Sahail Ashraf posted on 8 January 2019
It has certainly been an interesting year for Instagram, and it has been marked by the biggest surge in Influencer involvement ever. It’s arguable that Instagram is responsible for the current explosion of Influencers because it has become the perfect home for attractive images that sell and market visual products.
The year hasn’t all been about Influencers, but there is one little thing we’d like to say on the issue before we look at other areas.
This may not immediately seem that big a deal to the world of business, but Instagram did something extra special this year. They released some new filters, filters that gave a post an authentic, classic look. Remember that Instagram is a very visual platform, and that makes sense.
For example, the retro filters allow for very striking images. Some of the apps involved in applying filters to a post even allow for an authentic time stamp in the corner, making the image and the post it serves seem even more like it came from a different era, not just a different place.
And for marketers? Well, it’s quickly become a valuable tool for brands, especially if they create anything retro. It also shows marketers that there is plenty of scope for creativity.
This year saw the final rollout of posts that allow you to shop directly. This means that users can jump on a post, find an item they like, and then click to buy. It’s incredibly easy and convenient to use, and many brands are now finding that it makes selling less stressful.
However, one slight caveat has to be made here. We all know that Instagram is a visual platform. This is best explained by the shopping thing. Users have to feel excited by what they see before they part with their money. So if you’re planning on jumping onto the wagon, you’d better make sure that your images and videos are the best around.
Actually, this isn’t that controversial. But it caused more than a few eyebrows when it was first announced.
Instagram, like every other social media network that matters, decided that it wanted to purge the platform of fake followers and fake engagement. It told it’s user base this and it even outlined some of the ways in which fake activity on Instagram will be dealt with.
The platform promised to do the following if it recognised any activity that was obviously inauthentic:
● Remove all the fake likes, followers, and comments from your account.
● Send you a message letting you know they’ve detected the activity and removed it
● Ask you to change your password and secure your account.
All this was exciting for people who had been heavily concerned about the inauthenticity problem. And it was arguably the biggest thing to happen on Instagram in 2018.
Ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out at the start of the year, every platform has been anxious to show how much it cares for the audience. It’s been the talk of the year, and nearly everyone has a point of view on it.
What Instagram did in the pursuit of customer satisfaction here did not go down too well in some quarters. Some people saw it as an invasion of privacy. They didn’t want Instagram removing any of their followers, fake or otherwise. And that kind of makes sense, because follower numbers are important for building credibility.
Another big development came about with the launch of Instagram TV (IGTV). This was something that allowed users to make their own short video clips and basically enjoy even more high-level functionality on their phone.
Oh yes, that’s another thing. IGTV was actually made to fit on mobile phones. The dimensions were engineered for that purpose. Let’s take a look at the press Instagram did around the launch:
IGTV is different in a few ways. First, it’s built for how you actually use your phone, so videos are full screen and vertical. Also, unlike on Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. Instead, each video can be up to an hour long.
We’ve made it simple, too. Just like turning on the TV, IGTV starts playing as soon as you open the app. You don’t have to search to start watching content from people you already follow on Instagram and others you might like based on your interests. You can swipe up to discover more — switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” You can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.
(Press Release, Instagram)
There are a number of attractive elements here. Firstly, you can use the thing on your phone. This makes sense because the best video now tends to be served by the spontaneous nature of phone recording.
Secondly, you can use the new venture as a brand new publishing arm. Adding IGTV to your other platforms offers more opportunities for cross-platform linking. All in all, it was a great idea. It’s a major product, one that has really enhanced the Instagram experience.
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