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Top Ten Instagram features and updates from 2021

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Over the last 12 months Instagram has been keeping us on our toes with a constant stream of updates and changes. Here’s our round up of some of the key updates that will take us into 2022:

Replying to Comments with Reels: Instagram has rolled out a new Reels Visual Replies feature that lets users reply to comments on posts with Reels. Now, when users choose to reply to a comment, they’ll see a new option that allows them to select the Reels button to create a video reply. The video reply will appear as a sticker.

Customised Link Stickers: Following the big move to allow ALL accounts to use the new Link Stickers in their Stories - previously reserved for verified accounts and those with over 10k followers - you can now customise the text and colour of the text of your links. This is a great option for users, as it allows you to add a custom Call to Action (CTA) rather than just a URL.

Chronological Feed: Instagram is planning to reintroduce a version of the chronological feed option in 2022. Apparently, it’s been in the works "for months" with Instagram targeting a launch in the first quarter of 2022. It will run alongside the algorithm-based feed, as well as a new Favourites feed, which we also expect to see launch in 2022. This is a new way to help users control whose posts they want to see higher up their feed.

Take a Break: This latest feature has just been launched to empower individuals to make informed decisions about how they’re spending their time. If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, you’ll be asked to take a break from Instagram and to set reminders to take more breaks in the future. You’ll also see expert-backed tips to help you reflect and reset.

Parental Controls: Instagram has been working for a long time to make sure the App is a safe space for teens and is introducing a number of new tools and features for parents and guardians to guide and support their teens on Instagram.

Delete a Specific Photo in a Carousel Post: Instagram has released a long-awaited feature that allows users to delete a single image or clip from an already uploaded carousel. This is great if you just want to delete one or two images and not the entire post. It’s pretty simple to do:

  • Go to the carousel post you want to edit

  • Click on the top-right dots icon and choose Edit

  • Scroll through the photos to find which one you want to delete

  • Tap the top-left delete icon

Instagram Badges for Live Video: Accessible only to eligible creators in the US, Instagram Live badges are aimed at helping influencers and creators make money on Instagram. By enabling badges, creators can get paid for live content they create. Essentially, badges are monetary tips that viewers can contribute to during an Instagram Live broadcast. It’s a way for followers to show their support and, as a thank you, they have access to additional features and extra visibility in the Live.

Share Link on Instagram Stories for All: Links were previously only for verified accounts or those over 10,000 followers, so this was a big one and a true game-changer for small businesses and creators alike, as they will have the ability to direct traffic to any external link.

“Collab” Option in Feed Posts and Reels: This allows users to collaborate on Instagram feed posts and Reels, thereby opening-up an entirely new way to reach new audiences. Content creators can send collaboration invites to other Instagram users and create feed posts and reels mutually. The posts will appear in both creators’ Instagram feeds. This way, sharing views, likes, and comments allows you to leverage and engage with each other’s communities.”

This feature was first announced by the VP of Instagram, Vishal Shah, back in July 2021, with a select few regions getting access, but the release date, globally, was confirmed in Oct 2021.

Creator Partnerships Features: To support creators monetise their content on Instagram, a suite of new tools was launched that help creators and brands connect and collaborate on Instagram through brand partnerships, commerce and more. These tools include:

  • Preferred brand partnerships which allow creators to add brands they would like to work with to a ‘preferred brands list’

  • Partnership messages, which makes genuine opportunities easier to find, with a new folder within Instagram DMs exclusively for partnership messages.

  • Data-driven search: brands will be able to use data and unique filters to discover and select the best creators for their campaigns.

What’s Coming in 2022?

Here’s a roundup of 4 of the big Instagram marketing trends we are expecting to see in 2022:

Chronological Feed: We’ve already mentioned this in the roundup above, but how will it work in practice? It’s surmised that the chronological feed won’t be a default setting, but there will be a new Home feed with the option to toggle between a ‘Suggested for you’ feed and a ‘Chronological following feed’.

Video Formats will Merge: Reels have dominated 2021, so whilst that will continue, we expect to see how we use Stories evolve. As Instagram moves to a video-led platform, we expect to see video formats merge with short-form videos as the way to go for maximum engagement.

Creator-led e-commerce: We’ll see this become more mainstream as Instagram will be rolling out its Native Affiliate Program more widely in 2022. This allows creators to be fairly compensated for sharing product recommendations, and makes it easier for followers to find the products they love.

Search: With Gen-Z using Instagram like everyone before using Google for search, you want to make sure your account is as discoverable as possible. Now is the time to revisit your Bio and make sure it is optimised for search. With only 150 characters to play with, make sure the message is concise and includes those all-important keywords that can help you be found.


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