February has been a busy month for Instagram – Aaron Brooks breaks down how its new functions could benefit brands.
Businesses simply can’t afford to ignore Instagram in 2019. With new updates rumoured and launched every month, the app is working hard to maintain the interest of its billion active users. February was no different, as its focus on bolstered engagement tools and functions continue make the app an essential marketing platform for brands. Here are the most important ones to get your head around.
IGTV previews in feed
Users may have been slow to adopt its long-form video offering, but Instagram has another trick up its sleeve to try and entice viewers. Now, whenever a user uploads content to IGTV, a short promo of it will run in their followers feed.
This means audiences will be able to see whether a video interests them without navigating away from the feed. If it does, and they want to see more, a single tap takes them to the full length IGTV version.
It will be interesting to see how much this effects the number of IGTV users. Longer videos can build a deeper connection between brands and audiences. Now Instagram can guarantee users will see at least part of the action; we could see more brands investing in the channel.
Instagram is reportedly testing a public version of the Collections feature.
Currently private, Collections gather sets of posts on specific topics saved by the user. Making these themed boards public would provide Instagram users an opportunity to share their selection of curated posts sorted by their interests and passions. As many have noted, not dissimilar to Pinterest.
For marketers, this opportunity is bolstered by Instagram’s growing ecommerce capabilities. While user may use this function as a wish list, fashion brands could showcase entire collections in a catalogue-style Instagram collection, made up of shoppable posts.
According to reports from TechCrunch, Instagram is testing a donation sticker on Instagram Stories. Presumably this would allow users to search through a list of nonprofits to link to, directly from the sticker.
Instagram announced last November that it has been able to help fundraise more than $1 billion through the use of its charitable tools. This extra sticker, set with the incredibly popular Stories function, could push this even further. An exciting prospect for not-for-profit companies and charitable causes.
Messages on desktop
As any brand will know, community management is an important part of an engaged social audience. Instagram’s latest testing, as reported by The Verge, could make this easier, bringing direct messages to the web version of its app.
Currently you can only reply to messages in-app. By enabling it on the desktop version, users and brands may find it easier to manage their followings. With half of all users now sending direct messages, its another area of fast growth for the app.
This article first appeared in www.marketingmag.com.au
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