F8 Changes Galore: Vanity Metrics, Influencers, Camera, Commerce and Stories
Last week was Facebook’s F8 Conference, the biggest event in Facebook’s calendar.
For the uninitiated, think of one of those Apple events; when they release super, rad features, like a snazzy red version of your current mobile device.
F8 is always choc full of new features and launches, and 2019’s was no exception. Some of these features are already live, while some will be rolling out in the next few weeks/months.
On Friday, we blogged on some of the main takeaways from F8 for Facebook proper, read here for details.
Today it is Instagram’s turn. We will expand upon Messenger and the best of the rest on Wednesday.
For Instagram, perhaps the most prominent development was the confirmation and expansion of its test to obscure and deprioritise social proof on posts. i.e. Like counts.
Now, this is something which SMK covered in April, before F8, which you can read about here. So we will not run over old ground, instead let's focus on the official word.
Instagram Is Officially Trialling Hiding Likes
SMK’s original story was based upon leaked screenshots, suggesting it was something Instagram was exploring.
At F8 it was announced that this is now running as an official test in Canada.
In an interview with Techcrunch, an Instagram spokesperson revealed:
“Later this week, we’re running a test in Canada that removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in Feed, Permalink pages and Profile.
We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
Likewise, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri told BuzzFeed News that the test wasn’t about incentivising specific behaviour but “about creating a less pressurised environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves” and focus less on like counts.
“We do hear people worry about how many like counts they get,” he said.
Instagram Damage Limitation For Influencers
As we commented in April, the move is a considerable one for businesses, influencers and users alike:
- Social proof plays a critical role in the spread of content online
- It’s an important key performance indicator (KPI) for marketers and influencers
- Sadly, it is a means for billions of humans to measure their self-worth
Instagram is working to minimise the negative impact for influencers, especially since this is how many demonstrate creds to brands.
An Instagram spokesperson told Techcrunch:
“We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners.”
Although Instagram ‘takes’ with one hand from influencers, it does give with the other…
You Can Now Shop From Influencers
In January this year Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg talked up Instagram’s unexploited commercial opportunities:
“In Instagram, one of the areas I'm most excited about this year is commerce and shopping.
There's a lot of natural activity happening here. And this year, I expect us to deliver some qualitatively new experiences around that.”
Well, if you thought that bikini-wearing-chess-influencers on Instagram could be pushy with promotional posts, it is about to get much worse.
With influencers, or Creators as Facebook is working to rebrand them, now being able to tag products directly in their posts, leading straight through to Checkout. In Instagram.
This latest update puts in a place an indelible link between influencer posts and sales. Turning influence marketing into potentially the world’s largest multi-level marketing scheme.
The announcement ties to an expansion of Checkout With Instagram, which launched in March.
As per Checkout, this new feature is currently in beta for select brands and influencers, but will probably roll out to all in due course. You can view the complete list of influencers here.
New Camera For Greater Creative Flexibility
The final pick of the SMK bunch is a redesigned Instagram camera. See image above.
The redesigned camera will have a new update: Create Mode.
The new mode will make it easy to build a post from scratch without needing to upload an existing photo or video to Instagram.
In essence, it is more of a graphic design base to build from. One can imagine that Canva is stoked.
Instead, users start from scratch on a blank canvas and add stickers and other effects. Think more of a funky Snapchat Stories type vibe to creative. Rather than yawn-worthy shots of smashed avo and smoky quinoa, with 'the crew' on Insta.
Inevitably, creatives should also expect some kind of Snapchat Bitmoji ripoff in due course.
With Instagram’s original founders leaving before Xmas 2018, the past six months have seen a flurry of new features, launches and innovation.
If F8 is anything to go by, the next six months should have even more.