14 Sep September 2021: Updates to Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest
In June of 2020, we started providing you with comprehensive updates to the major three social media platforms we specialize in: Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Now that we’re in the latter half of 2021 we decided it was time to check in again on what’s new! In addition to this article, we’ve also updated our FREE 7-page PDF Guide to Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest – you can download it instantly when you sign up for our newsletter!
Facebook turned 17 years old in 2021, and has approximately 2.74 billion monthly users. And 18.3% of users made a purchase through Facebook last year, more than any other platform. Whether you’re using Facebook Groups to create community, or dipping your toes into advertising, Facebook has a huge audience just waiting to discover your products and services.
- Probably the largest event of the year so far was the iOS 14 update which made opting-out of data collection the default. The jury is still out on how much this will affect advertising, but we do know that people are giving apps permission to track their behavior about 25% of the time, which is a huge loss of data. This has already made it difficult to track which ads are working best and result in actual conversions. Facebook is already looking into other advertising features that would rely less on user data, or might allow targeting based on data stored on user’s devices (Facebook wouldn’t have access to the data itself, but might be able to target ads using it).
- Facebook Business Suite has been rolling out to users throughout 2021 as a one stop shop to do everything Facebook and Instagram related. Now you can easily view an integrated inbox and respond to messages and comments on both platforms. Posting to both platforms is a snap with scheduling through posts and stories. You can easily manage both commerce and advertising from one dashboard and gain valuable insights into how people are engaging with your content. We believe that some of the other tools (Creator Studio, Business Manager, and the like) will be phased out over time in favor of this one unified dashboard.
- In June, Facebook introduced Live Audio Rooms and podcasts, building out its own audio products and offering a competitor to the popular social audio app Clubhouse, which boasted over 10 million users in early 2021. Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms allow up to 50 speakers and there are no limits on the number of listeners.
- In August of 2021, Facebook announced that it would be rolling out Reels (formerly introduced on Instagram) to select Facebook users, allowing creation of Reels within the Facebook app, and sharing to newsfeeds and groups.
One billion people use Instagram each month, so you can’t afford to miss the opportunities for discovery on this platform. Perhaps more importantly, 81% of users use Instagram to research products and make purchasing decisions, and 130 million users tap on shopping posts each month. Instagram is spending an increasing amount of time developing video features (Reels, Stories, etc.) and promoting them in users’ feeds, so you’d be wise to consider putting some resources there as well!
Here are some of the key updates to Instagram in 2021:
- 2021 will go down as the year of the Reel, the short video format. Instagram introduced and refined Reels quite a bit this year. In April, Instagram added Remix Reels as a competitor to TikTok videos. Remix Reels allow collaborators to react to existing reels, much like the duet and stitch functions on TikTok. In June, Instagram introduced advertising in Reels, allowing for a full-screen, 30-second video placement. In August of 2021 Instagram announced that Reels could now be up to 60 seconds long. If you’re looking for a quick primer on Reels, check out our blog post!
- In July, Instagram company head Adam Mosseri stated “We’re no longer a square photo-sharing app” in an Instagram post. While we don’t entirely know what this means for the platform, we’re betting it’s going to mean an increased emphasis on video content in the algorithms. Some users have already reported some features—like sharing grid posts to Stories—have disappeared.
- Also in July, Instagram added text translation to stories, creating accessibility for global brands. Text translations launches supporting over 90 languages, and will support more in the future.
Last, but definitely not least, is Pinterest, our favorite electronic bulletin board platform. As of March 2021, Pinterest now has over 459 million users. More importantly, nearly half of US users are using Pinterest to shop! With Pinterest’s increasing focus on satisfying what the Pinner is looking for (and even what they may not yet know they want!), the opportunity to share your products and services and how they meet Pinner’s needs is at an all time high.
Here are a few of the latest Pinterest features we’re watching:
- Early in 2021 Pinterest changed its default Analytics Overview. The default view now shows analytics on only the content you have created, but doesn’t include items that you repin from other sources. In the Analytics Overview screen, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can also click to include other content (now called “saved pins”). This new default is consistent with Pinterest’s increased emphasis on recency and relevance to the pinner.
- In July, Pinterest introduced ways for creators to earn money and partner with brands on Pinterest. Idea Pins (formerly known as Story Pins) are becoming shoppable, and we believe they’ll soon offer advertising opportunities as well.
- Pinterest also introduced the Shopping List in the US and the UK earlier this year, a new shopping feature that allows Pinners to easily access all the product Pins that they have saved on Pinterest in one place and find key information such as price, reviews, and shipping in an even grid to compare products and make purchase decisions. The Shopping List will be rolling out to other countries throughout 2021.
- On the merchant side, you can now become a Verified Merchant. Verified Merchants will have a blue checkmark on their profiles, and will become eligible for increased distribution within high-intent shopping experiences and metrics like conversion reporting. Retailers interested in signing up for the program can learn more at pinterest.com/verified.
We hope this update has given you some information you can use in promoting your crafty business through social media platforms. You can download our newly updated PDF Guides to Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for FREE when you sign up for our newsletter!
If you’d like help navigating your social media, contact us today to get started crafting a better business!