Here’s what to expect from Instagram in 2018
You would forgive Instagram if it took a few months to catch its breath after a whirlwind 2017 that saw the number of sponsored posts double and in which Instagram Stories took off and left Snapchat in its wake. Despite these monumental steps, Instagram has shown no indication of slowing down thus far in 2018.
Instagrammer Tore Aarsand shared a recent YouTube video in which he touted the importance of marketers being involved in Instagram in 2018.
“Facebook is putting its bet on Instagram because they know they can do amazing things with that platform moving into the future,” Aarsand said. “Also, Instagram is in direct competition with Snapchat — and since Facebook and Instagram work as a team, Facebook is doing all in its power to try to help Instagram to try to get Snapchat out of the game.”
So, if you rely on Instagram to share brand messages, what should you expect this year?
In the beginning (yeah, all the way back to 2010), Instagram was solely an app that allowed users to share photos. Over time, short videos — then slightly longer videos — were added as functionalities. In its quest for app domination, Instagram Stories were added in late 2016. So, what’s next for Instagram?
Well, it looks like text.
Instagram is now testing “Type,” an Instagram Stories function that allows users to share text-only stories. These text-only stories allow users to either create a series of stories that includes nothing but text, or to intersperse some text between photos and videos. Essentially, “Type” is going to allow Instagram users another opportunity to share, which will likely further attract users to the “Stories” feature.
Certainly, adding text-based stories moves Instagram further away from its photo-heavy roots, but at this point, Instagram is so far from where it started that it should be a seamless transition.
More updates to Stories
After somewhat shamelessly copying Snapchat to create Stories, Instagram has released feature after feature to make improvements that Snapchat can’t keep up with. For example, users now can post their stories to Facebook, and the app is testing letting users post stories to WhatsApp.
And, lest you think that Instagram Stories has already taken every feature from Snapchat, that’s not true — though it may be soon. One of Instagram’s current tests that may be rolled out on a wider scale in 2018 includes a screenshot alert — which notifies you when another user takes a screenshot of your story or direct message. Sound familiar?
Direct messaging updates
Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, has placed a lot of emphasis on direct messaging, so Instagram is following suit. Just before the new year, Instagram made it possible for users to share live videos inside of direct messages. Now, just a few days ago, Instagram rolled out its “Show Activity Status” feature that does exactly as it says — that is, it lets you know which of the friends you have ever sent a direct message to are active now. Also, for those friends who are not currently active, Instagram will list when they were last active on the app.
For these reasons, and more, it looks like 2018 will be another big year for the channel.
“I think it’s pretty safe to say that big things are coming to Instagram,” Aarsand said. “If you’re only repping your business on YouTube or Facebook, for example, please do yourself a favor and expand to Instagram.”
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