How Instagram, Youtube and TikTok are refining their apps

We’re never short of social media platform updates. Platforms are always experimenting with and updating their features. The trick is testing or making these changes without causing too much disruption to site users (we’re looking at you, Twitter).

The major image-based apps – Instagram, TikTok and YouTube started 2023 off by making changes to their UI, age-gating and creator support.

Instagram’s returning to its roots

Last month, in one of the latest social media platform updates from Instagram, it was announced that it would overhaul the user interface in February. We’ll see the app remove the shopping tab and move Reels from the centre spot – it’ll be replaced by the compose post button.

It must have picked up on the fact that users aren’t that interested in the shopping feature right now (but may become more interested in the future). Not to mention, it’s also probably responding to the pleas of more influential users to stop trying to be TikTok.

Instagram seems to be trying to get back to what people love about the app – nurturing connections through creative imagery. Brands may want to focus on how they can continue to use still images to engage and inspire.

TikTok is rolling out more 18+ gates 

In January, TikTok started to introduce 18+ gates for creators who post short-form videos (having already introduced 18+ gates for live streams in 2022).

Content with nudity or that violates TikTok’s guidelines is still prohibited, but the 18+ barrier helps creators prevent under-18s from seeing suggestive content (or content that contains a lot of swearing).

These age gates could be another way brands can work with creators to engage adult audiences on the app.

YouTube adds suggested hashtags for Shorts

YouTube is doing more to support Shorts creators by suggesting relevant hashtags for their Shorts content. 

However, the tags are based on the history of what the channel’s uploaded, rather than analysing the content of the video – this could be seen as another way YouTube rewards creators that stick to a single kind of content (such as lifestyle vloggers, DIY videos or gaming).

Brands are most likely to find this addition helpful if they post content along similar themes.

We’ll continue to see more social media platform updates and platforms adapting their services as the year progresses.

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