Top Instagram Updates You Need to Know in 2019 – October Edition
Instagram Is Testing Augmented Reality
Augmented reality– which is almost like a type of virtual reality, but you’re only augmenting one factor of reality instead of creating an entire landscape– offers enormous value in marketing.
It’s why you see makeup companies have the technology for users to upload pictures of themselves and see how a certain hair color or lipstick would look, and why sites like Houzz have created apps that allow users to see new furniture in their home exactly to scale.
They’re altering just one thing about the image or reality you’re seeing, but they’re doing so in a way that offers extremely valuable context that can aid in users making a buying decision.
Now, Instagram is actively testing an on-platform augmented reality shopping feature with select advertisers.
This is the first time we’re seeing something like this on the social media platform, even though it’s not necessarily a big jump in technology; it’s really using the same tech used to create the VR-filters that can make you look like a unicorn that’s puking up rainbows or that give you a mohawk.
That being said, it is dead useful for this particular use case.
When users are looking at certain shoppable, tagged products, they’ll see the option to “try it on” when viewing the product’s information.
Users can try on sunglasses, lip colors, and so much much, all with the click of a button.
Right now, we don’t have more information on when this feature may be more widely available or roll out to more brands, but we’ll keep you in the loop.
Users love exciting, interactive features, and as someone who has used even simple AR tools to make buying decisions, I can confirm that this is likely to help brands sell more on the platform.
Direct Messaging App “Threads” Is Released
Last month, we shared that Instagram was working on its standalone direct messaging app, Threads, which was technically separate but still somewhat integrated with Instagram.
That app has since been released, and it’s coming with a big list of new features.
The app– which is technically called “Threads from Instagram”– is a “camera-first messaging app.”
Think Stories meets DM, with full-screen, vertical images and videos that you can quickly send to your close friends’ list for fast, personal sharing.
In addition to fast sharing with close friends, we’ve also got AIM-away-messages-styled “status updates” like “at the gym” or “on the move” so you can quickly share your status with your close friends list if you choose.
Right now, Threads is extremely user-focused.
Since most users are unlikely to add business accounts to their close friends’ list right now, there will likely be limited interactions here for businesses and users.
That being said, all social media sites– Messenger included– all come up with ways to either monetize the app or allow marketers to use it organically in time, so stay tuned for updates in this regard.
Set Reminders for Product Launches
In addition to running live beta tests on augmented reality (which we will never not be excited about, for the record), Instagram is also running live testing on product launch remindersthrough the Instagram Shopping feature.
This is another feature that has enormous potential for commerce businesses that are selling physical goods through the Instagram shopping platform.
It allows businesses using the shopping platform to learn about and preview products that aren’t even officially for sale yet.
You can add a sticker to your Story that lets people know exactly when the launch will be, which also gives them an option to set a reminder of the launch if they want to.
When the product goes live– which you can set in advance down to the hour– these users will see a push notification that takes them right back to the product on Instagram to purchase.
FOMO and creating anticipation are big parts of online marketing, but getting people excited about new product launches can be tricky.
Historically, if you posted too far in advance, the hype would possibly be worn off by the time users needed to purchase when it went live, but if there wasn’t enough excitement, the launch could be overlooked.
This is an extremely happy medium, and it allows you to turn a simple release of new products into a huge event and boost initial launch sales along the way.
Right now, this feature is only in testing with select advertisers, but historically we’ve seen wider roll-outs not too long after that. In a few months or less, there’s a good chance there will be a wider release of this tool.