Supporting over one billion monthly users, Instagram recognizes the need to continually innovate to retain users and foster new relationships. In the past few months, Instagram has rolled out several updates to improve the user experience and position the platform as a digital media industry leader. The new updates allow for deeper customization, stronger analytics, and innovative ways to connect with followers.
For years, users have relied on third-party link aggregators to list more than one link in their bio. Realizing there was an opportunity to capitalize on this opportunity, Instagram announced on April 18, 2023, that all users, regardless of verification or subscription status, can now list up to five links in their bio.
Following in Twitter’s footsteps, Meta, which owns Instagram, rolled out a subscription-based verification program, Meta Verified, in March 2023 to simplify the process of receiving a much-coveted blue tick mark. Celebrities, public figures, and well-known brands can still request a verification badge for free under settings, however individual pages without notoriety can now apply for verification through Meta Verified. All that’s needed is a valid ID matching your government-issued ID and a monthly Meta subscription for $14.99.
Limitation: Meta Verified is for users without notoriety and requires a paid subscription
For those looking to reduce their screen time, the platform launched “Quiet Mode,” which helps users focus when they need to. This update was targeted to students who can set focus time when they’re in school, studying, or should otherwise not be preoccupied with their phones, although anyone looking to reduce screen time can add this feature to their account. While this update is handy, it’s worth mentioning that many cell phones offer a version of this through the phone’s systems preferences.
With many creators worried about potential legislation limiting, or banning, TikTok in the U.S., Instagram’s recent revamp of Reels couldn’t have come at a more optimal time. Recent updates include a more robust built-in editing platform, the “Reels Trends” section, and expanding the functionality of gifts (stars that followers can purchase and send to creators to show support, which can be redeemed for money), which offers users more resources to tap into rising trends and shifts in the app. From browsing top trending songs to noteworthy topics, the opportunity for stimulating creativity is limitless.
Of course, with more functionalities comes more advanced analytics. Reels analytics now include total watch time, including replays, and average watch time for each Reel. With these two new stats, creators can better understand the impact their content has on their audience, and where they can adjust their strategy to strengthen their connection.
Limitation: Must have a (free) professional account
Broadcast Channels Preliminary Roll Out
One of the first things public relations professionals learn is the importance of two-way communication. Thanks to a new Instagram feature, Broadcast Channels, select creators can directly engage with their followers on a larger scale than previously available.
Like a chat room, Broadcast Channels allow users to follow select creators behind-the-scenes and stay in-the-know with text, photos, videos, voice notes, and polls. To prevent Broadcast Channels from getting out of hand like group chats typically can, limitations only allow creators to post in the channel, though followers can react to messages and respond to polls.
Limitation: Channels creation is currently limited to select influencers, though any user can subscribe to a Channel