As any Instagram fan knows, this social media platform is ever-changing. I don’t know about you, but I just about get my head around the latest functionality and up pops another update that alters how we use our beloved Insta. If it feels like you’re forever playing catch-up, it looks like things aren’t slowing down for the social media giant in 2018. Here’s the low down on the scroll down…
Get ready to shop
This year shoppable content will become more commonplace on Instagram. At the moment the platform only supports shoppable tags on posts for selected U.S. based business accounts with a Shopify integration – so most of us won’t have experienced this e-commerce feature as yet – but the the rumour is that this feature will undergo a wider-reaching rollout in 2018.
Confused by accounts that have thousands of followers and little engagement? Hurrah – 2018 looks to see the end of dodgy third-party apps promising to deliver thousands of followers (fake or otherwise). Paying for engagement is also on its way out. Instagram has been working on this for over a year, with the end-goal of cleaning up the platform of bots and spamming content.
Furthermore, if you use any kind of automation or bot-like software on your account, there’s a good chance that a) Instagram knows, and b) you may be shadowbanned this year. For example, if you use software that automatically posts to Instagram for you, you’re also violating Instagram’s terms of service and could be at risk of not only getting shadowbanned, but getting your entire Instagram account banned.
Tell us a story
One of the most notable recent changes of late is the heavy focus on Instagram Stories – the most successful feature introduced since Instagram launched back in 2010. A side-step from our meticulously curated image feeds, Stories invites us to post more freely, sharing further insights into user profiles. The Stories feature is set to get even bigger this year – we can already see the ‘Story Highlights’ on our profiles – allowing key Stories to stick around longer than the previous 24 hour limit. Currently, adding a link to your Story is only possible if you have a verified business profile with 10000+ followers but it looks like this function may roll out across all accounts by the end of the year… get linking!
2018 is set to see Instagram Live grow in popularity. This function builds a more personal, intimate connection between a user and their audience. Instagram Live is all about being truly ‘in the moment’, with nowhere to hide. The live content offers a true, real-time connection. With Instagram inviting profile followers to ‘view it now’ before it disappears for good, the ‘see it now or never’ appeal is wide reaching. New, additional features we can expect to see range from being able to request to join someone else’s Live broadcast to going Live with a friend.
Eve Brannon, Features Editor