Instagram has changed so much since it launched in 2010. However, the last few years specifically have seen a significant period of growth. From Instagram Guides to Story stickers, it’s been hard to keep up.
And sometimes you end up jumping on a new feature only for it to be removed a little while later (IGTV, we’re looking at you!). It’s important not to get left behind though—especially as a content creator trying to establish and sustain trust with your audience, increase sponsorship opportunities, and grow your business.
That said, here are 9 new Instagram updates you need to know in 2022.
New Instagram updates creators need to know in 2022
1. A branded content marketplace is coming
Mark Zuckerberg announced during a live stream in April 2021 that a branded content marketplace is coming to Instagram.
This will be a section of the app where brands can find and partner with relevant influencers. The full details are yet to be revealed. That said, it’s been suggested that brands would be able to set particular requirements and then be shown the most suitable influencers.
Instagram is also talking about introducing Creator Shops and affiliate commerce, whereby creators can sell merchandise and get a commission when they recommend products.
Both of these ideas demonstrate just how much Instagram is beginning to value influencers and their ability to bring more brands and potential advertisers (and more money) to the platform.
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The branded content marketplace would make it incredibly straightforward to be matched to the partners that align with your brand values and content. You would be able to find opportunities quicker and manage this aspect of your business from one section of the app—without needing to leave Instagram to read, write, and respond to emails.
Likewise, Creator Shops and affiliate commerce could form the basis of another income stream within Instagram. Instead of having merchandise and affiliate links dotted across Stories, you will be able to upload your links in one place and direct your followers to one Shop link. (This would be so much more convenient!)
Seeing all the links together is also more likely to encourage multiple product clicks from one user, thus boosting sales.
2. Original content will soon be a key ranking factor
In April 2022, Instagram announced that original content will rank higher in Feed.
This comes as TikTok users began resharing TikToks with the logo watermark on Reels so they could gain maximum traction on their videos across multiple platforms.
Instagram's Adam Mosseri, himself said in a recent video: “If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you are resharing something that you found from someone else.
Creators are incredibly important to the future of Instagram, and we want to make sure that they’re successful on the platform.”
If you have been reposting unoriginal content rather than creating it from scratch, you may want to change your strategy. After all, the more visibility your photos and videos have, the more engagement they’re likely to get (and the more followers you can acquire).
When these metrics go up, you can start commanding a higher fee for brand partnerships and effectively boost your earnings.
3. A full-screen Feed is being rolled out
It was reported in 2021 that TikTok had been downloaded 3 billion times, ranking as the 7th most popular social media app (and overtaking Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat in monthly active users).
As a way to stay competitive and prioritize videos to emulate TikTok’s success, Instagram is changing how its users will consume content on the app.
If you don’t already, you will soon see a full-screen Feed with content popping up in the 9:16 aspect ratio (the ideal ratio for Reels). This means that the quality of in-Feed photos, video and carousels may suffer in favor of Reels.
This is not to say that in-Feed posts won’t have a place on the platform. However, rumor has it that any content not formatted to the 9:16 ratio will have a blurred border.
In other words, you may want to support Instagram’s vision to be a video-first app and primarily create Reels to deliver the best experience for potential and existing followers.
If the quality of your content suffers, you may struggle to connect with your target audience and create deeper, long-lasting relationships. This can fundamentally affect your growth rate and income.
4. There have been advancements in accessibility
As a professional content creator running a successful business on the platform, inclusivity is key so that your content can be consumed by everyone.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 430 million people experience hearing loss and 2.2 billion people have visual impairments.
To make your in-Feed posts more accessible, Instagram has introduced the following two features, in addition to the Stories Captions sticker.
- Translations: This is where your Feed and profile text can be translated for international audiences and all they have to do is tap the “See Translation” button.
- Alt Text: This is where Instagram automatically generates alternative text for those with visual impairments. You can also add your own custom alternative text to provide further detail and context.
To do this, upload your photo or video in Feed as you usually would, scroll down to “Advanced settings,” and then select “Write alt text” under the “Accessibility” section.
5. Digital collectibles are being tested
This Instagram update allows users to share NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) that have been bought or created by connecting a digital wallet. It’s currently being tested with a handful of US creators and collectors.
Although NFTs can be anything digital, such as drawings and music, a lot of the excitement is around artwork at the moment.
Why is this something you need to know? Blockchain technology allows creators to earn income through innovative tools—and Instagram wants to leverage this for a broader audience.
Simply put, NFTs are a new way for savvy creators to deepen their community and encourage their followers to support them. They offer a unique monetization opportunity that’s in keeping with the pace of the digital world—and will set you apart from other creators on the app.
6. Enhanced tagging allows you to credit other collaborators
If an in-Feed post or Reel has been collaborative, it’s important that each creator gets credit for their work. Enhanced tagging on Instagram now enables this.
Only good things can come from showing your support for other businesses and networking. For example:
- They may refer you to other brands, increasing your earning opportunities
- They may share the post with their audience, driving potential followers to your profile
- It’s a form of social proof, boosting your authority in the industry and strengthening your reputation
To use enhanced tagging on Instagram:
- Upload your post and tap “Tag people” in the editing screen.
- Tap “Invite Collaborator.”
- Search for the collaborator and select their username.
If the collaborator agrees to be tagged, their username and Creator category (makeup artist, photographer, etc.) will show up on the post. Then they can choose to reshare the post on their Feed and profile.
7. Share your Live on your profile and add a moderator
To reduce the risk of bullying or trolling, you can now assign a moderator to your Instagram Lives by tapping the three little dots icon in the comment bar and then “add Moderator.”
During the Live, your moderator is able to:
- Report spammy and hateful comments
- Turn off the ability to comment for certain viewers
- Remove viewers from the Live
You can see the activity of your moderator after the Live is over and take any further action, such as blocking individuals.
This is a handy feature set up by Instagram to protect your community. Using it shows that you have zero tolerance for harassment, which will make your community members feel safe and enhance the respect they have for you as a creator.
Soon you will also be able to highlight a Scheduled Live on your profile. This extra communication is ideal for making more people feel more involved and connected to you as a community leader. Not to mention, it serves as a useful reminder for your audience so that more people can see your Lives and engage with your content.
8. Improved editing tools for Reels
Good news, Reels fans—you can (finally!) reorder, delete or trim your clips so it’s easier to edit a specific Reel. Given that Instagram is pushing Reels with the new full-screen Feed, this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
How does this benefit established creators? Streamlined editing tools mean that it will take less time and effort to create one Reel, meaning you can create more in the same timeframe.
The higher the number of Reels you publish, the higher the likelihood of receiving increased views, likes, comments, and shares. This will help you grow your following faster and get more attention from brands.
9. Subscriptions are being trialed
In January 2022, Instagram announced that they have selected a handful of US creators to try out the upcoming Subscriptions feature. This is where creators can set a monthly price for their audience to gain access to exclusive content and benefits.
(Did someone say “new income stream”?)
By diversifying your income on Instagram, you can basically earn more money. Plus, it offers more security—if one income stream unexpectedly falls through, you still have the others ticking along to keep money coming in.
Here’s an interesting statistic for you: millionaires have seven income streams on average, which is how they make the big bucks.
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Subscriptions are also proving effective in helping creators monetize their content on other platforms, such as Patreon and OnlyFans, so there’s no reason why they wouldn’t work on Instagram too.
Although it can feel frustrating when you just get used to the platform as it is and then things change again, it’s also a really exciting time to be a creator on Instagram.
Ultimately, the team behind the scenes understand the value of creators and are doing their best to help them succeed on the platform through a number of unique and effective ways.
The key is to always be in-the-know in order to make the most of the new changes to grow your content business.