Facebook’s 10th F8 Developer Conference celebrated the individual apps that now fall under the Facebook Inc fold (i.e. Facebook itself, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus), and highlighted what a global team of developers, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators can achieve when they collaborate non-competitively. Here, we focus on the Instagram redesign and Instagram changes that are likely to wow the more private user and the interest-focused user over the coming months.
Instagram in numbers – where is the social platform currently positioned?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of platform updates, let’s take a brief look at where Instagram is positioned in the current social media landscape with some Instagram Statistics. Social Media is dynamic in nature with trends, apps and platforms popping up all over the place, however, Instagram has its feet firmly anchored to the ground and growing rapidly.
By the end quarter 3 of 2019 Instagram was used in excess of 1 billion times per month, 500 million of which are reported to use the platform daily. An incredible number off the back of 1 billion visits, is the fact that 88% of these visits are from outside the US and 71% under the age of 35. When looking at these numbers it becomes clear how much potential there is using Instagram as a marketing platform.
Another incredible statistic is that a massive 95% of people who use Instagram in the US use YouTube – a clear indication that cross-platform consistency needs to be a priority for brands.
Day 1 of F8 2019 was entitled “Building New Products and Features for a Privacy-Focused Social Platform”. Mosseri’s keynote speech emphasised how important it was for Instagram to “lead the way in the fight against online bullying” by introducing common filters, light nudges and various safety tools.
“If people come to Instagram to spend time with their close friends, they stay to be inspired [in] art, fashion, entertainment, travel, sports… So our mission is to connect you with the people and things you love.
“At this point, we have both public and private spaces on Instagram and it’s our job to find the balance between those two and to take a privacy-first approach to all that we do, so we can make sure that all of you feel comfortable about telling your story,” he concluded.
Contrary to the preconceived ideas about Millennials and social media, only 35% of Millennials are reported to use Instagram and only 25% of the total smartphone population have Instagram. These numbers might be an indicator as to the steady and ongoing growth of Instagram.
Instagram redesign & changes announced at F8 2019
Before the Instagram redesign took centre stage, Facebook was in the spotlight around its security plans, emphasis on user groups as well as the revamped Facebook user interface. Mark Zuckerberg took the lead and looked at how global businesses will now be able to utilise the platform and better understand the new changes that have since been implemented.
Long-time Facebook executive, Adam Mosseri, took to the stage on Day 1 of F8 2019 to chat about the latest notable Instagram changes, a division he has already headed up for a 12-month period following the resignation its co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. These, which users can expect to encounter before too long on the app, are the options of:
- Shopping from preferred creators: a big move by Instagram is that you will soon be able to shop from within the Instagram platform and not have to leave to 3rd party payment gateway. At present shopping is more of a Q&A to find the right payment platform or being directed to a product which again redirects you to a shop which then again redirects you to a payment gateway. These ease of shopping is going to add a very interesting dynamic to the online sales environment.
- Fundraising for favourite causes: very soon you will be able to raise funds for NGO’s/NPO’s through a simple donation sticker that can be used in your stories. The built-in payment option will then contribute to the ease of donations by not having to leave the platform.
- Making use of a much-improved camera: there is an interesting development regarding new modes, which simplify the way you can share photos and videos. It is also mentioned to include additional fun features such as interactive stickers. More specific information will be released closer to the launch of this added functionality.
Of the changes, Savvy Sprout owner Craig Johnston predicts, is the ability to connect with others on the basis of interests and to support those who work in crafts – without having to exit Instagram – will open up a whole new world of marketing opportunity. “In the Instagram redesign, they will be testing this method of thoughtfully connecting the dots between shoppers, sellers and creators, and I doubt very much whether they’ll look back. Imagine simply tapping to see exactly what a designer is wearing right this very second, and purchasing an item (or whole outfit) immediately if it holds appeal. This also drastically changes how social media marketing works, is targeted and is perceived,” he enthused.
“The ability to be able to get as much information as possible and immediately transact if the need is there is incredibly powerful. This provides retailers and marketers with a big opportunity to capture their audience and provide everything they need within a couple of clicks.”
Johnston, however, cautions brands from using Instagram for its advertising potential alone when it may not be a channel that compliments their specific marketing mix. “When marketing plans and strategies are put together, brands should carefully analyse the need for specific platforms and clearly define goals. Instagram is a visual, personal and relatable platform and if, for example, B2B marketing teams start using Instagram to push business services, then the outcome might not be as expected and the uniqueness of Instagram diluted. In this case, a clever and targeted LinkedIn campaign would deliver significantly better results.”
What’s next for Instagram?
Instagram changes are far from over and next proposed change is a little less frivolous and considerably more cause-orientated. It involves the ability to raise money for a chosen non-profit organisation, also without logging out. “You’ll simply select a donation sticker in Stories, create a fundraiser, and set your close community of followers and friends in motion to support it,” enthuses Johnston. “It will kick off in the US first, but I’m thinking it won’t take long to reach other countries. It’s like crowd-funding for a charity, which is a really neat plan.”
And, lastly, Mosseri has announced that a much-improved camera will be launched on the app before too long. “It will apparently feature a Create Mode, in which users will seamlessly be able to share info without necessarily having a photo or video at their disposal,” comments Johnston, adding that this was a limitation of the app in the past. “Users will be granted an improved ability to express themselves, too, via special effects and interactive stickers. I look forward to trying it all out,” he says.