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July 14, 2021

Wait, what?

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri recently shocked the internet with an announcement that Instagram will be shifting away from photos to focus primarily on video content, shopping, creators, and messaging.

 

We’ve come a long way from the simple chronological timeline of square photos. Now, Instagram is moving into becoming an “entertainment” app. Your experience will start to be less centered on seeing your friends’ posts, and more about discovering content from brands and influencers based on your preferences. This has already been in development with the addition of Instagram Shops, Reels, and their increasing presence with each app update.

The pandemic has accelerated the development and use of online shopping through apps, and videos have become key advertising tools driving online sales. With major platforms like TikTok and YouTube thriving in the video space, Instagram’s changes are meant to push the app back into the forefront. The updates will likely take more than just inspiration from its competitors. We saw similar changes a few years ago with the addition of Instagram Stories, clearly inspired by the then-dominance of Snapchat. 

Here are some of the key changes to expect over the next six to 12 months as Instagram moves in this new direction:

  • Video content will dominate the app
  • Greater presence of Reels within app
  • Expansion of shopping within Reels
  • In-app video editing tools for Stories, IGTV, and Reels, similar to TikTok
  • User-selected “topics of interest” used to create relevant advertising
  • Focus shifting from institution to individual (i.e. brands will need to have a “face”)
  • An experience focused on discovering brands and creators you’re not familiar with

Basically, video will be the center of everything. Get your camera out and start filming!

If you’re a business or creator who uses Instagram to promote your brand, here are some suggested practices to make sure your content gets the optimal reach.

  • If you don’t already create video content, start now.
  • One video per week posted to Reels, IGTV, or your feed will dramatically increase impressions and engagement.
  • Use Instagram’s in-app videography and editing tools as much as possible. The algorithm will reward you with more visibility.
  • Have a clear sales funnel. If someone sees your content and connects with your brand, where should they go next?

To support a business or creator you like, the algorithm is changing as well. 

  • Likes are no longer the main metric of success. In fact, users can opt to hide the like count from public view entirely.
  • Saves and shares are key to pleasing the algorithm. If you like it, save the post and share it to your stories. The latter also exposes your followers to that creator.
  • React or respond to stories posted by the business.

These changes are expected, but not exactly welcome. Most of us love Instagram for what it is (well, was…) — a place to share photos, whether it’s a slice of our life or a piece of our business. Instagram is starting to feel like it wants to be every app in one. Identity crisis, much? This change is coming whether we embrace it or not, so set your camera to video mode. It’s time to pivot your brand so it thrives within the ever-changing world of Instagram!

About the Author

Natalie Abernethy

As art director at ChatterBlast, Natalie has a love for color and typography and is happiest when using her visual skills to tell a story. When she’s not busy creating, you can find her at the art museum or walking around South Philly with big headphones and a La Croix.

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