Here's what Instagram's latest updates mean for businesses. Source: Shutterstock

Here’s what Instagram’s latest updates mean for businesses. Source: Shutterstock

The 4 Instagram updates marketers need to know about

Businesses simply can’t afford to ignore Instagram in 2019. With new updates rumored and launched every month, the app is working hard to maintain the interest of their billion active users.

February was no different, as their focus on bolstered engagement tools and functions continue to make the app an essential marketing platform for brands. Here are the most important ones to know.

IGTV previews in feed

Users may have been slow to adopt its long-form video offering, but Instagram has another trick up its sleeve to try and entice viewers.

Now, whenever a user uploads content to IGTV, a short promo of it will run in their followers feed.

This means audiences will be able to see whether a video interests them without navigating away from the feed. If it does, and they want to see more, a single tap takes them to the full-length IGTV version.

It will be interesting to see how much this affects the number of IGTV users. Longer videos can build a deeper connection between brands and audiences.

Now Instagram can guarantee users will see at least part of the action, we could see more brands investing in the channel.

Pinterest-style collections

Instagram is reportedly testing a public version of the Collections feature.

Currently private, Collections gather sets of posts on specific topics, saved by the user. Making these themed boards public would provide Instagram users with an opportunity to share their selection of curated posts sorted by their interests and passions. As many have noted, not dissimilar to Pinterest.

For marketers, this opportunity is bolstered by Instagram’s growing eCommerce capabilities.

While account owners may use this function as a wish list, fashion brands could showcase entire collections in a catalog-style Instagram collection, made up of shoppable posts.

Donation sticker

According to reports, Instagram is testing a donation sticker on Instagram Stories. Presumably, this would allow users to search through a list of nonprofits to link to, directly from the sticker.

Instagram announced last November that they have been able to help fundraise over US$1 billion through the use of their charitable tools.

This extra sticker, set within the incredibly popular Stories function, could push this even further. An exciting prospect for not-for-profit companies and charitable causes.

Messages on desktop

As any brand will know, community management is an important part of an engaged social audience. Instagram’s latest testing could make this easier, bringing direct messages to the web version of its app.

Currently, you can only reply to messages in-app. By enabling it on the desktop version, users and brands may find it easier to manage their followings. With half of all users now sending direct messages, it’s another area of fast growth for the app.