20 new Instagram features and what they do

By Sophie Ogden - 23/07/2018

If you use Instagram daily, like me, then I’m sure you will have noticed that the design has changed and new features have been added. But what has changed?

2018 has been a big year for Instagram so far, so here is the low down on what has changed:

API changes

(API stands for Application Programming Interface)

On April 9, 2012, Facebook bought Instagram, both Facebook and Instagram have updated their API to try and protect your data and privacy. With the new GDPR coming into fruition privacy is a big issue in the media today.

Here are a few things that were changed with Instagram’s new API:

• Instagram bots are officially dead.

• Your Instagram “likes” are now completely private, this means that other companies won’t be able to tell what posts you’ve liked or not.

• Apps that help you analyse your Instagram followers, or someone else’s followers, no longer work.

• If you’re using an app to search for user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram (like Later’s Search & Repost feature), it’s capabilities will be a bit more limited.

• You will no longer be able to post or delete comments from anywhere except with Instagram with a personal account. This means if you want to use community management features like Later’s Conversations, you’ll need to switch to an Instagram business profile.

Business accounts can now schedule posts

As a result of the new API changes, business accounts can now schedule posts. However, this is restricted to one photo at a time, you can’t schedule a picture carousel or a video, yet. This will be a real benefit to businesses, especially in marketing.

New Instagram Algorithm

The Instagram algorithm tries to predict what photos and videos are most important to you and uses three main factors to figure this out: interest, timeliness, and relationship.

As a result, people now see 90% of the posts from their friends and family, instead of 50% when it was the chronological feed. Thank goodness!

Mute the posts of the accounts you follow

From time to time we all see posts that aren’t particularly interesting even from people we want to continue following, so instead of unfollowing an account you can now mute posts. To do this, find the post you don’t want to see, press the 3 dots in the right-hand corner and choose the ‘mute’ option.

Anti-bullying features

Instagram will soon be able to hide accounts that are promoting hate speech or harassing others. They have also announced that they’re creating a filter that protects users from bullying comments, stating at F8 (Facebook’s annual conference) that “This new filter hides comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health.” This will help to keep people safe when using social media, especially young and vulnerable children.

Existing Instagram posts can be turned into ads

In the past, the only way to run an organic post as an ad was by using the in-app “Promote” button. After the long-awaited update, Instagram is now rolling out a new feature allowing users to turn existing Instagram posts into ads within Power Editor and Ads Manager.

Video calling

You can now call people through messages on Instagram, whether that’s just one person or an entire group (up to 4)! Go to your messages and click into a conversation, you will see a video icon in the top right-hand corner, press this and you can call the person/people in the conversation.

Instagram stories

Instagram stories has gained a lot of attention since its creation in 2016, but what about Snapchat? Snapchat usage and engagement has gone down by 15 to 40 percent since the release of Instagram stories. Nowadays, they only get around 205,000 to 250,000 views per day. With all the new features Instagram stories are proving to be tough competition for Snapchat. And with all these new features, why wouldn’t we use stories?

New fonts and type mode

In February, Instagram introduced ‘type mode’ which means you don’t have to take a picture in stories now and can simply use the screen for just text. You can also use different fonts to make your text more personal and stylish. If you haven’t experienced this amazing feature check out some examples below:

Adding GIFs

Earlier in the year, Instagram teamed up with Giphy to build a high-quality gif library within the app. After all, a Gif can say a thousand words...well maybe not, but it helps to get your point across, with style.

Focus mode

If you go onto your Instagram stories and scroll across the bottom you will find a feature called ‘focus’. This enables you to take a picture whilst Instagram blurs the background and it makes you look a million dollars.

Repost Instagram stories

When you are tagged in a story, it appears in your DMs and from there you can click on the story, edit it and share it again on your own Instagram story.

Share Instagram posts in stories

If you scroll down your feed and see an interesting post you want to share, you could send it directly to someone in your DMs. However, you can now choose to share it on your Instagram stories but the original owner will be credited. It saves you having to print screen all the time.

Upload bulk photos and stories

This feature is only available for Android at the moment, but if you go into your stories and upload media you will see there is an option in the top right-hand corner to select multiple photos/videos which you can upload all at once.

AR camera effects

Instagram will have filters based on your followers and sponsored ads/celebrities.

Share songs from Spotify

If you want your friends to check out a new song that you’ve been listening to recently then just go onto Spotify, press share and choose ‘Instagram stories’ it will automatically be shared to your story. It’s a great excuse to check out some new tunes!

Emoji slider polls

So, when you post a video or a picture on Instagram stories you can now insert an emoji slider, you can ask a question, choose an emotion and then let your followers decide where the slider should be. For example, you could post a picture of your food and ask ‘how nice does my meal look’ and then the people who have seen it can choose how much they love it by moving the love heart eyes emoji.

IGTV

This is now a separate entity from stories, it enables the people you follow to make full-screen,  hour-long videos. You can access it through the Instagram app, or, you can download it as a stand-alone app.

Shoppable tags are now on stories

You can now tag your clothes/products on stories so you can buy them for yourself but again, this is only available for businesses!

Add music to your story

This is truly exciting, and BRAND NEW. When you have filmed your story or taken your picture you can now click the icon in the top right-hand corner (where you go to add GIFs or emojis) and add music! Type the song you want or look up what’s popular, crop it (maximum is 15 seconds) then post! Fun fact, they don’t have ‘All by myself - Celine Dion’ just in case you wanted to post a picture of you and your cat with a glass of wine on a Saturday night…

Seen notifications

You can now see when people are online through Instagram messages, just like Facebook Messenger! Do you like this feature? or do you want to stay incognito? 

What do you think of Instagram's new features? Will they help your business? Or will they just help you get a better selfie? Let us know. 







 

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