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Social Media Updates Round-Up: July 2020

It’s that time again! As Instagram’s landscape is forever evolving, for both brands and for users, we have put together yet another handy round-up of all the new features being rolled out on Instagram for this month. From big changes to minor tweaks, here are the tools you’ll need to master to make the most of your Instagram branding as we move further into summer 2020.


Instagram Reels

As you’ve probably noticed, the heavy hitter is the grand debut of Instagram Reels being launched in Germany. Much like how Stories were created in direct competition with Snapchat back in 2016, Reels are widely being acknowledged as Instagram’s answer to the popularity of current app giant TikTok. It’s basically a short-form video feature that allows users to share bite-sized video content, including such tools as editing and audio options.

Photo credit: TechCrunch

Time will tell if Reels will prove to be a true competitor to TikTok, but as Germany was selected as one of the first territories in the roll-out, the wait may not be very long. With a dedicated feed alongside Stories, Reels also presents brand new opportunities for advertisers—and since one-third of Stories viewed across the platform are branded, it could make for a significant income stream for brands. 


Full-Screen Stories Display

Speaking of Stories, it looks like Instagram might be set to roll out a full-screen story display, as usage of what has become arguably their star feature continues to skyrocket. The new display, which is currently only being tested on a small number of users, points to evidence that sometime in the future, Instagram may pivot their tentpole feature from the Grid to a full-page Stories feed (again, much like TikTok’s For You Page). Seems a little drastic, but think about how many people use Stories as their primary Instagram function. Stranger things have happened…

Photo credit: Julian Gamboa

Using Carousels For Grassroots Information 

More and more, Instagram users are using Carousels to garner easy-to-digest, bite-sized information that is then being shared to their Story feed. In 2020, when activism around causes such as Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter have taken such a forefront in our media culture, these Carousels have become a crucial way to spread vital information, or even just make your followers aware of certain situations that need their attention.

Photo credit: GMHC

It’s not that this is a new feature per se (Instagram rolled out carousels for ad buyers in 2015), the way it is being used feels expressly of the moment. More than just a way to post 10 photos in one go, Carousels have become a powerful way to share guides, tutorials, resources, phone numbers, and all sorts of other pertinent info.


Instagram Shop Eligibility Requirements

Last month, we told you how, after years and years of clamoring from users and brands alike, Instagram is finally making their platform more shoppable with the advent of a Shop button that can be integrated directly onto a user profile.

Photo credit: Instagram

They’re still full steam ahead on that front, but they have tweaked some of the eligibility requirements when it comes to who can actually use the new service. The big one is the Instagram account in question must be linked to an owned web site—meaning, no Amazon, Etsy, Redbubble, or other third party seller allowed. Make sense, since it looks like Instagram isare really trying to elbow their way into the eCommerce game, which if you ask us, has always seemed like a pretty blatant blind spot on their part. Now you can finally buy that hot swimsuit or cool bag without hunting down the item on a completely different platform. Happy shopping!


Ad Creation Without Facebook

This is a game-changer for all the admins out there. No offense to Instagram’s parent company, but nothing spikes a social media manager’s anxiety quite like Facebook Ads. With even more changes to their new Creator Studio this month, it’s always a little awkward to navigate, so it’s a relief that now Instagram is offering a new way to create an ad on their platform without going through Facebook Ads.

Photo credit: Forbes

So far this feature has only been rolled out in the US and Turkey, and is reserved for first-time Ad users. But in a climate where Facebook has been trying to integrate Instagram into its sister platform more and more, it’s a surprising (but welcome!) move.


More Spacious Explore Tab

If you’re as addicted to refreshing your Explore tab as we are, you’ve probably realized this month that things are looking a little different.

Photo credit: TechCrunch

With bigger thumbnails and a more specious, well-thought-out mosaic, the Instagram algorithm can now work a little easier at presenting its users with the content they actually want to see. And with the appearance of Reels and a more prominent placement of IGTV content, it’s going to be a challenge to make the Explore page not look cluttered as they continue to add features. And of course, because Instagram do nothing without ads in mind, there is also confirmed chatter about brands being able to directly integrate sponsored posts into the Explore grid, which once again, would mean a gigantic shift towards even more branded content on a social media platform used over a billion times a month, throughout the entire globe. 


What’s Next?

It’s a lot to take in, right? But that’s OK—we’re here to guide you through it. If you’re looking to up your Instagram game, grow your followers, and unlock all the potential social media influence has to offer, drop us a line at hello@collabary.com and our experts will sort you out. To never miss one of our Instagram Round-Ups, subscribe to our email newsletter here.