It was just over a year ago that Instagram announced they had grown to a community of 600 million users. Now, one year later, that community has grown to 800 million! Numerous new features have been added this past year so let’s take a look at the main changes to Instagram in 2017, month by month.
Instagram 2017: The Year in Review
In January, Instagram announced that they would roll out the Live Stories feature globally. They stated that 150 million people used Stories every day and hoped that the Live feature would increase usage.
This month, Instagram launched the slideshow feature – the ability to add up to 10 photos and videos in one post. This way, you don’t have to choose one photo from an experience – instead, you can add multiple photos to share with your users.
This was a welcome addition to business users who can now use the feature to show “before” and “after” shots, step-by-step guides, behind-the-scenes shots, and more. To see more ideas on how to use the slideshow feature, click here.
With the addition of Live Stories came the additional feature of being able to save the Live Video to your phone at the end of the broadcast. This meant that you could watch the video afterwards or even use it on a different social medium.
Also in March, Instagram introduced Stories in your home feed. So, when you go to your homepage, you can see a colourful story around profile photos from people you follow. To view their story you simply need to tap the story ring.
For those that use the Direct feature, Instagram announced that it’s easy to turn any conversation into a visual conversation with photos and videos. The photos and videos disappear after 24 hours but you can replay it or screenshot the message.
Instagram also introduced the ability to save posts into private Collections. This was definitely one of my favourite features of the year! Whether you like to gather inspiration for your own shots or get some travel ideas – this is a great way to save those favourite shots in one place.
The Instagram community grew to 700 million in just a few months. This was the quickest increase in numbers that the organisation has seen.
More creative tools were added to Instagram’s toolkit: the first was the introduction of face filters. This was a competitive move to be more inline with Snapchat. Instagram initially introduced eight filters including koala ears, rabbit ears, tiara, and they gradually introduced more throughout the year.
Another feature that was added this month was the “Rewind” feature – a new camera feature that reverses what you film.
Thirdly, users were able to add hashtag stickers to their Stories. That way, people viewing your story could tap the hashtag sticker or text to explore related posts.
Finally, Instagram announced two new features on Explore: location stories and hashtag stories. The location stories come from people who have used location stickers on their stories. Likewise, hashtag stories come from people who use the hashtag stickers.
As well as adding new face filters this month, Instagram also introduced the Archive feature. This new feature allows you to move posts you’ve previously shared into a space that’s only visible to you.
In June, we also had the option of being able to share a replay of our live video to Instagram Stories. The replay would stay up for 24 hours so that more of your friends and followers could catch up on what they missed.
This month Instagram introduced the ability to reply to a story with photos or videos. This is to make conversations on Direct more fun and interactive.
Another one of my favourite features was introduced this month – the addition of comment threads. Comment threads make it easy for you to respond to a comment and keep track of your conversation. No more having to scroll down the comments to check whether you’ve replied to one of your followers!
Instagram announced that Stories would be added to the desktop version of the app, which is fantastic for those who like to browse on the desktop.
Instagram launched new ways of communicating with friends and followers. You can share a story in Direct and you can also reply with a photo in Direct.
This month Instagram also announced they had reached a community of 800 million people with more than 500 million using it EVERY DAY!
This month my third favourite feature was announced – the new interactive poll sticker in Instagram Stories! This feature lets you ask a question and view the results as your friends and followers vote. This is a great tool to research new products and services, ask opinions, and do some market research.
To view the results of your poll, swipe up to open the viewers’ list for that part of your story. Here you can see how many votes each option received as well as who voted for what option. The only downside is that the poll and its results will disappear with your story.
If you find going ‘live’ a little intimidating then you can take advantage of the new feature Instagram introduced this month which is the ability to go live with a friend or guest speaker. Why do it alone when you can do it with someone else?!
To add more fun to the toolkit, Instagram introduced the superzoom feature. This camera format allows you to zoom into a subject with dramatic sound effects.
One of my bugbears with Instagram Stories was that you could not upload content that was older than 24 hours. This month, Instagram rolled out that you could share content from your camera roll that was taken more than 24 hours ago. That’s a big thumbs-up from me and from anyone else that likes to gather content and then post it.
If you are a big fan of the live video feature you can request to join someone’s live feed. Alternatively, if you are the one hosting the video, you can see requests from friends and followers that would like to join. You can only accept one guest at a time but you can remove them and add a new guest at any time.
If you are a desktop user you can now save posts to your account but at this stage, it doesn’t look like you can see your Collections.
Finally, Instagram announced that the number of business on Instagram has grown to 25 million – up from 15 million in July! This shows that more and more small businesses are seeing the value in having a presence on this social medium.
Last but not least, Instagram introduced two great features this month:
- Stories highlights and archive – you can now ‘highlight’ some of your more popular stories in a new section on your profile below your bio. Highlights stay in your profile until you remove them. Moving forward, your stories will also automatically save to your archive when they expire. That will make it easy to revisit your story or add it as a highlight. Only you can see your archived stories.
- The ability to “follow” your favourite hashtags. I love this addition to Instagram! To follow a hashtag, simply open the hashtag page you are interested in and click on the “follow” button. You’ll then begin to see top posts from that hashtag and also some of the stories in your stories bar.
So that’s the year that was on Instagram in 2017. What was your favourite update this year? Let me know in the comments below!