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Jun 09 2021

The Instagram Updates You Need to Know About

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Over the past month, Instagram has released several new updates across most of its features. In order to keep up with TikTok’s popularity and new e-commerce capabilities, Instagram has responded with a new Shop section in addition to Reels monetisation. 

To keep you up to date with Instagram’s updates, we’ve compiled a list of the biggest changes.

General Instagram Updates

Instagram users can hide like count

Facebook, owner of Instagram and Facebook, is now letting users hide their like counts on both platforms.

Instagram Updates

Users have the option to hide like and view counts on all posts, in addition to hiding counts on their own posts so no user can see how many likes they get, even if a follower has their like counts on. The settings can be turned on and off at any point, giving users more control over their app experience.

New branded content tools

Instagram is a hot-spot for branded content and the platform has added three new features to ease the process for influencers and brands alike. 

Creators will now be able to tag up to two brands in a single piece of content, and both brands will be able to see the other before approval. This will be beneficial for brands in cross-brand collaborations as both can now be promoted equally. 

Creators can publish content while waiting for a brand’s approval. The content appears as a paid partnership, but the brand’s name won’t appear until it is approved. Approvals can take a while to process, so this update means creators can post when they need to, helping achieve better reach and engagement—especially helpful if it’s a trend reactive partnership. 

Creators can now request a brand’s approval through the settings app and brands can accept or deny requests while viewing the content. This will make the brand approval process much quicker and easier.

These three updates will roll out over the next few weeks.

New affiliate model for creators

Announced at Instagram’s Creator Week, Instagram influencers will now have a way to earn commissions from the online sales they facilitate.

Instagram is to begin testing a native affiliate tool that provides influencers commission for purchases made by followers based on their recommendations. Sellers set their own commission rates and affiliate posts will be labelled “Eligible for Commission” so users will know their purchase supports the creator. 

The affiliate program will be tested with a small group of US-based creators and businesses including Pat McGrath Labs, Sephora and Benefit Cosmetics.

Instagram Ecommerce Updates

Introducing Drops

Instagram is launching a new shopping section called Drops that will showcase collections of exclusive product launches. Users will be able to browse, save items to wish lists, sign up for launch reminders and shop within the app. 

Instagram will select a number of collections to appear in the Drops section each week; brands will be considered to feature if they are already using Instagram’s product launch tool. Drops launched with 5 product Drops including Drake x NOCTA Cardinal Stock collection and Charlotte Tilbury’s Exclusive Pillow Talk Lips and Dream Lashes Kit.

Brands selected to feature on Drop will be able to go live to promote their product selection, alongside a countdown sticker. It is currently only available to US Instagram users. 

Drops creates a great opportunity for brands to create a social buzz around launches and to increase shopper demand. As users are able to shop within the app, Drops adds excitement to ecommerce on Instagram with new and exclusive products. Products will be in limited supply and only available for a short period of time.

Instagram Reels Updates

Instagram has been speedily developing its Reels capabilities in order to compete with TikTok. Given the fast developments, it is likely Reels could eventually become its own Instagram ecosystem with its own advertising, shopping and monetisation capabilities.

Bonuses: Reels monetisation

Reels Bonuses will allow creators to be paid for sharing new Reels. Creators will be able to track earnings and find new monetisation opportunities with a dedicated Bonuses tab. The Bonuses tab appears in the Creators settings, alongside other monetisation features.

Bonuses will allow Reels to heavily compete with Snapchat’s Spotlogith approach of dishing out $1million a day to creators. Bonuses will be given out based on the volume of Reels creators share, running on a quantity over quality basis.

Instagram launches Reels ad test

Instagram is testing Reels ads in the UK, US, France and Canada. Ads appear in between Reels and can last up to 30 seconds. The ads include a sponsored tag alongside a call to action button, and viewers can comment, like, save, share, skip and hide or report them. 

Brands included in tests are Louis Vuitton, Nespresso and Netflix.

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