What do the new Instagram features mean for APAC marketers?

Instagram constantly rolls out new features, such as Reels and product tagging that can help APAC marketers create better social marketing strategies.

Instagram, one of the most popular social media networks worldwide, has recently rolled out new features in 2022. So, what are the implications for marketers in the Asian Pacific (APAC) region?

Statista report shows that Instagram’s social media market share is 5.94 percent across APAC in February 2022, up from 4.97 percent in January 2021. Do the new features contribute to Instagram’s increasing social media market share?

Instagram Continuing Reels Investment

On August 5, 2020, Instagram announced a new feature that allows users to create short, entertaining videos — Instagram Reels. Users enjoy recording and editing multi-clip videos with special effects, audio, and other creative tools. They can share 15-second videos or reels with their Feed followers and through the entire Instagram community via Explore.

Instagram announced last February 2022 that they continue to simplify how users enjoy creating videos on Instagram via Reels. A few changes have been rolled out, such as videos with a mute option and a full-screen viewer.

Instagram wants to help creators by providing portfolio monetization options through Meta, such as generating revenue from reels-displayed ads. Because of focusing on Reels, in-stream video ads or IGTV ad placements are now out of the picture.

Reels can help businesses gain greater brand awareness and better target customer engagement. Marketers can navigate Instagram’s ads manager, choose their advertising goal, and launch ad campaigns through Reels.

Instagram Reels showcases brand authenticity through behind-the-scenes reels and other fresh, unique content. Instead of creating ads for mere product promotion, this update focuses on long-term engagement and building a community of users that share their brand experiences.

Instagram Feed Product Tagging

Product tagging was only accessible to brands and creators. But all Instagram users can now tag a brand on feed posts. Instagram users can see the product’s detailed information whenever they tap on the product tag. In addition, users can purchase the product from the brand’s page or app.

For example, a female Instagram user can tag a newly purchased lipstick in her Feed post. Her family and friends can read more information about the lipstick and buy it.

With this recent update, marketers can create various social media strategies on Instagram. This capability makes Instagram’s product tagging a great brand booster. Marketers can provide a direct link to brands and products in their uploads. Moreover, businesses can work with influencers and citizen creators to optimize brand-specific product tagging.

Despite Instagram being banned in China, this social media platform was still a key to reaching luxury Chinese shoppers. Chinese influencers have their own IG accounts and luxury brands find their way to promote their products. With the recent product tagging feature, influencers can use the feature to reach high-end shoppers through Instagram. They usually use a virtual private network (VPN) to tunnel through and give them access to banned sites like Instagram.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories enable users to post their photos or videos to a separate content feed, viewable by other IG users for 24 hours. Instagram reported that 500 million people use IG Stories daily this year. About 86.6 percent of Instagram users post IG stories every day, and 30% of US brands allocate their budget for Instagram stories.

But do APAC businesses also include Instagram in brand marketing like Western countries?

Instagram has been one of the major marketing platforms in Asia. According to the latest statistics, Instagram was the most commonly used platform for influencers in Hong Kong in 2021 at 45.67 percent. This photo-sharing social media platform has captured the attention of Hong Kong content creators, representing brands to general consumers.

Instagram Drops

Instagram’s social commerce is a multi-billion dollar market. Retail social commerce sales have been projected to reach over US$36 billion in 2021, and Instagram delivers the “most relevant” shopping experiences.

In Singapore, Fawn & Co, a beauty startup company, spurred sales by 300 percent year on year. The company processes product orders through Instagram. Because of the trending social commerce, Instagram launched a new product launch feature in 2021 to help brands drive engagement and sales.

The latest feature within Instagram Shop, Drops, enables consumers to browse, find, and buy upcoming releases from popular designers and retailers. Instagram users can check out the limited releases or the latest products available in the upcoming weeks.

Instagram Drops feature within its unique Checkout has been reported to allow charging fees for purchases. However, Instagram is not charging processing or selling fees yet as support for businesses recovering from the negative impacts of the pandemic.

While the Drops feature is not yet available in Asia, Instagram plans to expand its availability outside the US. APAC brand marketers can start planning their strategies to make the most out of this new product launch feature. Examples include early artists and influencer collaboration.

APAC marketers can take advantage of the latest features that Instagram has recently rolled out to reach more potential customers. They can also use the platform to build and partner with citizen creators, who largely represent brand influencers and ambassadors.