2016 has been a massive year for Instagram. It changed its look and it reached 500 million users (yes, read that figure again).

In this article I will recap what happened on Instagram in 2016. And I will tell you my thoughts on these 16 (!!!) new features and how I rate them out of 5.

Get a pen and paper (or you Notes app). Rate the new features with me. Let’s see how much you score Instagram for 2016.

 

1. Logo

75 million people tapping on this icon every single day. It was only a matter of time until people got used and hooked to the new logo.

I use the word “hooked” on purpose. I am sure you have already heard of the psychology of colors. Colors = emotions.

Instagram has actually been very smart with their color choices. They represent optimism, friendliness, excitement and creativity. The perfect recipe for a booming visual social network.

My score: 5/5

 

2. Interface

Adios ugly blue!

Instagram went down the minimalist route this year. We embraced the “white” and clean interface. Even the icons within the app have changed over the year .

My score: 5/5

 

3. One minute video

We went from 30 second videos to 1 minute videos. Which is a amazing! Videos are a great way to captivate our eyes and ears (music!!!).

2017 will be the year of videos on Instagram, I am sure.

My score: 5/5

 

4. Zoom

You can look at photos up close on the app.

To zoom in, select a photo on your feed and pinch the screen. Keep your finger on the screen to hold the zoom, or release to return to the original.

My score: 5/5

 

5. Interest-based feed optimizations

I’m interested to hear about your opinion for this one.

Instagram doesn’t show posts in a chronological order anymore.

Instagram introduced a feature that optimizes our feed based on our relationships with people. And what we would be the most interested in seeing.

As a result I am missing a lot of my friends’ posts. And they are missing my posts.

My score:  2.5/5

 

6. Turn on the notifications

This is like a “double subscription”. You’re asking your followers to follow you. And then to set up the notifications so they can actually see your posts.

I’m not a massive fan.

My score: 2/5

 

7. Multiple accounts

I’m not going to dwell on this feature for too long. I’m just going to say: Finally I don’t have to login & log out anymore.

My score: 5/5

 

8. Insta Story

Your Insta Story is a series of photos and videos people can swipe through on Instagram. Your stories are “live” for 24 hours.

My score: 5/5

Read this article to know ALL the features of Insta Story.

 

9. Video message friends

Some people might be like “meh” about this feature.

I have so many ideas for how this feature could be used (beyond just sending messages to friends). I think it is a great creative outlet for people. I keep my ideas for another article.

For now, I will give it a 4/5 just because it’s not overused yet. It’s just dormant feature for now that is yet to be explored and maximized to its full potential.

My score: 4/5

 

10. Live videos

Live videos aren’t available to everyone yet. I’ll make sure to tell you all about them once they roll out.

 

11. Business profile

  • Contact button
  • Insights
  • Ads

This feature is fantastic. Unfortunately it is only available to business profiles. So you need to switch from your normal Instagram profile to a business profile (here is how). And you also need to have an active Facebook page to be able to set up your Instagram business profile.

There has been a lot of pros and cons going around about whether switching to a business profile is good for your “brand”. Some say that the business profile de-humanizes an account. Because all of a sudden your industry type and contact button appear in your bio. They make your profile look crowded and corporate.

Some wish that the “insights” that come with the business profile should be available to others (without changing the look of the bio). Do you know what I mean?

I do agree with some of these comments. I was very hesitant at first to make the switch. But when I did I quickly realized the tremendous value of Instagram’s in-built analytics.

However, make sure you are aware of the dangers of the business profiles before you switch.

My score: 4.5/5

 

12. Like comments

You can now like comments on Instagram.

According to Instagram’s CEO, “liking lets you show support and encourages positivity throughout the community”.

What I don’t like:

  • The interface slowly becoming crowded. Especially if you have a business profile (so many buttons to press everywhere).
  • I also feel like there is that “one more thing to do” on Instagram. I have to: like the photo, like the comments and reply to the comments. Did we really need to “like” the comments as well?
  • My “Activity” feed is now a mess. I receive notifications when people comment, “like” my comments, like the comment of someone else, like a comment I left on their feed. It’s all a bit too much for me to keep track of all that. I can’t even imagine if
  • I hope people won’t become lazy and like comments instead of commenting, because it might drive down your engagement rate (just like it did on Facebook).

What I like:

  • The interaction side of it. The “heart” is a new way to interact with people. And as you know, interaction plays a big role in Instagram’s algorithm. Interacting = becoming more visible on Instagram.
  • It can make it easier to keep track of your own comments if someone likes it a day (or more) later. You can revive the flame for that account you enjoyed so much a few days ago.
  • No bots (yet). Hopefully this new feature will kill the bots. There are so many fake comments going around that I hope this feature will be a breath of fresh (real) air.
  • An opportunity to quickly acknowledge those who are trying to get your attention (even if they are bot comments).

 

My score: 2.5/5

 

13. Disable comments

You can turn off comments.
This feature was first tried on Kylie Jenner’s account.
Soon everyone will also be able to turn off commenting on posts.

Why turning off comments?

Kevin Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Instagram said “because sometimes there may be moments when you want to let your post stand on its own.”

Fair enough.

What I like:

  • The freedom to do it.
  • Keep your space safe from negativity.
  • It can become “a thing” on Instagram and a pretty cool marketing strategy. Try to see it as a “mysterious” Instagram account. No one can say anything. You can only like photos. Your likes might go through the roof since it is the only way people can engage with your content.

My score: 5/5

 

14. Filter tool

You can block posts containing specific keywords. Instagram has also added the ability to swipe to delete comments, block users or report inappropriate comments.

This feature can certainly help you maintain a healthy community.

My score: 5/5

 

15. Suicide Prevention tool

“The new feature will allow people to anonymously flag posts about self-harm and suicide. Instagram will then notify the person who posted the flagged that someone thinks they may be going through a difficult time, and offer them help.” (source)

The flagged posts will be reviewed by a team of people who are working 24/7, and will not rely on algorithms to judge whether someone is vulnerable.

My score: 5/5

 

16. Preview app

And of course, Preview app.

Did you think I wouldn’t say anything about Preview? Common’ now! If it can help you raise your Insta game, why not?

With the magic of drag & drop you can rearrange photos and plan your feed before posting anything to Instagram.

Other awesome features in Preview include: repost schedule, photo editor, manage multiple accounts, amazing filters and themes. So basically, it is an all-in-one app for you, Insta lovers!

My score: 5/5 😉

 

Total score

On average, I gave Instagram a score of 4.3/5 this year.

What score did you give?

Overall, here is what we can learn from all these new features:

  • Good bye Snapchat. Beware YouTube.
  • Videos are everywhere. They will be the content king on Instagram next year.
  • Instagram strives to be simple to use and addictive.
  • It’s all about being social and safe.
  • Creativity is being encouraged.
  • Instagram is the perfect social media network for almost all businesses.
  • Preview is an all-rounder tool to help you plan your Instagram feed in advance.
+200,000 Instagrammers are already using Preview App to edit, plan & schedule their feed. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out.

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