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July’s Instagram Changes and How to Use Them

What does the latest Instagram update mean for you and your business? Read a summary of what’s on the horizon, and get tips on how to start adjusting so you don’t skip a beat.

You may have read, if you follow social media news, the surprising statement last month from the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri: “We’re no longer just a square photo-sharing app,” he said in an Instagram post. “The number one reason that people say they use Instagram, in research, is to be entertained.”

Changes on the horizon 

They’re looking to build new experiences for users, he says, in four areas:

  • Creators—supporting this group as part of a shift in power from institutions to individuals;
  • Video—prioritizing this content form, spurred by the massive change in video consumption and usage;
  • Shopping—making this easier, as online buying continues to rise;
  • Messaging—adapting to the changes in how people connect with the people they know (away from feeds/stories, toward messaging).

How can you put the Instagram update to use?

One way the platform is responding to user data and competitive successes is to give more weight to video content in what they recommend for users. TikTok, for example, automatically leads with “recommendations” that the app is suggesting for you, based on what they think you’ll like, vs. content from people you know. This is one approach Instagram is starting to evolve; time will tell how else they adapt. 

In the meantime, let’s look at this as important keys for how you can stand out and get your users more involved. It means that getting the most benefit from the Instagram platform will demand you create and share more content, posted via Reels or IGTV, that’s fun, informative, dynamic and engaging. You’ll likely be able to take advantage of full-screen, mobile-friendly formats (e.g., the size a live, vertical video shows up in: 1080p x 1920p).

Because there are so many different formats (at least for now), available on Instagram, it can help to decide on a few styles and stick with those—that way you don’t need to worry too much about optimum size, shape or length. So, for instance, if you post graphics only once or twice a day, you might want to be sure the image is the right size to share in your Story, but keep the bulk of the content in a central square so it’ll look as good as possible both in your feed and in the Stories format. 1080p x1350p is the other primary size, for carousel posts and for video playing in the feed. 

How can you create more video while recording less video?

If the idea of doing more video has you biting your fingernails, it doesn’t need to. Not all video has to be of you (or your clients). Through tools like Canva and Ripl, you can start with one of their animated templates, add stock images (or your own), and color backgrounds or photos and have a coordinated series of posts ready in no time. 

If you are shooting video, remember to choose the vertical format on your phone, or a vertical orientation if you’re using another camera. The biggest challenge with video that’s sized poorly is that your subject (people, food, beauty, whatever), is too far away, has less impact-and-entertainment value, and so gets less priority in Instagram recommendations.

For a good comprehensive guide to sizes, that’s also updated regularly, take a look at this Invidio summary. (And BTW—the company offers some pretty innovative services, too, including the ability to turn text into video with a click of a button!)

Other Instagram changes we can all celebrate

Happily, Instagram has also changed the amount of analytic data you can reference to see what your followers like best. Rather than 30 days’ worth of data, the Instagram gurus have expanded it to 60 days’.

Plus, as of a few months ago, you can see your results in different ways:

  • Lives: accounts reached, shares, comments and peak concurrent.
  • Reels: accounts reached, shares and comments, PLUS, likes, saved, shares, and plays.

And, there are increased collaboration options, too, so users can invite each other to add to a post or reel, and the content will appear in both feeds. Just think: how can you and your referral partners support each other’s reach?

If you’re interested in digging deeper to learn more about how the algorithms rank content for different types of posts, this article from EmbedSocial will be helpful. 

And of course, join our Social Media Coaching Club as we get more specific about putting Instagram updates like these to work to help grow your business, along with many more social media action tips. 

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