“We’re no longer just a square photo-sharing app,” announced Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, in a video on the social media platform, posted June 30. The site, on which tens of billions of photos have been posted, is looking around at the competition and plotting a course for the future, inclusive of new advertising and creator opportunities. “At Instagram we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: creators, video, shopping and messaging,” explained Mosseri on the Instagram pivot.
How Does Instagram Plan To Be More Than Just A Photo-Sharing App?
Much of what Mosseri shared in the announcement isn’t surprising, and much of the announced emphasis on creators, video, online shopping and messaging is an extension of features and enhancements that Instagram has been rolling out for several years, including Reels, Shops and Drops. Mossieri did delve further however, explaining:
Creators: Instagram wants to help creators “make money,” citing the shift from “institutions to individuals.” Social media platforms across the spectrum, including Twitter and Snapchat, have widely touted new initiatives to lure creators to their platforms.
Video: Understanding how important it has been for all social media platforms, Instagram wants to “lean into” video even more. Mosseri cites the competition of TikTok and YouTube, and internal data that says Instagram users want to be entertained when visiting the platform, as reasons for the evolving role of video at Instagram.
Shopping: Noting the shift from offline to online buying during the pandemic, Instagram wants to capitalize on the trend. Social commerce has become increasingly popular in recent years, with the growth of live streams, in-app purchases and digital storefronts.
Messaging: Without delving into much detail, messaging is an area Instagram wants to explore as many users move away from communicating with their contacts in posts and Stories, “preferring messaging,” according to Mosseri.
How Does Instagram Plan To Implement These Changes In The Near Future?
As Instagram begins to implement its new plans moving forward, the platform is testing “recommendations,” previously unseen content that will pop up in users’ feeds, which users can opt to see more or less of. Video in particular will be a focus of Instagram’s experimentation in the coming months, with Mosseri noting that “full-screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile first” videos are all a part of what’s to come.
What Do The Instagram Changes Mean For Advertisers?
The rise in social media use during the pandemic encompassed a range of consumer behaviors, from more shopping and product research to more young people getting their news from sites like TikTok and Instagram. Robust social media strategies, organic and paid, have become essential for brands and advertisers. The changes ahead for Instagram are reflective of consumer behaviors and, although much is still to come, it’s likely the changes at Instagram could also meet the evolving needs of advertisers. The Instragram-wide updates and enhancements may offer more advertising opportunities and potentially higher impressions, engagement and conversions.
In this episode of “Quick Questions With Kathy,” DMS CMO Kathy Bryan interviews DMS Chief Media Officer Jonathan Katz to get his insight on why short-form videos, enjoyed by social media users, are so good at attracting and engaging audiences.
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