Instagram has been busy this summer. With its user base growing beyond 1 billion in June, the platform works to develop new ways for brands to communicate and build connections with their fans. New releases like branded content ads, chat stickers and the Spark AR Studio all serve as digital marketing opportunities to build more authentic, personalized communications.
Let’s dive into each of these new releases:
1. Branded Content Ads: Brands can Boost Influencer Content
We are amidst a Purpose Revolution, where consumers want to see unpolished, authentic and transparent content. As a social media agency, influencer marketing has been a pivotal tactic in building these ties between consumer and brand identity.
As digital marketing agencies and brands alike pour budget into influencer marketing, Instagram released branded content ads. This new social media advertising format allows brands to promote influencer content as the influencer, using their own targeting, budget and ads manager. With the update, brands now have the power to amplify this valuable content far beyond.
2. Chat Stickers: Start Conversations with Fans
Instagram stories have become an essential aspect of social media strategy. People view Instagram Stories by double the number of Snapchat users every day. Interactive “stickers” allow for brands to customize Story content and engage users with creative formats. We’ve seen stickers in the form of quizzes, polls and countdowns—but now we have chat stickers.
Chat stickers marry the wildly popular Instagram Story stickers with the widely used group chat format. This feature is designed to build bigger, more engaged communities on the platform. It allows brands to host and participate in real group chats with followers.
Why would you want to start a group chat with followers? We can think of a few ideas: to invite a select community to local events, reward engaged fans to participate in focus groups or even share exclusive offers.
3. Spark AR Studio: DIY Instagram Story Filters
You have probably seen augmented reality, or AR, on every digital marketing trends blog for the last two years but might not have the best idea of what it means. If that’s the case, get excited about Spark AR Studio.
Implementing AR into a digital marketing strategy has historically taken very specialized knowledge and expensive tools. Instagram’s Spark AR Studio changes that. This free tool allows anyone, anywhere with any budget to experiment with AR by creating their very own Instagram Story filters.
Making AR more accessible is a big deal for brands who haven’t had the resources to try it in the past. AR is one of the most interactive experiences a consumer can have with a brand—plus, filters are incredibly sharable. Creating a custom filter could be an insurmountable way to transform customers into brand advocates and consequently build brand awareness.
As the hype surrounding these exciting new digital marketing tools from Instagram builds, we must remember that the fundamentals driving our strategy hold true: social media is a relationship-building tool. Rather than posting chat stickers or using AR filters for the novelty, integrate them in ways that add value to fans. Jumping on the next big trend is exciting, but nothing beats building authentic connections with audiences.