Do you already have it, the new Instagram update? Getting used to, huh? Even I, as a so-called ‘Instagram expert,’ still have to find my way around it. Because the layout has changed, a new function has also been added, Instagram Guides.
In this article, you can read all about this new update, making shopping and video even more central within the app. What’s new? What has changed? And: what does this mean for the future of Instagram?
Instagram update: what’s new & different?
As a loyal Instagram user, you have probably noticed: several things have changed in the app. In brief, the changes at a glance:
- The notification button has been exchanged for the shop button. You viewed your notifications via the heart symbol in the bottom navigation bar back in the days. You will now find the shop button in the same place. And do you want to view the notifications? Then from now on, you first have to go to the home button (house symbol). There you will find the notification button from now on in the top navigation menu, at the top right, next to your DMs.
- The post button has been exchanged for the Instagram Reels button. Do you want to post new content? Nowadays, this is no longer possible via the plus symbol in the middle of the bottom navigation bar. Here, too, a substitution trick took place. The post button was exchanged for the Reels button, with which you disappear ‘down the Reels rabbit hole’ in no time. The plus symbol is now next to (surprise) the notification button. Via home, in the navigation menu at the top right.
- Instagram Guides. New for all users is Instagram Guides. The blog function within Instagram, which can be recognized by the ‘magazine symbol.’ Guides have been available for some major beta accounts for a while, but now we can all start with it. Guides make it possible to create a kind of mini-blog around one subject with text, images, and any shoppable products. Think of an Instagram guide with a ‘Small Bizzz Gift Guide (Interior).’ But also Instagram Guides on serious topics such as ‘Coping during COVID-19′. You can find Guides on someone’s profile, in the bar just above the feed. As soon as someone has created their first Guide, the magazine symbol is added to this bar.
Instagram update: tell me more
Check, now we know that the layout has changed and that Guides have been added. But which (new) possibilities does each functionality actually bring with it? And for whom is it interesting?
We already suspected that shopping is getting an ever-increasing stage on Instagram. But now that Instagram has put the shop button in one of the top positions within the layout, that suspicion has been confirmed. Because, admittedly, this switching trick is a bit sneaky.
First, the creators of Instagram made us addicted to the notification button, which was in the same place in the app for years. And now that we are completely used to that button in that position, they replace it with a shop button. Case: The Social Dilemma, eat your heart out.
I experience the shop button as a nice addition to the app. Especially for retailers (because more options to sell your product), but also for the Instagram user who likes to shop now and then via the app. Under the shop button, you will find in one overview products of all brands that you follow.
But not only that: you can also see products that you have once saved (under ‘Continue shopping’) and you can, for example, view the ‘Editors’ choice,’ ‘Shop collections’ or’ Explore guides.
Instagram Reels were introduced in August this year.
They are short, snappy, and often entertaining videos of a maximum of 15 seconds, which respond perfectly to the current social media user’s short tension. Reels often consist of multiple recordings, which are enriched with audio, effects, and filters. This makes Instagram Reels a one-on-one translation of TikTok.
For whom are Reels interesting? For anyone who has already built up a nice fan base on Instagram and wants to deepen this relationship (in a fun way).
Instagram Reels are certainly not only for creators. It is also a way for brands to connect even more with their audience.
But not only that: Reels are also interesting for anyone who wants to increase their visibility and growth.
It has been shown in recent months that Reels give you a very nice growth boost. Worth experimenting with!
Have you always missed the opportunity to create long-form content on Instagram? Instagram Guides are the answer! This new feature allows us to create mini-blogs on Instagram. With Instagram Guides, you as a user can easily bundle useful recommendations and tips and share them with your followers – or of course, consume them.
This makes Instagram Guides interesting for brands as well as creators. To inspire you, here are just a few examples of how you can use Guides:
- Webshop (for example Søstrene Grene or Sissy-Boy): 10x the most beautiful Christmas decoration
- Magazine (for example, women): 3x Christmas tree inspiration
- Creator (e.g. photographer): portfolio
- Creator (for example, beauty influencer): the 3 most beautiful red lipsticks
Instagram update: what’s next?
Voilà! You now know what has changed and what you can do with it and for whom it is interesting.
One last question remains, namely: what’s next?
Well, if you ask me:
My expectation is that the new, just integrated shopping menu will become more and more ‘to the point’ in the future. It still looks somewhat like a magazine/catalog, and you have to leave Instagram to purchase an item.
But I foresee that Instagram will one day really become a ‘webshop’ in which you can make your move in the app itself. This may sound scary because this is how the time we spend on Instagram only gets longer (exactly what the makers want, of course).
But look on the bright side: that would also mean that we get a tailor-made ‘webshop,’ consisting of items from brands that we follow and brands that we might like. And all this in one app that we already use a lot.
It is clear that video is the future, and Instagram Reels is a smart move. The big question is, will Instagram Reels ever beat TikTok? Mwah, I wouldn’t say that. That it is a formidable opponent, yes. I am convinced that Reels and TikTok can (continue to) coexist.
Not sure whether you should choose Instagram or TikTok? Make a choice based on your target audience. Is your target audience relatively young? So: 25 years and younger?
Then TikTok is the way to go.
Is your target group 25 or older, and have you already built up a large Instagram following? Then explore the possibilities of Instagram Reels. But don’t wait too long because right now, Instagram gives users who use Reels a boost. You want that!
With Guides, Instagram adds another new form of content to Instagram. What I find striking is that this is a long-form content format in a world of snappy content. Would the blog still make its comeback, but on Instagram?
In any case, I experience Guides as an opportunity for brands to really deepen themes and bundle content. For the time being, influencers, in particular, are already eager to use it. It is a matter of time to discover whether the general public is also a fan.