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The Instagram Update Explained

If you follow Media A La Carte on Instagram (which if you don’t, get over there ASAP for great tips and tricks), you saw our post explaining the new Guides feature on Instagram. That’s just one of the new features on the app since the recent update. Let’s break them all down so you don’t "accidentally" watch Reels for an hour when you meant to make a post.

“Reels” & “Shop” Buttons Replaced “Camera” and “Activity” Buttons

The amount of times I have accidentally clicked on the Shop button since the update … The limit does not exist. Instagram tested this redesign with select users before rolling it out earlier this month. Now your “Camera” and “Activity buttons are in your top right corner, next to your “DM” button. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri tweeted about these changes saying, “This year we’ve seen an explosion in short, entertaining videos. We’ve also seen more people buying online and looking to creators for shopping recommendations.⁣” We here at Media A La Carte think these updates might have a little something to do with their competitor TikTok … but I digress.

The Guide Feature is Available to All Users

Instagram Guides allow you to create themed collections of posts, places, or products on your profile. The Guides feature was given to select creators in May of 2020, and they were mostly used to create Guides about health and self-care to help Instagram users cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now the feature is available for all users! If you want to see an in depth explanation of how to create your own guide, click here. The Guides have a sleek aesthetic, and they’re also shareable to your stories. Instagram rewards those who adapt early to their new updates, so try making a Guide today!

Product Tags on Ads

The only posts that used to have product tags were called “Shoppable Posts” and those posts couldn’t be turned into ads. Now creators and businesses can promote Shoppable Posts, or add product tags to their ads. This is a brand new feature that allows sellers to streamline the buying process for their audiences. If you’re selling on Instagram, you definitely want to look into this new way to get your work to a broader audience.

Longer Lives + Instagram Badges for Purchase

Instagram Lives can now go up to 4 hours long, and they can be saved to a user’s profile for 30 days. This is a big extension that many activists, influencers, and creators are grateful for. What they’re probably more grateful for is the new ability to make money during their Instagram Lives. They can do this by selling Instagram badges. If you’re watching a Live, and you want to support the creator, you can buy a badge that will indicate you’re a top supporter of that creator. There are 3 levels you can purchase:

One heart - $.99

Two hearts - $1.99

Three hearts - $4.99

After you’ve bought a badge, it will show up next to your username on the Live (see above). Every time you “heart” the live, your “heart” will be highlighted. Also, your username will be visible to the creator on a list for 90 days - letting them know you’re one of their biggest fans.

Keyword Search is Finally Here!

In the past, the only searchable content on Instagram was handles, usernames, locations, and hashtags. Now the words you write in your captions will finally be searchable as well. And you can search for captions you want to read without hopping around from hashtag to hashtag until you find the content you were looking for. The keyword search is currently a little limited, and not as niche as hashtags are. And there’s a whole algorithm that’s going to decide what words in your captions are considered “key”, and they will be "limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines” according to Instagram’s spokesperson.

As we all learn more about how Instagram’s keyword search is going to function, the way we write our captions and use hashtags could majorly change. Make sure you’re checking back here for all the tips and tricks to get your content discovered on Instagram.

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