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3 New Instagram Tools Make Social Marketers’ Lives a Little Easier

By: Sophie Maerowitz

January 16, 2020

Instagram has unrolled several upgrades to its native offering for businesses, giving marketers a cause for celebration. These features should prove useful to social marketers, whether they’re looking for a tamer inbox for direct messages, information on which posts garner the most followers or the ability to gate content by demographic. Here’s an overview of the changes and their applications for marketers.

Growth insights: Rejoice! Marketers will now be able to track follower growth by post and story. By navigating to the Audience tab within Insights and tapping into specific posts, those with business accounts can view follower growth over time by day or by week. This is a godsend for attributing spikes in follower counts to effective messaging or creative.

Unsurprisingly, marketers are excited about the new feature. Finn Partners’ director of social media, Justin Buchinder, feels Instagram metrics have always left much to be desired. He exclaims, “Christmas came early! Or late? I don’t know! Either way, I’m dancing in the aisles.” He adds that the additional growth metrics will be particularly helpful, given how difficult it can be to grow follower counts.

Meanwhile, Brian Fanzo, host of The Social Shake-Up 2020 and CEO of iSocialFanz, finds the additional information useful. Still, Fanzo said he struggles “to find the insights or customizations informative enough to drive actionable change.” Perhaps Instagram will offer more granular data as its Insights platform continues to evolve.

Secondary inbox: Previously, business accounts received all DMs in the same inbox, translating into an organizational nightmare for some. With the update, inboxes are separated into two tabs: Primary (for messages you’d like to see first) and General. “Once you set your primary box up, it’s very helpful for busier accounts,” Buchbinder says.

Fanzo also likes the inbox filtering option, but thinks the platform could be doing more for businesses that log in and manage their messages via desktop. “If only I could get DMs on my desktop and the ability to tag messages—which I [Instagram] is testing—I’d be really happy,” he says. Buchbinder agrees, adding, “Now all we need is the desktop inbox, and desktop insights inline with what the Core Blue Facebook Page Insights already offered. Am I asking for the moon? Yes. But I want it now!”

Age gating: While Instagram announced it would be hiding weight loss content from underage users in 2019, the platform has not offered brands age gating controls. Now launched, this feature should act as an extra failsafe for brands advertising alcohol, tobacco and other highly regulated products, while ensuring advertising dollars and content production are not wasted on viewers outside of a target age demographic. However, handing over the keys to age gating could come at a cost: If a brand is under fire from regulators for age-inappropriate content, it can no longer shift blame to the platform for such an oversight.

Follow Sophie: @SophieMaerowitz

At The Social Shake-Up