Instagram updates & how brands are taking advantage of them
This was a big week for Instagram. A couple new platform updates and another to be announced. This week, we’re recapping these stories for you and highlighting how big brands like General Electric are taking advantage of the updates.
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The top story this week is the launch of Instagram Stories. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before... Instagram isn’t being shy about this new feature being a copy from Snapchat. They’ve taken the disappearing messages functionality from Snapchat and applied it to their own network. Instagram clearly saw the growth of Snapchat over the years and is hoping this can keep eyeballs in their feed.
We shared a write up of the new feature and our predictions of what it will mean to marketers earlier this week. It will be interesting to see how brands leverage Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat.
And just like that we’re already seeing brands take advantage of Instagram Stories. General Electric is currently running a Snapchat series on their exploration of Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua. The update of Instagram Stories hasn’t caused them to abandon the Snapchat series, though. Rather, they’re using the Instagram Story to preview and promote the Snapchat series to their Instagram audience.
This is a great use of both of the networks and smart of GE to get in so early. Instagram Stories gives them an opportunity to share their Snapchat content in a familiar format to an audience that may not be aware of their Snapchat presence.
Trolls. Nobody likes them and nobody's quite sure how to deal with them either. The ethics of online comment moderation are complicated and Instagram is approaching the issue in a unique way. Soon, they’ll be enabling users to moderate their own comment feed, decide what’s appropriate or not or even turn off the comments altogether. Instagram has always had general guidelines to define appropriate commenting behavior, but enforcing that across an entire network can be difficult. Their hope is that this approach will empower each user to apply their own appropriate guidelines.
For marketers, the thing to watch here is how this will impact engagement rates on the network. On the one hand, this could make the comment feed a happier place where people feel more comfortable sharing (which could increase content engagement). On the other hand, if a good quantity of users just turn off commenting on their posts, we may see a big dip in engagement. Monitor the adoption of the update once it goes live to tailor your engagement strategy.
In the hope of deepening their relationship with brands and increasing adoption of their Promoted Posts feature, Instagram is enhancing the analytics they offer to businesses who purchase Promoted Posts. They’re now making it simpler than ever to switch to a business account and view detailed insights about your Instagram sharing. Instagram’s revenue comes from the Promoted Posts product, so of course, they’re using both of these new tools as lead-ins to purchase Promoted Posts on the network.
If you haven’t switched over to a business profile yet, we suggest you do so sooner than later. These changes are really increasing the value of the platform for marketers.