Is Instagram Coming for Pinterest Next?

Instagram has had no shame in copying Snapchat's most popular features, and now, it appears Instagram is after Pinterest as well. Recipes, fitness tips, design inspiration, and DIY how-tos are already popular on Instagram - and now, users can save their favorite posts and organize them into "collections."

instagram collections.jpg

To save an image to a collection, long-press the bookmark icon

Collections are private to users

Pinterest's differentiating value is website traffic. Currently, Instagram collections are private and most accounts are unable to link to a website. Instagram reported that 46% of their users have already bookmarked at least one post - we're betting that if collections become widely used, Instagram will continue to iterate, allowing collections to be made public and/or letting every day users link off of the platform.

Facebook Pivots Again With Video

With more than 8 billion daily video views, Facebook is a leading video destination. But as with most things related to Facebook, advertisers and publishers must be prepared to pivot when Facebook says so. Recode has reported that Facebook is now de-emphasizing live video. 

Facebook spent more than $50 million last year paying publishers and celebrities to create live video on the social network.

Now numerous publishers tell Recode that Facebook is de-emphasizing live video when it talks to them. And none of the publishers we’ve spoken with expect Facebook to renew the paid livestreaming deals it signed last spring to get live video off the ground.

Instead, Facebook is pushing publishers to create longer, premium video content as part of a larger effort led by Facebook exec Ricky Van Veen. The hope is to get more high-quality video onto the platform and into your News Feed — the kind of stuff, presumably, you might find on Netflix.

Facebook may pay publishers for that stuff, instead of paying them to make live video, a format Mark Zuckerberg was “obsessed” with last year. Late last year, Recode reported that Van Veen is having discussions with some creators to license TV-style shows.


Live video will continue to be important for Facebook, but our guess is that Facebook wants to help fund evergreen content that has a longer shelf-life. 

The Most Important Part Of Your Instagram Story? The Last Frame.

Instagram Stories allow for deeper, immersive experiences. In most cases, best practices tell you to prioritize the first few seconds in order to grab the audience's attention. While those first few seconds are important, we'd argue that the last few seconds are equally, if not more, important. Here's why: 

  1. Those viewers who make it to the last image or video in your Instagram Story are the ones most engaged - the most valuable. These are the viewers leaning forward who stuck around to see the ending.
  2. The last frame in your Story essentially serves as a call-to-action (CTA), inviting the viewer to spend more time with your brand. This is the brand's chance to create a different, potentially more lucrative ending, which gives more purpose for the Story.

In one client test, we saw an 18% increase in visits to the brand's site, which was prompted by the CTA to shop a particular product through a specified URL. The next time you're outlining the creative sequence for your Instagram Story, don't forget to ask yourself: what do we want the viewer to do next? 

Snapchat Adds New Targeting Capabilities

Maybe Snapchat is still reacting to the success of Instagram's Stories, or maybe they're just maturing. Snapchat has announced they will add new targeting features, long awaited by advertisers. 

As seen in WSJ, Snapchat will begin to offer the following capabilities, often seen as standard capabilities by ad veterans like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

  • Snap Audience Match: marketers can match email data and mobile device IDs to Snapchat's audience data and target the users found
  • Snapchat Lifestyle Categories: ads will target users who watch specific categories of video, like sports or fashion
  • Lookalikes: will allow marketers to expand their target set by finding others who mimic the same characteristics of an existing audience

Snapchat is at a pivotal point, where they've begun to reach saturation with audiences aged 18-24. Maturing their ad capabilities should help Snapchat maintain the momentum they've become accustom to. 

Snapchat Introduces "Memories"

In one of its biggest updates yet, Snapchat is rolling out "Memories" selectively over the next month. In its past life, Snapchat was known for ephemeral content, but now Snapchat's update lets users save content and post or share privately later. Memories will let users create new stories from saved snaps, and even combine old stories into new ones. 

The update is huge for brands as many have shied away from the app in part because they aren't keen on investing in short lived content. Now, Snapchat promises access to the content in perpetuity. Once Memories is rolled out globally, expect more of three things: snaps, stories, and brands. 

Instagram Caters to Businesses With 3 New Tools

Although Instagram has become an important tool for businesses, until now, many just crossed their fingers and committed to the social network in good faith - most businesses didn't have the tools or data to prove that Instagram was actually achieving business results. Now, Instagram has confirmed plans to introduce three new tools with businesses in mind:

Business Profiles
If an account chooses to be recognized as a business profile, the account will display various options for contacting the business: call, text, or email. This is an important update for brands who rely on social media for inbound requests - as every community manager knows, it's nearly impossible to keep track of the comments on Instagram unless you have a third-party tool, which typically comes with fees. 

Businesses will now have powerful metrics at their fingertips, that will provide actionable insights like follower and post data. With this information, businesses will begin to understand who their followers are and which content is resonating the best. 

Right within the Instagram app, businesses will now be able to promote content that is performing well organically. Here's what Instagram says in their release: "Simply pick a post you’ve already shared on Instagram and add a button encouraging people to take action. You can select a target audience or allow Instagram to suggest targeting for you. After that, your post will be promoted as an ad for any length of time you choose."

Promotion within the app sounds limited, and won't likely have the intricate features that you'll find through Facebook's Power Editor. Still, this new update might be well-suited for small businesses who don't have the resources to manage ads in something more complex. 

Facebook's Audience Network Now Includes Video Ads

People are watching 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day, and on Instagram, time spent watching videos has increased by 40% over the last six months. Now, Facebook is prepared to extend the reach of your video ads through its Audience Network, allowing advertisers to place ads in a curated list of sites and apps. This is great news for video advertisers because it effectively allows them to place video in contextual/relevant environments, with the same advanced targeting and reporting available on Facebook/Instagram proper. 

Video ads through the Audience Network will be offered in two different formats: 

In-Stream (desktop and mobile), which will play before, during, or after video content on third-party sites and mobile apps.

In-Article, which will appear on publishers' mobile pages, between paragraphs of text. This placement will autoplay when at least half of the pixels are in view.

According to AdAge, "It's also expanding the ways advertisers can buy video ads inside articles, or at least its own Instant Articles. Ads appear on Instant Articles by two means: through Facebook's Audience Network and in direct deals with publishers. Facebook previously allowed publishers to sell video ads inside articles themselves, but didn't support it through the Audience Network. That's now changing."

Facebook Brings 'Dynamic Ads' to Instagram

Example of a 'Dynamic Ad' on Instagram // Image Source: Facebook

Example of a 'Dynamic Ad' on Instagram // Image Source: Facebook

With the aim of showing more products to the right people, Facebook is making it easier for brands to automate retargeting on Instagram with its introduction of Dynamic Ads. Previously only on Facebook, Dynamic Ads will help automate the process of building ad iterations based on a shopper's behavior: items they've viewed, added to cart, and/or items similar to what they've previously purchased. 

Many brands use Instagram primarily as a brand building channel, but this update from Instagram shows that they're bullish on their ability to generate conversions. As a whole, Facebook Inc. is showing advertisers that Facebook and Instagram present the scale and opportunity to meet both brand and direct response objectives. 

Instagram Quietly Updates Direct Message Feature

While everyone has been focused on Snapchat, and in a continued quest for Facebook Inc. to own social messaging, Instagram has quietly updated it's commenting features so that when you tag someone in the comments of a post, it defaults to a private message (image below). Since the infancy of Instagram, before direct messaging was available, the easiest way to share a post was to tag a person in the comments. Even after the introduction of direct messages, users favored tagging people in the comments vs. sending direct messages because it required fewer steps and people often forgot to check their inbox.  

Facebook Inc. is essentially diversifying its messaging ecosystem -- recently Facebook created an independent Facebook Messenger app which has 900M users, and Facebook purchased WhatsApp, which has 1B users. With this update, Instagram aims to make it easier for people to have private conversations, but reactions to the update have been mixed.

What does this mean for brands? Expect to see fewer tags on your post, which could have a negative effect on the overall reach of content. Hopefully, Instagram will introduce analytics for direct messages -- otherwise, brands won't know how many times a post has been shared.