It’s predicted that by 2019 Instagram will have doubled its current ad revenue to $10.87bn. It’s also predicted that a third of all social media users will use Instagram by 2021. Those are some pretty crazy statistics, right?

Many analysts have put Instagram’s success down to one key factor: regular new product developments. So, what are the latest updates to hit the ever-growing platform? We’ve listed our favourites below.

1) Regram

Although it’s currently in “test” mode, this highly anticipated feature is set to be done that user’s will enjoy. You can kiss goodbye to the third-party apps needed to report and do it all within the app. This feature allows you to re-share content that you’re enjoying to your own Instagram profile – a real time saver.

2) Recommended For You

You know how it is… Seeing posts from a few days ago, followed by a post uploaded a few seconds ago, then back to week old posts – not convenient, right? It seems that Instagram are continually playing around with their algorithms. This is one to keep an eye on.

However, the new “Recommended For You” feature could lead you to see posts that your friends are engaging with. Could this make it more difficult to see the content you actually want to see? Or could it open you up to content that you may want to start seeing? Hmm.. We’ll let you decide this one. Certainly one for the influencers to be keeping an eye on.

3) Instagram Direct

It’s time to start using Instagram as a standalone messaging app! This feature looks at removing the messaging icon that used to sit in the top right of the screen.

In a statement made to The Verge, a spokesperson for Instagram said: “Messaging can never truly shine when it’s tethered to something else… We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app.” What are your thoughts?

4) Instagram Highlights… On Your Story?!

That’s right! You can now archive your Instagram stories and mark them as “highlights”. What opportunities can arise from this? Well… You know that Youtube hero video? Think of your Instagram archives/highlights as a way to tease people about your account – like a trailer almost. Let us know if you’ve experimented with this feature at all yet.

5) Hashtag Following

As a user you can now follow hashtags in the same way you follow fellow users. For accounts that share different types of content – some of which their audience won’t care about – this update will allow them to keep up communication with smaller, more niche audience groups.

This could be a nice opportunity for exploiting organic reach on Instagram, but as always, it won’t be as simple as using a hashtag in your caption. Instagram will limit the posts they serve to users, based on what’s trending or what’s most recent, so brands and marketers will still have to ensure their content is deserving.

These are just some of our favourite changes happening to Instagram going into 2018. There are a few features we missed out, such as: live streaming, close friends, shopping and of course, sharing to Whatsapp (because why would Zuckerburg leave his other child out?) If you have any questions about these then feel free to contact us on social media or drop us an email!

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