Instagram has launched a number of updates over the past week, continuing to change how individuals use the app. Here’s a round-up of the updates you need to be aware of:
Removal of the following tab
Instagram axed the following tab this week, a feature that was commonly referred to as a stalking tool. The following tab was located in the “activity” section where you would view your own Instagram likes. It gave users an option to switch to a second page, where they could see what the individuals they follow were “liking” on the platform.
Now the “activity” page will just show your personal notifications (mentions, likes, comments, new followers) and your liking activity will remain private. While many users have applauded the change as it gives them more privacy, others who used the feature to discover new content and accounts have expressed disappointment.
IG Direct to be introduced to the web app.
It has been reported that Instagram is in the process of introducing direct messaging to its desktop site. The new feature was discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, a developer known for exploring code to find upcoming features and changes.
For brands and influencers, this feature will be particularly helpful. Responding to endless messages on the app is a difficult task and often requires the use of a full-sized screen and keyboard. Marketers should be able to improve their customer service efforts and better manage communication thanks to the update. The feature is said to be similar to Facebook’s Messenger website, containing a separate column for a list of contacts, message view and details of the contact. The move is viewed as part of Facebook’s efforts to unite Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. Facebook had previously revealed that cross-compatibility is on the way,
Instagram has also launched a new create mode within its Story camera. The new feature offers individuals designs and templates that they can use without the need for a photo or video. You can spice up your stories by adding a countdown, poll, quote or GIF.
Create gives the social user opportunities to share content, even if they are stuck somewhere and don’t have something visually significant to capture on their camera. Clever brands will start to incorporate create mode into their Instagram strategy to generate new forms of engagement and increase overall sentiment, as the app becomes more multi-faceted.
Last week Instagram introduced Threads, a new camera first messaging app that helps you stay connected to your closest friends. In a press release, Instagram said “For your smaller circle of friends, we saw the need to stay more connected throughout the day, so you can communicate what you’re doing and how you’re feeling through photos and videos.” So far the app doesn’t seem to be taking off with less than 0.1% of Instagram users buying into the hype.
More and more apps are giving users the option to switch to dark mode and Instagram is the latest to join the trend. The dark mode was rolled out to Android and iOS users this week, following recent moves from Whatsapp, Gmail and Twitter. It is a welcomed addition to late-night Instagram users who will be able to enjoy scrolling without the brightness straining their eyes.
As Social Media Strategist at innovation agency, Brandwidth, Colin Peter O’Riordan, develops a social strategy for some of the world’s biggest brands. Prior to joining Brandwidth, he worked as a Digital Consultant in New York City. Colin holds a Bachelor of Commerce from University College Cork and a Masters in Marketing Practice from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
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