Instagram has announced a ton of new features for 2020! Some of Instagram’s new features are already here, like Facebook Shops, and some are coming soon to a feed near you, like IGTV Ads, Instagram Live shopping, and so much more!
Plus, Instagram is finally giving creators the ability to earn money from the content they share on IGTV — a highly requested feature from Instagram’s creator community.
Honestly, it’s been hard to keep track of allll the new Instagram features, so we’ve created a roundup to help you get all the information you need in one place:
Table of Contents
Instagram Feature #1: Facebook Shops
Facebook just launched its biggest move into e-commerce yet: Facebook Shops!
But don’t be put off by the name — the new feature allows small businesses to build online stores on Facebook and Instagram, and you’ll even be able to tag products during live broadcasts!
In Zuckerberg’s own words: “This is the biggest step we’ve taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps.”
On Facebook Business Pages or Instagram profiles, brands can build out a catalog of products and services that visitors can browse, save, share, and even purchase.
Note: Instagram Shop is a slightly different feature than Facebook Shops — it allows users to browse products directly from Instagram’s Explore page. We’ll be covering that in a little bit.
For now, when we discuss Facebook or Instagram Shops, we’re referring to the actual online storefront that brands can now set up!
These virtual stores on Facebook and Instagram are also highly customizable — you’ll be able to choose the products you want to feature from your catalog and then customize the look and feel of your shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase your brand.
Facebook is partnering with Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics to help brands bring their products into Facebook Shops.
Businesses will be able to use these third-party platforms to manage their Facebook Shops, as well as any social ads related to those shops.
And if that isn’t enough, Facebook is also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses you love by enabling you to connect your loyalty programs, like the points program at your local cafe, to your Facebook account.
“You’ll be able to easily see and keep track of your points and rewards,” according to Facebook’s announcement. “And we’re exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage, and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops.”
Facebook Shops is gearing up to be one of the most important launches since Instagram Stories in 2016! Facebook Shops are available now, you can learn more in this blog post.
Instagram Feature #2: Instagram Shop
Not to be confused with Facebook Shops, Instagram Shop opens up a whole new shopping experience on Instagram.
This year, starting in the US, you might notice a new shop tab in the Instagram navigation bar dedicated to helping you discover and buy products.
According to Facebook’s press release, once the feature rolls out, you’ll be able to “browse selections from your favorite brands and creators, filter by categories like beauty and home, and purchase the looks you love all in one place,” making finding inspiration and shopping directly in the Instagram app much more streamlined.
But Instagram is taking it one step further to serve products that will spark a purchase — from a curated edit inspired by Instagram’s @shop account, a carousel of shoppable brands to browse, and “Suggested For You” product recommendations with different filter options, Instagram Shop will quickly become the destination to browse and shop!
While Facebook’s press release doesn’t go into the details, we’d predict shop-friendly changes coming to the Explore page too!
It’s unknown exactly how Facebook will determine which products and brands get featured on the new Instagram Shop tab, but it’s likely that brands that are actively using Instagram Shopping and Checkout features will be prioritized.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Shopping for more details on all Instagram’s tools and features to help you make sales.
Ready to step up your Instagram game? With Later, you can plan, schedule, and automatically post to Instagram, so you can spend more time on the bigger things — like testing out these new features!
Instagram Feature #3: IGTV Ads
This is great news for Instagram creators as they can now (finally!) start making money with new IGTV Ads!
Starting next week, Instagram will be introducing ads in IGTV as a way to start supporting creators and help them monetize their video content.
The launch of video ads is big news for the platform. This is the first time creators will be able to make money directly from IGTV since its launch in 2018.
According to Instagram, the 15-second long IGTV ads will begin showing up in IGTV from a select group of partners and advertisers in the US with plans to continue expanding globally.
Look out for ads from brands like IKEA, Puma, Sephora this week as they, along with other test partners, will be the first to launch IGTV ads.
In an interview with The Verge, Instagram’s COO, Justin Osofsky shares that those in the IGTV ad rollout will receive an “industry standard” 55% share of all advertising in IGTV, the same rate as YouTube.
“Creators already put an incredible amount of effort into their content, and it’s crucial that they can make money from that content in order to fuel their work in the future,” Osofsky said.
Instagram also shared they will continue testing various IGTV ad options, such as the ability to skip ads, to make sure the final result works well for users, creators, and advertisers alike.
Instagram Feature #4: Badges in Instagram Live
In a completely new venture for Instagram, the launch of badges on Instagram Lives creates a new revenue stream for creators, while also developing a sense of exclusivity on the platform.
The concept of “badges” plays off a popular feature within Twitch and TikTok, which allows followers to “tip” creators during live streams. With the new feature, viewers can purchase a badge during a Live video that will stand out in the comments and unlock additional features, including placement on a creator’s list of badge holders.
Badges will be available in 3 different levels, based on the number of hearts they have. Viewers can buy one heart for $0.99, two for $1.99, or 3 for $4.99. Viewers will only be able to buy one badge during a live video.
Creators can see how many hearts a viewer has purchased thanks to a visual icon in the chat stream, making it easy to see who is supporting them for a shout-out.
According to fitness influencer @charleeatkins: “Badges in Instagram couldn’t have come at a better time for fitness creators like me. It’s an easy way to channel the love we already see in our Live feeds so we can continue building and creating for our fans.”
Badges will begin testing next month with a small group of creators and businesses.
However, over the coming months, Instagram promises the feature will expand across the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Mexico.
Want to get early access to badges? Fill out this form!
Instagram Feature #5: Live Shopping
There’s no denying that Instagram Live has seen a bit of a rebirth amid COVID-19.
In fact, Facebook has reported a 70% increase in Live views from February to March as creators and brands found new ways to embrace the platform during social distancing.
So it seemed like a natural progression for Instagram to release Instagram Live features that would help support small businesses and communities during this time.
Enter: Live Shopping!
Soon, sellers, brands, and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase.
This one small change makes for a serious switch to a QVC-like, live shopping channel! Now you can get purchasing advice live from the host — which means you can have a live Q&As with your audience, share product details, or give product demos, all with a live link to purchase at the bottom of the screen.
Facebook will be testing this new feature with selected businesses on Facebook and Instagram this month, with further rollouts to come.
In the meantime, get up to speed with Instagram Live best practices so your broadcasts go off without a hitch!
Instagram Feature #6: Green Screen in Instagram Stories Filters
Everyone might be talking about TikTok’s green-screen effect, but Instagram has been quietly working on a feature that could rival it!
Spark AR Studio, the platform to create Instagram AR effect and filters for Instagram, recently updated to include a host of new tools and features for creators.
One of which is Gallery Picker — it lets creators publish AR effects to Instagram that people can then personalize with their own images, enabling green screen-style effects. With this new capability, people can transport themselves into any environment and place they want.
And the easiest way to try it out for yourself is with Instagram’s Green Screen effect on Instagram Stories. It allows you to superimpose yourself on a background — no fancy equipment or studio setting required.
As part of Instagram’s new AR Filter feature improvements (more on this to come!), the new green screen filter could bring a whole new dimension to your Instagram Stories.
From hosting a tutorial, giving a demonstration, or simply just transposing yourself somewhere new, the green screen filter is one to try out on your next post!
Want to level-up your Instagram Stories strategy? We have a free video workshop that will take you through everything you need to know about using Instagram Stories for your brand or business:
Instagram Feature #7: Apply AR Filters to Photos and Videos From Your Camera Roll
This was one Instagram Stories flaw we’re so happy to see fixed — soon you’ll be able to add AR filters and effect to photos and videos from your camera roll!
That means that you don’t need to “shoot in the moment” to use AR filters. Instead, you can take a photo with your phone, upload it to Instagram Stories as you usually would, and then add the filter as you edit!
This means it will be a lot easier to manage your Instagram aesthetic if you rely on AR filters to post to Instagram Stories!
While not all AR Filters and effects will have this function, Facebook says they are introducing new capabilities that enable creators to build AR effects that augment photos and videos that were previously taken outside of the Instagram app.
“We think this latest capability opens up fun, new ways for people to use AR effects to express themselves and reclaim meaningful or otherwise missed moments,” shares Facebook.
Instagram Feature #8: Instagram Guides
Instagram has launched a new format for sharing curated, scrollable content: Instagram Guides.
The new feature gives users an easier way to consume helpful recommendations and tips from trusted creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers.
Originally intended for the travel industry, Instagram announced that they pivoted plans for guides to focus on wellness content in an effort to provide resources for people who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ll enable creators to connect with expert organizations to share resources during this time, including tips on how to look after your well-being, maintaining connection with others or managing anxiety or grief.”
This first wave of creators includes an international roster of mental health advocates and organizations, including: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (US), Heads Together (UK), Vita Alere (Brazil), Klicksafe (Germany), Headspace Australia (Australia), Deepika Padukone (India), Sudah Dong (Indonesia), and e-Enfance (France).
Watch this space — it’s likely that we’ll see more creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers getting involved very soon.
Instagram Feature #9: Messenger Rooms
There’s a new way to bring communities together on Instagram — Messenger Rooms!
As part of Facebook’s Messenger Rooms rollout this month, Instagram users can now create and join group calls of up to 50 people on the Instagram app!
Following the increased demand for video calls during the COVID-19 lockdown, Messenger Rooms can be created whenever a user wants, are totally free, and have no upper time limits.
In a recent Facebook announcement, Mark Zuckerberg shared how Messenger Rooms are more “serendipitous and fun” than other conferencing tools.
“You can create a private room and invite a few friends with a link, or you can create a room for one of your groups, or for an event you’re planning. You can also start a room for all your friends […] and just see who stops by to say hi.”
And the best news is that anyone can join a Messenger Room — you don’t need a Facebook or Instagram profile to use the tool. You can bring your community together from pretty much anywhere!
Want to learn how to set up a Messenger Room on Instagram? We have you covered in this blog post!
Bonus Instagram Features: Instagram Checkout + Shopping from Creators are Expanding!
This year has already seen a ton of great new features that bring communities together, share better content, and build revenue streams for brands and creators.
But two features we’re keeping a close eye on are Instagram Checkout and Shopping from Creators.
Why? Because their beta-testing is set to expand this year and we’re excited to see what this means for brands, businesses, and influencers on the platform!
Instagram Checkout was first released in 2019 to just a handful of mega-brands in the US and after a year of beta testing, we could soon start to see it in our feeds worldwide!
The Checkout feature allows users to make a purchase without ever leaving the Instagram app — creating a streamlined, 2-tap process of converting Instagram followers into loyal customers.
One brand taking advantage of Instagram’s new feature is Target — as the first mass retailer to make its products available through Instagram Checkout, the brand is no doubt driving sales via their posts!
And while Instagram Checkout is slowing being rolled out, now’s the time to get ahead of the curve and level-up your Instagram strategy so your business is ready to make quick changes and more sales!
Want to know more about Instagram Checkout? This blog post has all the up to date information on the roll out!
Instagram Shopping from Creators:
Instagram’s Shopping from Creators may still be in beta testing, but it’s already causing a stir when it comes to driving sales on social!
The feature allows creators and influencers to tag brand products in their posts — creating an exciting new way for users to shop straight from Instagram.
For the time being, Shopping from Creators is only available for businesses taking part in the Instagram Checkout beta test — but that could be changing.
Instagram has been gradually rolling out the feature to more businesses in the US, which could mean that they’re planning a wider release soon.
When that happens, we expect Instagram to also open Shopping from Creator to more influencers. At the moment, only a limited number of creators including Aimee Song, Kylie Jenner, Jen Atkin, and Kim Kardashian West, can tag brand products in their posts.
So while we wait for the feature to be fully rolled out, now’s the time to get to know the benefits of Shopping from Creators and how it could help your brand.
Just starting out in the world of influencer marketing? We have you covered! Our FREE Influencer Marketing Strategy Guide will kickstart your branded partnerships!
And that’s it for Instagram features in 2020!
As always, we’ll keep you in the loop as we learn more about these new Instagram features and when they’re set to release.
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