Instagram Updates Round-Up: New Changes To Look Out For This August

Once again, the team at Instagram has been working hard at refining its platform, with more changes being announced in the last month that will bring both minor and major changes to its application. While some of these updates are being welcomed by the majority of users, influencers and industry commentators, others have already been stirring controversy that has already sparked a vocal backlash from the IG community.

Whether you love them or hate them, we’ve created another round-up of changes coming to Instagram that are bound to affect the way you create and share content and/or do business. So without any further adieu…

 

Ramping Up The Fight Against Online Bullying

In the first week of July, the Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri penned a blog post announcing the new tools that will be released as a part of their crusade to battle online bullying, especially amongst young people.

The first tool utilizes Artificial Intelligence to notify people who are about to post cruel or inflammatory comments that they are potentially about to post something hurtful. The aim of this tool is to give the writer a chance to reflect on their comments so they can consider writing something kinder.

Photo credit: Instagram

Another feature will be the Restrict function. Due to the concern many younger users have with thinking that interacting, blocking, or ignoring online bullies may aggravate them further, IG has created a feature that will allow you to restrict a certain user from seeing when you are online, if you have read their DMs and limit the visibility of their comments on your posts to other users, whilst the comments appear visible to them.

Photo credit: Instagram

With a recent study finding that 59% of American teenagers have been bullied or harassed online, we think that this is a great step in the right direction in creating a more open, accepting, and safe online space. It’s partly this endeavor to create a more healthy online space that has also inspired Instagram to begin…

 

Hiding Likes 

After launching their trial run of hiding likes in Canada in May, Instagram has continued to roll out the test in more countries. There are currently seven countries whose users have had their likes removed from the public eye, including Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.

Photo: Instagram

As the above image shows, while an image’s likes will still be viewable for the poster, others will no longer be able to see how many of their followers liked the photo. There are a number of reasons that have been speculated as to why Instagram has chosen to hide likes, ranging from the need to create a more authentic experience for users to want to encourage users to share more creative content as opposed to crowd-pleasing content.

Of all the recent changes to Instagram, this may be one of the biggest to affect the influencer marketing industry. As likes have long been a reliable metric on a post’s engagement rate, businesses will need to rely on different ways to gauge how well their content is relating to users. This is going to drive the need for both brands and influencers to create a more holistic approach to their marketing strategy that takes into account less obvious analytics.

 

Join Chat Sticker

Two months after releasing the “Donate” sticker to Stories (as covered in our previous Updates Round-Up) Instagram is again getting creative with its Sticker options – and this time, the aim is to enable direct communication. The new Join Chat sticker will allow users to invite their followers to a direct message (DM) chat where they can discuss whatever topic that your post may prompt.

Photo credit: Instagram

While the feature seems to be aimed at casual users as opposed to influencers and brands, the Join Chat sticker could potentially be used as another metric with which audience engagement can be gauged. Used creatively, influencers and businesses could get to know more about their fanbase, what they value and what they desire. It is this kind of data that is invaluable to companies in the information age.

As a more direct and open space for communication, the “Chat” function could potentially facilitate users to build a vocal community around their product or content. By participating in this new dimension of instant, mass engagement with their followers, influencers will be able to create a more authentic and connected experience with their fans. 

 

We’ve covered a lot about creating healthier online spaces and promoting positive social change through online activity in the past, and we can’t help but think that these newly announced changes are very much motivated by this same ethos. While some of these changes could result in a new kind of influencer marketing landscape, we believe that those who are ready to adapt to the changes and continue to bring their authentic, tailored content into this improving online space will no doubt thrive. What do you think?