At the beginning of May 2019, Facebook hosted its annual F8 conference.
For the non-developers among you, that’s the event where Facebook shows off some of it’s upcoming additions to the platform. Since Instagram now belongs to Facebook, it’s also where we learn about the latest Instagram updates and exciting profile changes.
If you thought that Instagram had been making progress lately with things like IGTV and shoppable posts, then you’re in for a treat.
According to this month’s biggest reveals, we’ve got a lot lined up for the year ahead, including new filters for Instagram, sponsorship stickers on stories, and even a brand-new account type.
Are you ready to learn about the new Instagram updates from #F82019?
1. Username Lockout (Testing)
If you love a good Instagram update or two, then you’ve probably heard of Jane Manchun Wong.
This sleuth/developer is excellent at tracking the latest changes to social channels like Instagram before they’ve officially aired on the news. One recent change that Wong revealed this month was the arrival of a potential “lockout” feature for people who change their Instagram username.
Essentially, if you decide to switch your username out to something new, Instagram will put a hold on your old title that lasts for fourteen days. That means you’ve got two weeks to change your mind and revert to your old name.
As new Instagram updates go, this one might not be the most exciting – but it’s still valuable. If you’ve been on IG for a while, then you’ll know grabber-bots (robots that steal old usernames) can be a huge problem.
The arrival of a username lockout means that you don’t have to suffer too much if you decide that rebranding your social media account isn’t a good idea after all.
2. New Camera & Create Mode for Instagram Stories (Upcoming)
Instagram stories are the go-to source of entertainment for 500 million users each day!
It’s no surprise that the biggest Instagram update for #F82019 would focus on Stories. Perhaps the most exciting thing to appear on Instagram this year, the new “Create Mode” feature comes with a revamped camera design that’s perfect for people who love to make the most of Stories mode.
The Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, revealed that the upgraded camera would come with a semi-circular mode switching tool, that helps you to find the filters and features you love most. You can simply swipe from Boomerang to Rewind, or swipe left to find stickers, text, GIFs, and more.
The Create Mode feature also means that you can design Stories without having to initially upload a video or photo. This is excellent for brands that just want to post text-based stories or polls for their audience.
3. Co-Watching Video App (Testing)
Putting the “social” aspect back into social media seemed to be a major theme at this year’s F8 event. With the rise of their video tools like IGTV, Instagram appears to be concentrating on ways to bring people together through video.
The upcoming co-watching video tool is still in testing mode, so it wasn’t officially announced at F8. However, our favorite Developer Jane Manchun Wong took a few snapshots that show off what it might be like to watch videos with your friends on Instagram.
The experience is a lot like Facebook Watch Party, which means that you can ask your friends to check out videos with you in your Direct Messaging tool.
As far as we can tell, the feature will be restricted to private direct-messaging, rather than public, or group-based watching. However, the idea is that you’ll have more ways to hang out with people you know and love on Instagram. The feature could also be an excellent way for brands to offer excellent customer service. For instance, you could show someone how to use a feature on your product with a personalized video, rather than a long, annoying message.
4. Donation Stickers on Stories (Upcoming)
One of the most recent Instagram changes that are now ready for launch is the “donation” sticker for Instagram Stories. Announced as part of the F8 update, Donation stickers will allow brands, influencers, charities, and anyone else to raise money for non-profits within their Stories. All you need to do is open your camera and create a Story as normal.
Once you’re happy with your content, swipe to the left to find your sticker icon, and select the Donation sticker from your tray. You’ll be able to choose from a list of potential charities that are already signed up with the service.
The donation sticker is a lot like the “donate to my cause” trend that’s been going around on Facebook lately, which allows people to choose a charity to support on their birthday. The Facebook company seems to be trying to show it’s altruistic side recently – which is probably a good idea for branding purposes.
Since studies suggest that Instagram users are generally more socially aware than other social media users, it makes sense to test new donation features with Instagram first.
5. Shop with Creators (Upcoming)
For many, the biggest new Instagram update to arrive at #F82019 has to be the new “Shop from Creators” solution. This social commerce option will allow users to buy products and items directly from an influencer’s Instagram page.
In other words, when you see an influencer showing off a watch that you love, you can just tap on the item and go through to a checkout page on Instagram to buy it.
The Instagram team announced that this shopping capability would allow users to purchase the looks that they love from influencers without having to switch to a different app. The official press release revealed that “anyone” can shop with creators, but only a handful of influencers will be able to use the feature to sell initially.
When the feature becomes more generally available, it could mean incredible things for companies and individuals hoping to use Instagram for revenue. We already have shoppable tags and swipe-up links on Stories; now it’s time to take shopping on Instagram to the next level.
6. Creator Profiles (Upcoming)
As you browse through the list of new Instagram updates on the market this year, you might have noticed something. The word “creator” is showing up more often.
That’s not a coincidence.
The F8 conference revealed the arrival of a new profile mode on Instagram – the “creator profile.”
So, what’s a creator profile?
It’s a type of business profile for Influencers. Similarly to the business profile, the creator account gives you more features than a standard IG account. For instance, you’ll get access to the upcoming Instagram Creator Studio, Instagram Insights, and enhanced data. The Creator Studio even comes with in-depth overviews of your impressions, accounts reached, and follower growth over time.
For the first time, there’s a profile that shows you how many people have followed and unfollowed your account. Additionally, creators will have more filtering options for their DMs, so that they can cut down on the number of spam messages they get, without missing out on collaboration opportunities.
As exciting as this Instagram update is, there are some downsides to a creator profile too. For example, unlike the business profile on Instagram, the creator account doesn’t have access to the Instagram API. That means that you can’t use third-party tools to analyze your content, or automatically schedule posts.
It will be up to you to decide whether new features like “Creator mode” are more exciting to you than the ability to schedule your posts in advance.
7. Create your Own AR Filter (Upcoming)
Augmented reality is everywhere in the social media world these days. The chances are, you’ve already played around with some of the AR filters on Instagram. However, soon, you’ll be able to design your very own filters with the help of the Spark AR Studio.
The Spark AR studio is what brands currently use today to design filters for limited-time promotions. According to Instagram, the Spark AR solution will soon be available to more platforms and developers, including the average IG user.
The introduction of new filter creation tools will mean great things for businesses and brands on Instagram. For instance, you could show people what your new piece of furniture would look like in their living room. You might give them a chance to virtually hang a piece of artwork on their wall.
We’ve already seen a handful of brands experimenting with AR in the past to let people try on a new pair of specs or test a different shade of lipstick.
Although it might take a while to get past the hype of the new AR function and discover what’s possible with some great advertising – there’s plenty of opportunity there.
8. Hidden “Like” Counts (Testing)
While many of the Instagram changes we’ve mentioned so far will have a huge impact on the way businesses use social media – there’s one update you probably didn’t expect.
Earlier in May, Instagram revealed that they might be testing a new feature to hide the “like” count on a person’s photos or Stories. According to a spokesperson for Instagram, the company is always thinking about ways to “reduce pressure” on Instagram users. In other words, they want people to be less worried about how many likes they’re going to get from a post. This will mean that people can have more fun on the platform.
Jane Manchun Wong showed us that the official testing stage for the new capability began recently in Canada. What’s more, in an Instagram update at the F8 keynote, the IG team touched on hiding likes. According to the group, they want to design an environment where you can scroll through a feed without any numbers to worry about.
Obviously, this will lead to a vast change in the way that people plan their Instagram marketing strategies. You won’t have to worry about measuring Likes as a metric anymore. Instead, you can focus on genuine engagement and follower growth.
9. Anti-Bullying Features (Testing)
Finally, as part of the new Instagram update keynote, Facebook revealed that it’s testing various ways to combat bullying. According to Adam Mosseri, though some of those features might never appear, Instagram cares deeply about preventing online bullying.
One exciting capability intended to target bullying issues is an “Away Mode.” This feature, now in testing, will allow users to opt out of using Instagram for a while when they’re experiencing an emotional period. For instance, if you’ve had a rough break up – you can get away from Instagram for a while.
With the Away Mode, you can stop yourself from getting any upsetting updates or notifications, without having to delete your Instagram app or account.
With a little luck, the Away feature will also help people to prevent themselves from doing anything dangerous, like stalking their ex when they’re feeling vulnerable, too.
Also, there’s the potential for an upcoming “nudge” feature that gives a warning whenever the Instagram algorithm detects an aggressive post. If Instagram thinks you’re going to say something negative, it will nudge you, and hopefully, prevent you from saying anything upsetting.
According to the IG team, they hope that little features like “nudge” could be the extra push people need to re-think their actions when they’re online.
What are your Favorite Instagram Changes?
There you have it; every new Instagram update we’ve seen in so far.
The F8 conference was an incredible opportunity for Instagram to show us what it had up its sleeve for the year ahead. Now, all we need to do is wait and see what these features can do for today’s businesses.
No doubt we’ll have plenty of new capabilities to look forward to in the months ahead too – so watch this space. We’ll keep you up-to-date with any additional reveals that Instagram brings our way.
What are you looking forward to this year? Join the conversation in the comments below.