Instagram Updates Round-Up: Threads, Group Stories, Creators Account & Augmented Reality Try-ons

Autumn is a season of gradual changes, so what better time could there be for Instagram to roll out another round of exciting updates? Whether they’re here to streamline the business operations of IG’s creators or to help connect online communities better through messaging, we believe that the updates will create a better experience for brands, influencers and regular users alike. 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the latest Instagram updates and explored what this might mean for your influencer marketing strategy. We have a lot of ground to cover in this blog, so we may as well jump straight into it…


1. Threads

In a surprise announcement, Instagram launched its new Threads messaging app that seeks to provide a more private social space for users. For those who are yet to try it, Threads allows you to send text, photo and video updates to your closest friends on Instagram. The app is also integrated with your Instagram DMs and, like Snapchat, opens to the camera to enable prompt, convenient conversations.

instagram threads collabary

Photo credit: Instagram Press

Perhaps most interesting are the Status and Auto Status tools. While Status allows you to set a particular emoji as an away message when you are too busy to interact, Auto Status gives the app the ability to assume an emoji response based on your location, movement and phone’s battery. While questions have been posed about how invasive this kind of track-and-sharing technology might be, we think that the automatic response system may help ease the pressure of users to reply immediately to close friends’ messages. 


2. Group Stories

Now this one might be interesting. As we covered in an earlier Updates Round-Up, reverse-engineer hobbyist and tipster Jane Manchun Wong regularly dissects the code of websites and apps to learn about upcoming changes. A recent find points to the possibility of Instagram releasing a new Group stories feature.

Photo credit: Jane Manchun Wong

Screenshots of the feature reveal that numerous users will be able to share posts with one group story. From there, the collective post will then be able to be sent to close friends or a Group. While the feature has yet to be officially announced, we believe that this could be the beginning of a whole new direction for influencer marketing. For example, what if an IM campaign involving numerous influencers could be curated into one story – a mixture of the individuals’ content with the brand’s? 

This could potentially open up the potential for larger stories to be told in a more holistic sense, with campaigns being easily accessible to fans as a sum of many parts rather than in fragmented posts. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.


3. Create Mode

Another update that was predicted by Jane Manchun Wong in August of this year is the newly released Create mode for the stories camera. This sees the current ‘Type’ option being replaced with ‘Create’ – making GIFS, stickers, and polls easier to find and use.

Photo credit: Instagram

The streamlining of these creator tools is set to encourage more creativity with Instagram’s users when it comes to telling stories. With rival apps like TikTok gaining popularity with younger audiences due to the highly creative and addictive nature of the shared content, Instagram will need to continue facilitating the creation of new kinds of stories that will hold the attention of this same demographic. Another way they have expressed their commitment to cultivating new talent is with their…


4. @Creators Account

In a further move to acknowledge the importance of content creators to the success of the platform, Instagram has launched the @Creators account. Here, they share professional advice on how those looking to capitalize from their Instagram can make the most out of the tools provided.

instagram creators account collabary by Zalando

Photo credit: Creators 

This can be seen as a further effort to encourage users to create Instagram and IGTV-specific content in its bid to rival YouTube as the go-to for original sponsored videos. So far, the account has shared interviews and insights from influencers like Indiana Massara and Lauren Godwin. Whether you’re a budding or established influencer, we recommend you go ahead and follow the account – the account is a masterclass filled with valuable insider information. 


5. Augmented Reality ‘Try-Ons’

If there’s one shortfall to shopping for clothes online as opposed to at a physical location, it is that you can’t try an outfit out for size before you buy. Since the advent of e-commerce, this has been a bridge that was seemingly impossible to cross, but a new technology could spell the end of this dilemma.


Photo credit: Later

Built with Facebook’s Spark Augmented Reality (AR) platform, Instagram has launched advertising tools to brands that would allow customers to engage with and try on virtual models of their products. For now, the feature is only limited to cosmetics companies and eyewear brands, with both Mac and Ray-Ban listed as early partners. 

However, it’s expected that the tools will be available to a wider sector of fashion and accessory products. Depending on the success of the audience’s adoption of this feature, this could be just what Instagram needs to launch the app into e-commerce heavyweight territory.


6. Advertisement Restrictions

Proving that they’re truly dedicated to creating a safer and healthier online space for minors, Instagram has introduced a new policy that seeks to restrict those under 18 from seeing certain advertisements. Sponsored posts advertising certain cosmetics and weight-loss products have been targeted as being potentially harmful for underage users and will now be blocked from their feeds. 

According to Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager, “We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone who uses it, and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media.”

We find this kind of action truly commendable in the fight to make online spaces a positive, welcoming place. It’s also an important lesson for brands to learn – social media is clearly adapting to ensure what is being advertised to minors promotes their mental health rather than calling their insecurities into question.


7. No More Following Activity


Photo credit: Business Insider

Now this one may not seem relevant to you at all, as according to Instagram, very few people realized this section even existed. The Following Activity feature allowed users to view what posts and users the accounts they were following were interacting with. Citing both the unpopularity and, dare we say it, creepy element to the feature, Instagram has been cutting Following Activity as long ago as September.

“We are removing it because only a small number of people use the Following tab regularly,” said an Instagram spokesperson. “Additionally, we’ve heard from people that they think the Following tab is a very hidden feature that they don’t find to be very useful, especially when compared to a similar feature like Explore.”

What’s next?

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