few percentages of people out there.”

Now, if you’re seeing things in your feed that are recommendations that you’re not interested in, that means we’re doing a bad job ranking, and we need to improve. And you can X out a recommendation, you can even snooze all recommendations for up to a month or go to your ‘following’ feed.

But we’re going to continue to try to get better at recommendations because we think it’s one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people. We want to do our best by creators, particularly small creators, and we see recommendations as one of the best ways to reach a new audience and grow their following.”

Instagram is making it easier to find nearby businesses and places using its interactive maps.

The feature was revealed by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a post showcasing the new maps features:

In the past. Instagram’s maps were limited to strictly showing popular posts from users nearby. With this new update though, users can search or filter the maps to find local businesses similar to how Google Maps lets users search for local businesses.

What sets Instagram’s map features apart is how they function. 

Firstly, only businesses with a professional Instagram account are eligible to be included in Instagram’s maps, unlike the automatically populated maps found on Google.

Secondly, the feature is still focused on the social experience. Rather than giving users a wealth of contact information like Google Maps or Google Business Profiles, when users tap on a business they are given the option to visit the associated page. save the company’s page for later or immediately start following the brand’s Instagram account. 

Why Is Instagram Getting Into Local Search?

It might seem odd for a social network to be essentially establishing a local search engine, but trends indicate many are already using social media for this purpose. In fact, just recently Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan addressed this exact trend at a conference, saying:

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

With this in mind, it is clear Instagram is simply making it easier for users to do this with the introduction of its new map features.

Instagram is rolling out an update that expands its sensitive content filter in ways that may reduce how many people see some content.

Though the Sensitive Content Control was launched almost a year ago, in July 2021, the tool only influenced the type of content users saw in their Explore feed.

According to a new announcement, though, the newly updated version of this tool lets users control how much “sensitive content” they see across practically every section of Instagram including:

  • Search
  • Reels
  • Accounts You Might Follow
  • Hashtag Pages
  • In-Feed Recommendations
  • How Instagram is Controlling Sensitive Content

As the company explained, this does more than limit obviously inappropriate content, including graphic violence or illegal acts. It also covers “posts that don’t necessarily break our rules, but could potentially be upsetting to some people.”

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Content showing violence, including fighting between individuals
  • Sexually explicit or suggestive content, such as people in see-through or revealing clothing
  • Content promoting controversial or dangerous products such as tobacco, vaping, adult products, or pharmaceutical drugs
  • Content promoting or showing cosmetic procedures
  • Content or pages which sell products or services targeting health, including weight-loss supplements

Following the new update, users can select between three different levels of sensitive content moderation:

  • Less: Restricts sensitive content to the greatest amount
  • Standard: The default state for all users, which automatically limits some sensitive content
  • More: Users over the age of 18 can opt-in to see the widest range of content, including sensitive content which does not directly violate Instagram’s rules and guidelines.

Why This Matters

While most upstanding brands are normally unaffected by these types of updates, this could potentially have a much wider effect on companies or pages across a huge range of industries. 

The undefined nature of what constitutes “sensitive content” raises eyebrows, especially when it includes some content many users may not find controversial or objectionable. Additionally, users are having some content filtered out by default and must essentially opt out of this tool if they are of age. 

This creates the potential for Instagram to start limiting the reach of content from many companies who had previously found success using the platform to reach their audience. How large the impact of this is yet to be seen. If you see a significant drop in the number of people seeing your Instagram posts in the next few weeks though, you probably know why.

Instagram is slowly rolling Instagram Subscriptions – a new subscription feature that would let creators on the platform make a regular income from their biggest fans.

Instagram Subscriptions works similar to Patreon or other online subscription-based platforms. Creators are able to completely control their subscription prices and offer special content or features exclusively for subscribers. 

Instagram Subscriptions Preview Image

At the moment, the special subscriber features specifically include:

  • Subscriber Lives: Broadcast live content exclusive to subscribers.
  • Subscriber Stories: Share stories that only your subscribers can see.
  • Subscriber Badges: Paying subscribers can add a badge to their comments, making them stand out as loyal supporters. 

As the announcement says:

“With Instagram Subscriptions, creators can develop deeper connections with their most engaged followers and grow their recurring monthly income by giving subscribers access to exclusive content and benefits, all within the same platform where they interact with them already.”

During the initial testing period, Instagram is limiting access to Instagram Subscriptions to just a small handful of creators. However, the company says it plans to expand access to many more people in the coming months, along with a variety of new tools to make the service more beneficial for creators and fans alike.

Instagram is finally giving almost all accounts a new way to share links with their followers through Stories, after previously limiting the feature to verified or influential accounts.

Before now, the only way for most accounts to share links on Instagram was on their profile page. This made it difficult to use the platform to drive traffic to a website or online store. Often, brands were forced to resort to third-party tools to share links with their content, typically to lackluster results. 

This all made Instagram a tricky prospect for brands considering marketing their products or services on the platform. 

While this is bound to be a step in the right direction, Instagram is yet to allow links to be shared in feed posts – a common feature on most social networks.

Here’s how to start sharing links on your own stories.

Adding Links To Your Instagram Stories

Sharing links in your Instagram stories is still a fairly unique process. Rather than just copy and paste your link into a description, the platform is introducing “Story Stickers”. These function like any other sticker, except you can add a destination link that sends users to the desired page when tapped.

To add Story Stickers with links to your stories, follow these steps:

  1. Record or upload your story content
  2. Select the sticker tool from the bar at the top of the screen
  3. Select the “Link” sticker and add your desired link.
  4. Tap “Done”
  5. Customize and place your sticker.

Who Can’t Use This

Although this makes sharing links possible for a great number more users than before, there are still some restrictions. Specifically, Instagram notes that Story Stickers are not available to “brand new accounts.” 

Presumably, this is intended to prevent spammers from creating fresh accounts to share low-quality or malicious links on the platform, though it is unclear exactly what constitutes a “brand new” account. 

Additionally, the company says that accounts found to repeatedly post hate speech, misinformation, or other content that violates Instagram community guidelines will have access to link stickers revoked. 

If you’d like to find out more about the new linkable Story Stickers, check out Instagram’s announcement here.

Instagram Insights is providing businesses on its platform with a wealth of new demographic data about who is engaging with their content – as well as who isn’t engaging.

Before, the platform only gave businesses Insights about the users who were specifically following your page. 

With the latest update to Instagram Insights, this is now expanded to all the users that see your content, even if they don’t follow your page or directly engage with your posts.

Below, we’ll dig into exactly what demographic information is now at your fingertips on Instagram Insights.

New Demographic Insights on Instagram

Your Engaged Audience

If you want to find out information about the users who are engaging the most with your content, you’ll want to look in the new Accounts Engaged section. 

Here, you’ll find a range of information including:

  • Where your most engaged audience lives
  • What gender are they?
  • How old are your most engaged audience?

Additionally, you can filter the information based on followers or non-followers and see the total number of accounts that have interacted with your posts within a set time range.

Who You’ve Reached

Of course, the number of people engaging with your content or following your page is just a fraction of the total number of users seeing your content. 

The new Accounts Reached section of Instagram Insights contains details about everyone who has seen your posts, whether they liked, commented, or kept scrolling. 

In this section, you’ll find the total number of accounts you have reached, as well as demographic details similar to those found in the Accounts Engaged section.

Where To Find Instagram Insights

If you’ve never checked out your Instagram Insights before, it is located in the main menu of the Instagram App when logged into a business account. 

From there, you can browse all these details and more – like when your followers are most online.

For more about the new demographic details available in Instagram Insights, check out the announcement here.

Facebook shared a new report this week which lists the hottest trends on its platform and Instagram in recent months. 

The latest edition of the Facebook and Instagram “Topics to Watch” report shines a spotlight on the top three topics from both platforms in the second quarter of this based on year-over-year data. 

Importantly, that means these are not the topics that had the most engagement overall. The report shows the trends which specifically showed the growth patterns most likely to lead to long-term popularity on Facebook and Instagram. This helps filter out flashes in the pan which become all the rage for a week and then fizzle out. 

The Topics to Watch On Facebook from Q2 2021

Wedding Receptions

  • 1.57x year-over-year growth
  • 1.20x month-over-month growth

Many couples are deciding now is the time to tie the knot after a year of delayed receptions or spending a year social distancing together. As such, interest in wedding receptions has shot up in recent months across Facebook and its platforms.

However, the impact of the pandemic is still clear since data suggests couples are still opting for smaller gatherings with less than 50 guests or even virtual ceremonies. 

Pop-Up Retail

  • 3.59x year-over-year growth
  • 1.02x month-over-month growth

Pop-up shops have been an increasingly popular trend for retailers in recent years, and recent events have only made them more appealing for both brands and consumers.

As Facebook explains, “Pop-ups can last anywhere from a day to a few months and offer an element of surprise and exclusivity for consumers” while allowing retailers to connect with new customers in untapped markets.

“As some people begin to feel comfortable shopping in-person again, pop-ups provide opportunities for consumers to enjoy a new type of retail experience and learn about all kinds of brands.”

Pet Sitting

  • 1.60x year-over-year growth
  • 1.25x month-over-month growth

After a year of their owners being home to give them constant love and affection, many pets may be experiencing loneliness or feelings of abandonment as companies return to in-office work and social events resume.

To help make the transition back to a regular work schedule easier on their fluffy family (and themselves), pet owners are increasingly seeking pet sitting services. At the same time, some who are looking for more flexible job options post-pandemic are showing interest in pet sitting as a fun way to help bring in more revenue.

Specifically, Facebook users are looking for more modern pet sitting services which allow pet owners to stay informed about their pets throughout the day, helping both pet and owner adjust to the time apart. 

The Topics to Watch On Instagram from Q2 2021

Family Reunion

  • 3.03x year-over-year growth
  • 1.69x year-over-year growth

In an effort to kill two birds with one stone, many are combining the desire to reconnect with family and make some new memories with destination family reunions. Not only does this give people a much-needed chance to get out of their homes, this approach also presents the chance to share the experience with your entire family. 

Of course, not everyone is planning a destination reunion. Data shows that more traditional reunions are also experiencing a rise in popularity on Instagram.

Car Rental

  • 1.81x year-over-year growth
  • 0.97x month-over-month growth

Continuing the theme of getting away from home, Instagram data indicates that car rental demand has grown since the removal of lockdown policies across much of the country. 

The issue has been made even worse (and helped drive interest in the topic) as the availability of rental cars has become limited and costs have shot up due to a microchip shortage slowing the production of cars. 

Drag Shows

  • 1.84x year-over-year growth
  • 1.41x month-over-month growth

Whether it’s related to the growing mainstream popularity of Ru Paul’s Drag Race or the need for excitement and new experiences post-lockdown, Instagram is seeing a surprising rise in interest in drag shows.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the report describes a drag show as “a gender-bending art form put on by drag artists, or people who dress in clothes and makeup that amplify a specific gender identity, usually of the opposite sex.”

Notably, the report says that many drag shows have continued to be broadcast digitally to account for those who are uncertain about public events due to Covid and bring a feeling of unity or connection to those feeling isolated because of their identity or social distancing.

To see the full report, including even more data and analysis, click here.

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, had been opening up recently in a series of blog posts about how the app surfaces content. 

First, he went in-depth on how the social app’s recommendation features find and highlight content in users’ primary feeds, as well as in stories, the explore section, and more.

Now, he is focusing on the app’s search engine, explaining how Instagram ranks search results and how to optimize content for the platform.

How Instagram Search Works

As with any modern search engine, the first and foremost goal of Instagram’s search feature is to find and return the most relevant results for an individual user’s query.

“Your search tells us what you’re looking for, and it’s noticeable when the results aren’t useful. It’s important for us to get this right, so we try to organize search results by what’s most relevant to you — whether it be a close friend, a creator you love, or ideas for vegan desserts.

“Let’s say you’re interested in finding pictures of space after seeing the blue moon. When you tap the search bar on the Explore page, the first thing you see is your recent searches. As you begin typing “space,” we show you accounts, audio, hashtags, and places that match the text of your search. In this case, results like @space and #space show up because “space” appears in their name.”

Instagram’s Top Three Ranking Signals

To deliver these results, Instagram looks at a number of factors including account data, hashtags, user engagement, and more. Specifically, Mosseri highlights three major ranking signals to pay attention to:

  • Your text in Search. The text you enter in the search bar is by far the most important signal for Search. We try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places.
  • Your activity. This includes accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past. We usually show accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t.
  • Information about the search results. When there are a lot of potential results, we also look at popularity signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place.

Tips for Getting Your Content in Instagram Search Results

Mosseri goes on to offer three suggestions for optimizing your profile and posts for the app’s search engine:

  • Use a fitting handle and profile name. Search results are matched by text. Using an Instagram handle or profile name that’s related to the content of your posts is your best bet for showing up in relevant searches. If your friends or fans know you by a certain name, include that name in your username or profile so that you can show up when they search for you.
  • Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio. Same principle here. Make sure your bio includes keywords about who you are and what your profile is about. If your account is location-specific, like for a small business, sharing your location in your bio can make it easier for people in your area to find you.
  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. For a post to be found in Search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.

How Instagram Filters Unsafe Content

Of course, Instagram has to filter out its fair share of spam, inappropriate content, and problematic pages.

This is done by penalizing specific posts, accounts, and, on some rare occasions, entire hashtags.

As Mosseri explains:

“Accounts that post spam or violate our guidelines may appear lower in search results, and you may have to search their full username to find them. We also balance searches for sensitive topics with additional safety measures to make sure we don’t show you related content that could be harmful. Accounts, hashtags and posts that violate our Community Guidelines are removed from Instagram entirely, which prevents them from showing up in Search.”

Plans for the Future

Mosseri concludes his blog post by sharing a bit about the upcoming improvements Instagram plans to make to its search results. Notably, he says the company wants to make Instagram Search “more than just a way to find accounts and hashtags” by moving towards a “full search results page experience.”

“For example, your search for “space” will show you space-related photos and videos, too. This is especially helpful when you don’t have an exact username or hashtag in mind when searching for a certain topic.”

If you want to read Adam Mosseri’s full blog post about how Instagram ranks search results, click here.