The rise of Instagram’s new features

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It’s non-negotiable that we stay in the know of the changes and updates occurring in social media, and believe us when we say that there may never have been a better time to focus on Instagram marketing. Here we take a look at some of the rising features of this platform, which are achieving incredible things for businesses and personal users alike.

Instagram: six years of rock steady performance

It’s been six years since Instagram launched – and what a wonderful six years it’s been. This platform has given rise to annual ‘hot dog’ legs, Throwback Thursdays and filters that do us all a favour.

There’s not even a gastropub in the country that can escape the obligatory food snapshot on almost every plate that arrives at the table. Yet Instagram has many more strings to its social bow than mere food pics, filtered photos and more duck faces than you could shake a selfie stick at.

Make no mistake - this is a place for the innovative, where video games have been created, soap operas are being played out and even social issues are being fought with only the help of a hashtag. If this all comes as a shock to you, then you may just want to read on to find out how Instagram’s new features are making all of this possible.

Instagram gaming: Introducing Rickstaverse

Rickstaverse was the creative brainchild of Carrot Creative - it’s a completely fresh concept to Instagram, and serves up worlds to be explored, items to be collected and exclusive video content to be discovered.

Before we dig into the details of the incredible success that Rickstaverse has seen, and explain what this may mean for the rise of gaming worlds on Instagram, first let’s take a look at how it works.

Within a week of launch, Rickstaverse totalled 28 million impressions, leading to a growth in followers of over 78,000 - they’ve also been nominated for a prestigious Shorty Award (an award ceremony that recognises individuals and organisations for creating innovative social content).

Its success has been supercharged further through the creators’ harnessing of Instagram’s popular and still relatively new live video streaming feature – through which both demos and new content were delivered.

The potential for gaming on Instagram could well have a seriously bright future – particularly as this form of gameplay appeals to the diehard coders out there. These firm fans of retro-inspired gaming have long since obsessed over how the old can meet new through gaming that transitions to social platforms. We have to say – we’re pretty excited about what these guys may be delivering come this time next year.

The First Instagram Soap Opera: Coronation Street has Nothing on Instagram

The much-heralded video carousel got many a marketer’s pulse racing – it seemed that with the sequential nature of this feature, the possibilities were endless – particularly for content of an engaging yet instructional form.

Yet even the most innovative of digital pros would never have imagined its potential for creating a soap opera – which is just what Bailey's liquor have set about creating. Aptly named ‘When Coffee Met Baileys’ this drama will unfold over eight episodes, where viewers will be left on the edge of their sofas when ‘Coffee Pot’ has a dalliance with ‘Baileys’ – all behind the back of his lifelong and unshakeably loyal partner ‘Milk’.

If you think that sounds messy, then just wait until ‘Muesli’ rocks up – who knew inanimate foodstuffs could lead such complicated lives!

Getting serious: Instagram takes on the fashion industry

Many have taken on the fashion industry and failed; in fact, the heated debate that surrounds the statue and skinniness of the most in-demand of models is something that has long since been demanded by the public, forming a unified voice that has been flat out ignored by the fashion houses.

Now, however, the tides may be a turning as Instagram has set the social sphere ablaze with the hashtag #RunwayForAll – an initiative to ensure the fashion industry of the future represents every teenage girl and boy – of every size, race and style - with a disability or without.

This campaign, created and being run on Instagram’s own account, is shining a light on a different model each week, with each model having a unique story to tell. Last week we heard from Mama Coax – a teenage blogger whose leg was amputated at aged 18.

This campaign is a simplistic one – no video streaming, no new features harnessed. Yet the notion behind it goes to show that Instagram is a platform to not only confront important issues head-on but to also show that they go beyond what they’re typically associated with: ‘traditional’ models and often vacuous celebs.

In doing so they stay relevant and encourage users to embrace Instagram as a fresh-faced and forward-thinking platform of today, for tomorrow.

New live rooms to chat with up to four friends is coming up

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, has recently announced that a live chat option will be launched on the platform. People will be able to add up to three friends in their personal live rooms and add some filters to make your conversation more interactive. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, this option seems very attractive to many of us.

A greater focus on Instagram as an ecommerce platform

With the pandemic forcing all businesses to go online in 2020 and 2021, Instagram has also become a digital store for multiples brands and creators. Proof of that is the launch of the Instagram shop, which gives online users the opportunity to discover new products and brands. Moreover, other shopping tools have been launched over the years, such as:

  • Shoppable posts
  • Shopping from creators
  • Live shopping

Suggested posts

In August 2020, Instagram introduced a new feature called suggested posts. This appears once you have finished scrolling down all the recent posts from the accounts that you are following, you will see suggested posts based on your likes and followed accounts.

The only bad side of this new option is that you can't turn off suggestions. Moreover, what you can do is to let Instagram know that you are not interested in specific posts by ticking the "not interested" option. IG will then recommend you better posts more tailored to your likes and interactions.

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New professional dashboard for businesses: Instagram ads

instagram professional dashboard

Both businesses and influencers have access now to a professional dashboard where they can track their performance and grow their account, amongst other functions. You will find this feature at the top of the account profile pages. Here you will be able to discover new features, source interesting tips and track your entire performance.

Product and branded content tags are available for reels

In November 2020, Instagram redesigned its home screen to place at the centre of its reels. Following this update, now is possible to make product tags available for reels. Businesses and creators can be promoted as ads, making reels posts shoppable.

IG alt ext

The social media channel has introduced the option of adding alt text to images. moreover, this new feature will enable users with visual disabilities to have a better understanding of the platform. You will see this option on the write alt text section in advance settings.

alt text instagram

Social media waits for no man...

The world of social media never sleeps, and Instagram is far from alone when it comes to overnight evolution and a continual mission to bring forth fresh features. For businesses, this pace of change can be exhausting, and for any company with less than an in-house team of social marketers, these features can lay unharnessed with potential untapped.

If this is where you find yourself, then this is exactly where we step in. We are MintTwist, a digital agency in central London with clients all over the world.

So, shall we talk?


Published by

Alexis Pratsides