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Instagram is testing a Shops tab, full screen stories feed, new features to manage comments, and rolling out Reels to more users. Here is what we know about these new features and what they might mean for your strategy.
A Shops Tab
Instagram is testing a Shops tab, in an effort led by its parent company Facebook to move into eCommerce. Given the rise of eCommerce on a global scale, and especially during the coronavirus, this announces what feels like a major shift for Instagram.
Currently, the Shops Tab being tested is a collection of posts that include Shopping Tags, but this is expected to develop quickly, with the long term goal of allowing one-click purchases within the app.
If you have an eCommerce platform, this may announce future changes for you, making Instagram not only a means to get new clients but also a platform for them to shop your products.
A full-screen stories feed
Another feature currently being tested on Instagram is a full screen display for stories, allowing you to see a full page of stories instead of the current single row.
This is an indication that Instagram is putting additional focus on stories as opposed to feeds, which makes sense as the use of stories is growing. The main takeaway here is to make sure you value stories in your Instagram use, as they could now take up Instagram’s full screen!
Make sure your stories show off your most eye-catching visuals and most important pieces of information, as they may become even more central to your Instagram presence.
New features to manage Instagram comments
Instagram comments are also getting an update, aimed at giving users more control over the interaction feed of their posts.
All users can now pin up to three comments to the top of their feed post, as well as delete comments in bulk and restrict who is able to tag or mention them in posts.
These new elements aim to foster more positive comments and possibly limit unwanted interactions.
Opening up ‘Reels’ to more users
Reels are TikTok-like short, looping videos, Instagram’s response to the rising popularity of the format.
After Brazil, France and Germany, Instagram has confirmed they will be rolling out the feature to multiple new regions including the US in the next couple of weeks. This was announced shortly after Reels were introduced to users in India, in the wake of TikTok’s ban by the Indian government.
As TikTok is facing growing criticisms and security concerns, it makes sense for Instagram to jump on the bandwagon, surely hoping to gain some of India’s millions of former TikTok users.
Through these new features, Instagram is showing that it is actively looking for new opportunities and eager to develop with trends.
The rise of eCommerce within the platform will surely lead to more changes in the use of the app for many, and we look forward to seeing how users adapt to the focus on stories, manage their comments and create Reels!