Instagram has been rolling out some pretty significant recently and it doesn't look like they're slowing down any time soon. It can be a headache to stay on top of it all as a creator, not knowing why your content's underperforming or how to use a new feature. To help you keep up with the new Instagram updates, we'll be updating this article whenever there's been a significant announcement or a big feature release.
Here are the latest most significant updates that Instagram has announced:
July 2022 Instagram Changes
From TikTok to BeReal, Instagram sure knows how to take a leaf out of the competition's book and we saw a lot of that reflected in the Instagram updates rolled out in July.
Here's what's new with Instagram in July:
- All Instagram Videos Are Now Reels
- Dual Camera Comes to Reels
- More Options for Remix (aka Reels' Stitch and Duet)
- New Features for Subscriptions
- Payments in Chat on Instagram
All Instagram Videos Are Reels Now
Have you been wondering "Why is my Instagram feed only showing Reels?" Well, there are a number of factors, like the influx of suggested posts, but this update is also partly responsible. On July 21, 2022, Instagram made official what they started testing in June: the Reels merge.
What does this mean for creators? Any video shorter than 15 minutes will be shared as a Reel. That means 9:16 vertical orientation, access to the Reels sound library and editing studio, and that your video will be discoverable in the Reels feed (as well as the regular feed because, let's face it, they're basically the same thing these days) if you have a public account. For users with private accounts, your Reels will only be visible to accounts that follow you, same as other types of posts.
This update will be rolled out to all users over the next few weeks.
There's been a not insignificant amount of backlash about this Reels merge updates. And from some pretty heavy hitters in the social media influencesphere:
Even the Kardashian-Jenners got involved, which, as Snapchat can tell you, might be bad for business.
Instagram Introduces a Dual Camera Feature
It's time to Be Reels.
Instagram added a dual camera feature to Reels and Stories so that you can capture photo and video from both your front camera and back camera at the same time.
If that sounds familiar, you're probably thinking about BeReal, the "not another social media app" that pioneered that format. A coincidence that the BeReal meme started to take off on Twitter the same month that Instagram added this feature? Probably. But maybe not.
Either way, you can use this feature in a very BeReal way by grabbing an in the moment pic of yourself and your surroundings for your Story. You can also make Reels that show both your surroundings and your live reaction to what you're filming.
Reels Remix Gets More Options
Instagram introduced Remix as a way for users to interact with and build off of each other's posts. Previously, you could only Remix other Reels and, to borrow from the TikTok glossary, you could only "duet" the video. Your remix would show up side by side with the original.
A few things.
- Instagram Reel's Version of "Stitching": Similar to TikTok's Stitch feature, you can now Remix a Reel by having your clip play after the original instead of at the same time.
- More layout options for Remixed Reels: The classic, side-by-side Remix still exists, but you now have more control over how it looks. Among the new layout options added to Reels are the TikTok favorites — green screen, horizontal split, and picture in picture. Great for reaction videos and, well, duets.
- Remixing Photos: You can now remix any public Reels and photos. And since all new videos shorter than 15 minutes are Reels, that means you can remix most of the content on Instagram (with the exception of Stories and shopping posts).
Not everyone is happy with the new Remix features, specifically the addition of photos to the (re)mix. Concerns mostly revolve around privacy and how Remix was automatically enabled for all accounts when the update went out.
If you haven't already, here's how you can disable remix if you have a public account:
Instagram Subscriptions Gets New Features
Not sure what Instagram Subscriptions are? It's kind of like Patreon, but on Instagram. Creators are able to choose their own pricing tiers and make a recurring monthly income from followers who want to support them financially instead of relying exclusively on brand sponsorships and their Reels Play Bonus revenue.
Users who subscribe to a specific creator get access to exclusive content. When Instagram started testing Subscriptions at the beginning of 2022, that exclusive content was limited to just Stories and Lives. Now eligible creators can make Posts and Reels for their subscribers as well as invite subscribers to join "Subscriber Chats."
Unfortunately, Instagram hasn't rolled out Subscriptions to all Instagram creators and they don't provide clear parameters for eligibility. Clicking on the provided link to view requirements takes you to a "This product might not be available to you yet" message and a generic statement about meeting Community Guidelines and Monetary Policies requirements.
So, it looks like at this time, you either have access or you don't. But if you do, you can enable Subscriptions by going to your Professional Dashboard and selecting "Set up Subscriptions." Then you can start making exclusive Reels for your biggest fans.
Shop with Small Businesses Right from Your DMs
Instagram has been tapping into the e-commerce space for a while now and it's easier than ever to shop without leaving the app. Now they've rolled out another way to shop on Instagram, this one specifically targeting the small business niche: in chat payments.
Essentially, you'll be able to chat with your favorite small business owners, artisans, and creators about a product you'd like to purchase then make the purchase right there in the chat. While that might not sound necessary for most purchases, there are a few use cases where it increases convenience for both buyer and seller quite a bit.
For example, if you're purchasing something that needs customizing, you'll likely need to communicate with the seller. Then, once you've settled all the details they can send you a payment request and you can pay it without ever leaving the chat.
This is also a great tool for creators and small businesses that might not have an Instagram shop set up yet. You can inquire about the availability of merchandise and purchase all in one interaction.
That's it for recent Instagram updates for now. We'll be updating this post monthly (or more often if there's some breaking news!), so bookmark it and stay tuned. In the meantime, check out our Resource Library. We publish new articles weekly, packed with creator news, tips, and tricks.