2020 Instagram Updates

Article Written by Julia Blake, Founder & CMO of Sage Marketing LLC

You probably already know that what’s “true” in social media changes quickly and often. That’s actually part of the reason why our tagline is “marketing evolved” because you CONSTANTLY need to be evolving your strategies. It’s incredibly important, especially in the world of COVID, to be keeping up with these changes so you stay ahead of the competition. Instagram has rolled out a lot of new changes in the last year so we’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind as you manage your Instagram account for the remainder of the year.

Check Out Instagram.

Businesses with products listed and a shop on Instagram now have access to the NEW in-app checkout. That’s right, folks can stay on Instagram and do their shopping while they’re in there. The plus side to this? Your audience will be encouraged to engage with (AKA buy/lurk) products they’re seeing with ease of checkout. We see this as being great for social media campaigns as well. Not only that, but the checkout process is streamlined and utilizes the security and convenience of Facebook Pay. Instagram has also announced they’ll be waiving selling fees through the end of the year due to economic hardships that most businesses have faced in the world of COVID. The downside? You may see less website traffic as folks will be staying on the Instagram app. Depending on insights, you may be able to target Instagram buyers with re-targeting campaigns as well. As marketers, we will wait and see how trends play out.

If you don’t have an Instagram Shop with checkout, but want one, it’s now easier than ever to set up using Commerce Manager or through other third party integrations like Shopify. With a new ability, come new insights. You’ll be able to view those analytics in the Commerce Manager as well. Does your business work with influencers? Live Shopping is now coming through Instagram as well (just to add even more success to this new ability). Your followers will be able to purchase items that they’re viewing in REAL TIME.

Pro-tip: Don’t forget to tag your products in your Instagram posts to drive Instagram-based sales.

Closed Captions Made Easy.

Thanks to new updates, gone are the days of having to add your own closed captioning to video posts. Captions have been crucial to engaging folks who might not be able to listen to a video (ahem, we’re talking to you TV watchers/social scrollers). Not only that, but this decade has been all about inclusion and there are lots of deaf or hard of hearing followers who could really benefit from this update. Automatic closed captions are here to stay and we’re all about it. Don’t know what IGTV is? Download it now. When you upload your video to IGTV, you simply choose “auto-generated captions” and that’s it!

Image sourced from photosbyen

Now that being said, this is new so be prepared for imperfections. The caption transcriber may not always be 100% accurate, but it’s better than other automated options. SIDE NOTE: You may have also noticed folks who share in their captions a written description describing the image they shared; this is for folks using screen readers (for the visually impaired). While you’re at it, don’t forget to add alternative text to your regular posts to be extra inclusive.

Opt-In For Ethical Practices.

Not to be spooky or anything (come on now, it’s almost Halloween), but YE BE WARNED advertisers/marketers. With Apple’s latest iPhone updates came some positive changes for users, but more difficult challenges for advertisers/marketers. The new changes will allow users to opt-in to data tracking for each app they use (instead of it automatically happening and requiring an opt-out). Now while this may present challenges, we think, overall, it’s good that  IT folks are starting to have a conscience about these things. In fact, if you haven’t watched Social Dilemma on Netflix yet, we recommend you do. It’s important to understand your ethical responsibilities in our world today. Now due to kick-back from some, *AHEM* unethical advertisers, Apple has promised to really implement this in 2021 so just start preparing yourself for data changes, or lack thereof. The CEO of Instagram has gone so far as to release this statement (grab your popcorn).

“If the ecosystem changes in a way that advertisers can’t really measure their return on investment, that’s really going to be, yes, somewhat problematic for our business, [but] it’s going to be much, much more problematic for all the small businesses.”

Do we think it’s going to be THAT big of a deal? Eh, probably not. If you’re working with agile marketers and know how to speak your followers’ love language, you’ll be just fine.

What are our overall thoughts on these changes?

We think it’s all for the better. Algorithms have also been rocked in the last year so make sure to start tracking insights like saves, shares, follows, etc. If you have any questions about these new capabilities or want to get started with social media marketing? Holler at us.