Instagram Updates: Improved Camera and ‘Shop from Creators’
At the recent F8 Conference, Instagram officials announced a number of enhancements and improvements for the platform, including an updated version of its camera, as well as a new feature known as ‘Shop From Creators’. Details on these enhancements were provided at the conference, and it is expected that rollouts for these new features will begin in the near future this year.
Shop From Creators
This is a brand-new feature which will allow users to shop directly from other users without having to leave the platform. Instead of having to inquire about product details or taking a screenshot of some product which seems interesting to you, you’ll be able to tap on the screen to see what your favorite product creators may be wearing, and you’ll have the option to purchase it right there on the spot. Anyone in the global Instagram community will thus have the capability of shopping from creators.
Instagram plans to test this new feature with a localized group of creators very soon, with the intention of increasing access quickly after successful test runs have been concluded. This will allow Instagram influencers to have vastly more opportunities for generating revenue from their posts, since it will allow them to have direct connections with any brand they’re promoting. It will also encourage more influencer activity on Instagram, thereby making it a much more prominent tactic in any digital marketers arsenal.
The platform considers this a very important achievement, because it is known that the Snapchat platform has been targeting the exact same influencers, and is seeking to boost its own appeal for prominent users, so that they will continue to post Snaps. With additional options in the works for Instagram users, it’s expected that the strategy will continue to squeeze Snapchat and limit its potential growth with regard to influencer marketing. That of course, is exactly what Instagram intended all along, and why it is continuing to develop more options relative to that area of marketing.
Instagram is also including an option in the very near future so that users will have the capability of raising money and awareness for non-profit organizations which are important to them, via donations and stickers which are included in Stories. According to Instagram itself, the intent is to give users the capability of creating a fundraiser and mobilizing their entire community behind a specific cause, so that every penny of the money raised can be funneled directly to the non-profit organization of choice.
Since Instagram users are in general more socially aware, and they tend to be more tightly aligned with brands that they care about, it would seem to be a good move on the part of Instagram to provide additional methods to help such users promote their favored causes. The rollout for this new fundraising option will initially be limited to users in the United States, with additional countries slated for inclusion on the rollout later this year.
Enhanced personal connection
At the F8 conference, Instagram officials noted that their team had learned a number of valuable lessons from the tremendous popularity of Stories, some of which were that it is less interruptive and far more intimate than other apps used for communication. The lessons learned from the success of Stories are being put to use in helping the platform develop a roadmap for other elements on the platform. One of the direct results of this information is that Instagram has reduced its focus on any kind of follower counts in the newest version of its app, so that they are far less prominently displayed on pages where you might have expected to see them.
The company is also testing the capability of hiding Like counts, as one way to lower the emphasis on vanity metrics. With the whole company behind this strategy, it has announced that large-scale testing would soon be underway for these new features. The whole idea behind this different approach to displaying Like counts is that Instagram would like its users to focus much less on how many likes they’re getting, so they’ll have more time to spend connecting with people that matter to them.
This is a fairly significant change which ordinary users need to take notice of, and which digital marketers also need to be aware of, since it can have a major impact on their marketing efforts. In the past, Instagram has been directly criticized for placing way too much emphasis on vanity and on aesthetics, especially since its primary appeal is to a younger audience, and it is thought this is the wrong message to send to that audience.
A survey which was conducted in 2017 named Instagram as the worst social media network with regard to well-being and mental health, and it was found that the platform was the worst of any of the major networks at triggering or contributing to increased levels of depression and anxiety. That’s one big reason why the platform has taken this giant step in a direction away from vanity and all things related to it.
Improvements for Instagram Camera
There’s an entirely new camera design being rolled out by Instagram, with a brand-new feature called Create Mode, which will allow users to more easily share without actually having a photo or video. When using Create Mode, a blank canvas comes up which invites the user to experiment with some of the more creative tools on the platform, such as stickers and special effects. In the past, this was only possible by holding down on the screen and using paintbrush, but this new capability makes it much easier, and therefore more likely to be used.
It is known that Instagram is the fastest-growing of all the major social media platforms, and this fact has certainly gained the attention of digital marketers everywhere. That makes it important to stay abreast of all the updates and enhancements announced by the network, because each one of these provide some indication of the direction where the platform is headed in the future, and what it considers to be its best features.