New Direction of Instagram: Announced Changes

With the constant evolution of content-sharing platforms, we have witnessed one of the stiffest competitions to impress users and keep the numbers rising. Moreover, newer platforms like TikTok have caused the social networking bigwig, that is Instagram, to keep readjusting their engagement strategies.

Instagram has been evolving to accommodate new features to enable more interaction not only for sharing moments for friends and family but also for content creators and businesses. With every new update, creators and other users get more ways to make their posts shine. Moreover, the platform is also becoming a particularly effective channel for organic marketing and paid advertising. The most popular Canadian online casino sites, for instance, use the platform to share the latest offers and game releases while also engaging audiences with catchy pics and videos.

Earlier in August, Instagram Chief Adam Mosseri took to IGTV and Twitter to hint at some upcoming changes to the platform. He discussed four main areas, namely creators, videos, shopping and messaging, which will be the focal point of the updates, planned to be implemented in the second half of 2021. In the briefing, the Instagram Chief also acknowledged that the changes were driven or rather inspired by TikTok and YouTube.

“No Longer a Square Photo-Sharing App”

Mosseri went further to elaborate on his announcement regarding the current priority areas and, most specifically, the video. While IG has built its reputation for being the world’s best photo-sharing app, the market has heavily been leaning towards video content. Apparently, video is becoming a more engaging source of entertainment than photo ‘products’; he said, ‘Video is driving an immense amount of growth online for all the major platforms…’. This has led to the team at Instagram reconsidering their strategy to match current user trends. So far, we have seen or heard about the following changes related to IG video content creation:

✅ Full-screen video experience – IG plans to make the video experience more immersive for viewers without having to change the screen orientation.

✅ Increase of Instagram Reels length from 30 to 60 seconds to allow creators to fit more content into their Reels. This may be in response to TikTok’s move to increase the maximum video length to 3 minutes.

✅ Recommendations – users are going to be seeing content from accounts they are not following based on their Instagram activities. They can opt out of certain topics if not interested in what they are being shown.

✅ Addition of automated captions on Reels – this can be set in the caption sticker section to save time for creators and make content creators more fun.

✅ Instagram stories translation feature – like the YouTube auto-translate feature, this is meant to widen creator audiences.


Creators who are solely dependent on photo content are going to have to start sharpening their video skills and look for creative ways to remain relevant to their followers. In his post and in an interview with CNBC during the Creator Week back in June, Mosseri mentioned that the focus now is to shift the power from institutions to individuals who inspire users through their posts. In addition, from the recent updates, there has been a move to help influencers make more money through the new money-making features that include shopping tools, native affiliate tools and badges.

Instagram has already begun testing their new ‘Collab’ feature in India and the UK, which basically lets two creators invite each other to collaborate on Feed Posts and Reels, which will be shared with their respective sets of followers. This is meant to automatically increase view count, as both accounts will have the same view count, like count, insights, threads, and so on. Most importantly, creators will be able to reach even more end-users who aren’t even in their follower networks.

One other aspect that IG has been focusing on in recent months is creator diversity. For example, black-owned businesses are now more discoverable, thanks to the ‘Diversity Info’ page. Users in the US can now discover multiple companies that are ‘black-led’ to support them.


E-commerce is now an area of interest for the platform so that influencers can be able to tag products that they wish to recommend to their followers while at the same time earning a commission on it. Given that businesses and some creators sell their own merchandise, this will be a great way to increase their income.

Sellers are going to be able to set their own commission rates, and posts with affiliate links will be labelled ‘Eligible for Commission’ to make the process transparent to users. In June, Mosseri also hinted at the ability for users to pay for created content by purchasing ‘Badges’ during live streams (like YouTube Super Chats & Super Stickers and Patreon creator support), tip their favourite creators and even buy digital goods on the platform.

Changing with the Times

Does it mean that you should stop posting photos altogether? No. While it’s true that video provides more entertainment than photos, photos still have their purpose. The only difference for creators seeking to have their content ranked well by the Instagram Algorithm is to go in the direction the platform is heading. This is because these updates imply that more weight is going to be put on video content as compared to photo content. However, because the changes are gradual, content creators have a bit of time on their hands to adapt accordingly.

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