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How Is Instagram Becoming More Usable for Your Brand and Your Audience?

Instagram has released many features in the past year, all of which are primarily designed to increase usability for both brands and typical users. The easier navigation is, the safer engagement feels, and the more enticing brand discovery is on a social platform, the more likely it is that the average user will engage with your brand’s content there.

The Quick Guide to Social Media Attribution Models

Here are the key developments that have made Instagram more “usable” in the past year, and why they matter to social marketers.

Comment Filtering

Coming soon to Instagram accounts near you! Sick of spam (“Follow me to gain 3 million followers! Link in profile!”)? Sick of awful people saying awful things that make you lose your faith in humanity? Sick of weeding through all that junk to get to the actual comments from actual followers who care about your brand, product, and/or content?

Then you’re in luck. Instagram is giving its users (and brands) the power to moderate their own comments.

 Our goal is to make Instagram a friendly, fun and, most importantly, safe place for self expression…We have slowly begun to offer accounts with high volume comment threads the option to moderate their comment experience. As we learn, we look forward to improving the comment experience for our broader community.

Instagram’s Head of Public Policy, Nicky Jackson Colaco, in a statement to The Washington Post

Instagram users will also be able to turn off comments on a post-by-post basis. This will make Instagram a friendlier, easier-to-navigate, and, ultimately, more usable environment for both people wanting to engage in social minus the harassment and for brands attempting to make followers feel safe, gain valuable feedback, and cultivate strong, engaged communities on Instagram.

Video Channels

In April, Instagram introduced Video Channels within its Discover feature. Now, as you scroll through the Explore grid, you also see “Featured” channels filled with videos on specific topics, curated just for you — including a video prominently placed at the top of the Discover feature.


Now, this is no surprise in the age of social video — it is the medium that draws eyes, keeps them, drives engagement, and is being adopted by every savvy social marketer you know. What Instagram’s deeper integration of video into its Discover feature has done, however, is make this a much stronger and more appealing feature for users, giving them access to recommendations based on their own natural proclivities.

Instagram Stories

As we mentioned in this recent post, brands from all over the map and industry spectrum are using Instagram Stories to build stronger engagement (and, sometimes, sales) among their audiences on the visual network. But how does Instagram Stories — a Snapchat lookalike — make the Instagram user experience better?

Instagram Stories

It improves the experience by integrating the ephemeral nature of Snapchat into the Instagram platform, where people have traditionally gone for a more “permanent” experience. It’s now an all-in-one stop for social users and marketers alike — not to mention, Instagram Stories provide richer, more magnified viewer metrics for brands. And, unlike Snapchat’s weak discovery feature, brands can achieve prime visibility at the top of their followers’ feeds.

The Seamless Ad Experience

Have you ever been scrolling through your Instagram feed and thought, “Wow, that’s cool!”, then, “I didn’t know I followed this brand!”, then, “Oh, I don’t, this is a sponsored post,” then, “But it’s still super cool. Maybe I should follow this brand!”?

Instagram Ad

Yeah, me too. That’s because Instagram put a lot of time and testing into their ads program before they unleashed it on their entire user base. I am served up ads depending on which brands I am following and engaging with already, meaning I am much more likely to complete the goal that the ad wants me to, whether that’s downloading an app, making a purchase, or visiting a website.

This increases the usability of the app for me as a user, because when I see this ad, it is actually something I am interested in, feel is useful, and maybe even would have sought out on my own. The ad allows me to skip the searching step, and enhances my user experience. Can you remember the last time you were happy you were served an ad? I think Instagram was my first experience with this, ever.

How Have You Seen Instagram Get More User-Friendly?

What am I missing, both from the brand and “average user” perspectives? Let me know on Twitter, and download our Instagram Social Marketing Strategy Kit to get an extra leg up on the competition.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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