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Instagram Updates July 2021

Updated: Aug 5, 2021

If you haven't yet heard, Instagram announced of some major changes to the platform recently in a bid to maintain relevance, and keep up with other short form video apps.

In a video announcement ironically posted on twitter (ok he also posted to IG TV) Adam Mosseri the head of Instagram said that the platform was trying to build a better user experience across 4 areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging for connection.

So what does this mean for your e-commerce store? Well firstly it means that shopping features are going to get a whole lot more powerful on IG in the near future. If you haven't logged into creator studio or business suite recently, there is a whole section on commerce where you can create and edit your storefront but you can also send store products directly to people via messenger and they can purchase them through the messaging app. Expect to see more of these types of features roll out in the coming months.

What this announcement really does though, is prepare us for the changes that are coming, primarily that Instagram is no longer specifically a photo sharing app and will now put more focus on video.

If you aren't already making reels for your business, now is the time to start. In addition to the focus on video Instagram has also said that they know people come onto their platform to be entertained and to do research. So if we put 2+2 together, entertaining reels and educational short form video look like the direction the platform will be heading in.

I've been testing out Reels on the Ads Manager platform and the results so far have blown all my other ads out of the water. Plus sponsored posts are now also appearing in the Reels feed so it's one more opportunity to get your products and business in front of your audience.

One of the areas they are going to focus more on is Shopping, with the roll out of Facebook and Instagram Shops recently I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say they want people to stay on the platform and make purchases there. Having a store on a social media platform is nothing new, Facebook has had this feature for years but with little success so it will be interesting to see how they roll out more shopping features to build this type of functionality.

In addition Instagram is going to start offering recommendations and suggested topics directly in the feed for users, which is also good news for store owners as it is another opportunity for people to discover you and your products.

My two cents. I actually like these changes to the platform, it's been getting harder and harder to grow organically over the last few years; especially on the sister site FB. With the increase in focus on shopping, giving creators more ability to monetise their work and the recommendations and suggestions in the feed, sponsored posts in the reels feed I think this offers savvy e-commerce store owners a great opportunity for growth.

So if you are yet to create your first Reel, now is the time to start thinking about what you can start doing. Remember it doesn't have to be all about your products, Reels that feature behind the scenes, real life or miming get great engagement and reach and could be an easy place to start.

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