Updating its platform look, removing in feed ADs, replacing them with reels and allowing users to pin posts on their profile as well as integrating NFTS into the platform! It’s all systems go on Instagram’s platform updates…
Starting with Instagram’s new pin feature, it will allow users to pin their favourite grid posts to the top of their profile. This new pin feature is very similar to highlight features on both TikTok and Twitter where it allows users to draw attention to content without the need to scroll and find a particular post. On a commercial level, these pin posts will potentially act as new digital ad space for creators as they could create even more valuable sponsored content for influencer and brand partnerships.
As Instagram is set to improve its user and brand experience on the platform, Instagram tests New, Full-Screen, Scrollable Display of Posts and Reels. The main feed display looks very different as it leans into latest usage trends. Instagram is working to align its usage data with its layout to facilitate existing user behaviour. Recently, Meta noted that Reels already make up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram, so it is understandable that they’re optimising the platform towards Reels.
On a similar note, Instagram is removing its in-feed video ads. With Instagram phasing out IGTV, it's changing the game for ad consumption and habits of engaging with ad content on Instagram. Due to data released related to Reels, the app will employ reels for ads instead. The immersive scrollable viewer experience will suit the ads better in a reel format, akin to TikTok’s ad offering.
Finally, Instagram has launched initial tests of user NFT display. Users will be able to display their NFTs on the main feed, within Stories and in Direct Messages. There will also be a new NFT tab added which will include a tick in a hexagon to indicate verified NFTs. Instagram is set to not only showcase your NFTs, but facilitate NFT sales as well, merging into the broader digital products market by providing an exchange platform. But as with everything web3 related, watch this space…
Facebook pulls the plug on podcasts
Facebook will be removing its podcast capability entirely from the platform from June. Originally, it made sense for Facebook to touch on podcasts as they rose in popularity over the course of the past year but with a slight change of focus to short form content, Facebook will want to remain competitive alongside Instagram, Twitter and TikTok so podcasts are no longer a priority.
Create your own AR Filter on TikTok
TikTok is launching an effect house, which is TikTok’s version of Spark AR and snapped Lens Studio and it will give creators the tools to build their own AR filters and build platform native features. Whilst this new TikTok tool will provide users with creative ways to build on the app, it has also highlighted TikTok’s stance on filters that could have a negative impact, such as beauty modifications filters. TikTok are clamping down on harmful filters saying that they can blanket ban any filters that change the user’s appearance, TikTok commented on the filters and platform saying that they want the app, “to make everyone feel welcome and empowered and to create exactly as they are”. A very different approach to TikTok’s very realistic beauty filters in the past and similarly its competitors’ filters on Snapchat and Instagram, who have never tried to regulate the filters. It's a step in the right direction and a good move for the platform as it aligns with their lo-fi and authentic branding.
Twitter Takeover and Circles
Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44bn meanwhile Twitter introduces a new way to Tweet to your followers with Circles. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Elon Musk has bought Twitter for $44bn. But what does that actually mean for the platform? One thing we know is that Elon wants to make Twitter fun, with a capital F tweeting, “let's make Twitter maximum fun”. What that actually means in the world of Elon Musk, who knows but he intends on creating a space like a virtual town square where all matters are debated. As for changes to the technical side of the app, the algorithm will become public and will be programmed to defeat spambots and is set to authenticate all humans on the platform. Musk’s Twitter takeover is still unravelling as we speak so stay tuned for more updates over the next coming months.
Whilst Twitter is changing hands, the platform has been developing new ways to talk privately with your followers with 'Circles'. Circles enables more private discussion via tweets, the concept is very similar to Instagram’s close friends list on stories and enables users to share tweets with a specific, custom group of connections in the app. Users will be able to add up to 150 people to their Circle, with any tweets in the group then only visible to the people in that listing. Members of Circle are alerted that their tweets are only viewable by those in the group via a green indicator attached to each Circle tweet. Only time will tell about how users of Twitter will react to this new form of communication on the platform. It’s possible that this new feature will see much more engaged threads of debate but will people feel comfortable enough to have these supposedly private discussions on the main feed as opposed to direct messages, we’ll have to wait and see.
Monochromatic colour takeover on Pinterest
Pinterest introduces its ‘colour takeover’ campaign to the general platform. Initially, this was born out of Jamison's new orange whiskey product campaign: the orange flavoured product was featured on Pinterest and later then featured on any search for the word orange - from orange chicken recipes to orange nails to orange paint or orange furniture. It’s early days on the campaign, so no learnings as of yet but stay tuned for results from Pinterest and its ability to convert someone searching for orange chicken to buying Jamison’s new orange whiskey product.