As ever, user engagement and retention are ongoing battles for social apps. One platform that keeps fighting is Instagram.
During October it introduced a selection of new features and added more ways to support content creators.
Making video a more seamless experience for Instagram creators and viewers
Instagram usually splits 60-second Story videos into multiple 15-second clips, which, let’s be honest, can make the viewing a bit stilted.
A year later it seems times are changing. Instagram will no longer be splitting < 60-second videos up and instead it’s going to let creators present videos that are easier to follow. Another bid to improve the engagement we can only assume!
Helping creators market themselves to brands with media creation kits
Instagram’s working on a way to provide creators with an in-app media creation kit. This will help them design pitches for brand collaborations and set them on the path to (hopefully) becoming influencers.
Instagram creator portfolios will give creators a single place to build their profiles and share them with potential brand partners. Instagram knows it’s lagging behind rivals like YouTube and TikTok when it comes to creator satisfaction and that this could be a problem for the app in the long term if it doesn’t start addressing creator needs.
Let’s not forget that some of the other things they’ve tried haven’t always gone down that well (remember when you had random accounts appearing in your feeds due to AI-generated recommendations).
Instagram needs to find a way to balance user experience with bolstering creator satisfaction.
There’s more. Instagram’s working on several new features
- User and creator safety – Instagram’s been in the news recently for failing to safeguard teenage users – it knows that it has to do better in this area. In October, Instagram announced that users can now block not just the account but any other accounts the user behind the blocked account has. The Hidden Words feature will be automatically enabled for creator accounts (to minimise spam and harassment), and the app will do more to highlight potentially problematic content to people before they publish their posts and replies.
- Adding music to profiles – this is still in internal testing, but Instagram’s working on allowing users to add a song to their profile (in a similar way to how MySpace worked). As well as allowing musicians to add their work to their profiles, this could also give users another way to express themselves and result in people spending more time on the app.
- Giving the Shopping tab the boot – Instagram’s been running a small test to see how removing the shopping tab from the home feed navigation bar would impact user experience and engagement. Meta’s continuing to look for ways to provide a more simplified experience on Instagram, but its approach to ecommerce is a bit confusing at present. It seems to be moving away from promoting shopping features while also stating its commitment to ecommerce. It’ll be interesting to see where Instagram Shopping goes next.
- Testing in-app post scheduling – Instagram’s testing the ability to schedule (and re-schedule) posts from the app. As Techcrunch notes, Instagram is a bit behind the times on this feature, as Twitter has allowed its users to schedule posts in-app since 2020. For Instagram, providing this feature is another way to make the app easier to use.
Instagram continues to search for ways to make its app easy to use. Some of these tests really do involve a lot of trial and error. Not everyone likes change.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on how Instagram is evolving and keep you in the loop.