Instagram Adds Hashtag Following; Facebook Opens Up AR Platform

Facebook/Instagram Make Big Changes (and What Those Mean for Marketers)

Facebook made three important announcements today…

  1. The Facebook AR Studio is now open to all

Facebook now has over 2,000 creators using AR Studio. They are using the platform to build fun, animated frames, masks, and interactive augmented reality experiences.

facebook ar studio

As of today, the AR Studio creative tools are open to everyone. In the next week or so, Facebook will also enable ‘world effect technology’ within AR Studio. Creators will soon be able to develop 3D digital objects for people to place onto surfaces and interact with in their physical space. This tech is akin to what Snapchat has been doing for quite a while now.

2. Hashtag followings on Instagram

Today Instagram introduced the ability to follow hashtags in the app. Below is a statement from the announcement:

“Now it’s even easier to stay connected with the interests, hobbies, passions and communities you care about. Every day, millions of people share photos and videos and tag them with relevant hashtags. #onthetable#slime and #floralnails are just a few examples of hashtags that represent the many interests and passions of our community. To make these posts even more discoverable, we’re introducing hashtags you can follow.

Following a hashtag is just like following a friend. To get started, search for a topic you’re interested in or tap on a hashtag from any post. You’ll see relevant hashtags displayed in your search results along with related accounts. When you find a hashtag you like, open the hashtag page and tap on the follow button. You’ll begin seeing top posts from that hashtag in your feed and some of the latest stories in your stories bar. You can always unfollow a hashtag at any time.”

instagram hashtag followings

To us, this is big news for Instagram. Incorporating hashtags has been crucial aspect of marketing strategy. They’ve been very effective for organically growing your following. With this new feature, that strategy can be accelerated if done correctly.

From an advertising perspective, expect to see ads in these hashtag sections by the end of 2018.

3. Update to the Facebook Newsfeed algorithm

According to Mashable, it was confirmed that Facebook quietly killed an old feature that gave users the choice to somewhat control the order of posts in the Newsfeed. News Ticker, the official feature introduced alongside Facebook’s algorithmic feed years ago, is no more. Get the full breakdown of Facebook’s latest Newsfeed algorithm changes here.

Instagram Adds Polls to Stories – Big News for Ecommerce Brands

Instagram today launched Polls as a part of Instagram Stories, and it’s a huge new feature. Instagram also enabled the ability to port stories from Instagram over to your Facebook page.

You may have heard of Polly, which is an app that recently became popular (over 20 million users) by tacking on a polling feature to Snapchat. Instagram (and its parent-company Facebook) obviously noticed this (as they commonly do) and made its own polling function available to its 250 million Instagram Stories users (Instagram has 800 million active users in total).

Just like adding a location or a weather sticker, you can add a two-answer poll on top of your Stories that friends can answer with a tap (voting is anonymous).

Instagram lets you write your own question with any two answers you want. Friends will see results as soon as they answer, and you’ll find who voted for what in your Stories view count page. We assume that the next iteration of this feature will be multiple-choice answers.

If you run an ecommerce brand, this feature can be huge for your business. Stories tend to have high view counts but low engagement. Adding polls to your Stories strategy will increase engagement substantially. Let’s say you run a fashion company – adding polls related to things like ‘Who wore it best?’, ‘This or That?’, ‘Fave Dress for Fall?’, etc. will not only increase your following and engagement, but also your sales.

As for Facebook Stories, Instagram now has the option to syndicate your Instagram Stories to Facebook Stories for US users. “You now have the option to share your Instagram Stories to your Facebook Stories. We’re always working to make it easier to share any moment with the people who matter to you” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Any questions? Need help with an Instagram Stories strategy? Email us at or contact us today!


Instagram Stories is Growing Extremely Fast, Outpacing Snapchat

New Data Shows Instagram Stories’ Incredible Growth

Delmondo, a social media analytics firm, released new data around Instagram and Snapchat Stories. Instagram Stories now has 250 million daily active users, up from 200 million in April.

During the month of June, Snapchat Stories (according to Delmondo) saw a decline of 50 percent in average unique views per story from the same period in 2016. Delmondo analyzed 50,000 Snapchat Stories from brands, influencers, and publishers to acquire this data.

instagram stories snapchat growth

Image courtesy of TechCrunch

Things are still looking up for Snapchat, though. They are playing the long game, and pushing original content. Just this week they announced a $100 Million deal with Time Warner for a 2 year partnership centered around HBO and Turner content. Time Warner is committing to creating around 10 original shows for Snap.

As we’ve also recently reported, Snapchat’s “audience exclusivity” is still very real, with about 46% of Snapchat’s daily users not using Instagram on a given day.

All that being said, Instagram Stories is obviously growing incredibly fast and should be a focus for all social media marketers. Instagram also just added a new feature to Stories. Now, when creating Live video on Instagram Stories, you’ll have the option to share it on your story for 24 hours, instead of just letting it disappear immediately.

If you’re not running Instagram Stories ads right now, you should be.

Why You Should Be Running Instagram Stories Ads

Instagram Stories Are Exploding, And You Need to Be Advertising On Them

Instagram Stories is growing extremely fast, like hockey stick fast. They recently announced that they have 250 Million daily users. The company just announced the ability to run ads inside of Instagram Stories. Here are the details…

To start, the ads are unclickable. You can do 5-second image ads and 15-second video ads. As a business, you will get analytics on reach, impressions, replies, and exits. These will be viewable in the Insights section of the business profile.

Instagram Stories ad example

Currently, Instagram Stories ads will be sold on a CPM basis, and priced via auction. Also, at launch, the ads will not have the ability to click through to a website. That will be introduced in the near future, according to Instagram’s VP of Business James Quarles.

As a user, the following is nice: we won’t see ads until you start cycling through multiple stories from friends.

As we get more information about new Instagram Stories Ad formats and details, we will update this post. If you’re interested in an ad campaign, contact us today!

Digital Marketing Weekly Update – Snapchat, Google Algorithm, Instagram, & More

This week has been full of news in the digital marketing world. Here are the highlights:

  • Snapchat releases “Custom Stories”. You can Geofence a story to a custom location, send it to certain people, and more. Watch the video:

  • James Corden gets his own Snapchat Show, called “James Corden’s Next James Corden”, where he will chronicle finding his predecessor.
  • Mozcast is showing a high of 119 degrees today, indicating that the Google algorithm is highly in flux. We will expand on this as we learn more information.

mozcast google algorithm










  • Facebook adds social chat features to its Live video features.

facebook live video social chat










  • Twitter enables chatbot promotion for the first time.
  • How does content marketing work? Read this.
  • Instagram launches story search for hashtags and locations.
  • More original Snapchat Shows are launching.
  • Great timely content from Lego on their Snapchat about fidget spinners.

Facebook & Instagram Continue to Copy Snapchat

Over the last few months, three new announcements came out about Facebook. Each of them points to Mark Zuckerberg taking pages straight out of Evan Spiegel’s book. The three announcements were covered here, here, and here.

First, Facebook is tweaking their live video section to look more like Snapchat’s. Simple enough.

Second, it’s been reported by multiple outlets that Facebook is prepping a competitor for Snapchat’s “Discover” section. It will reportedly be named “Collections”. Everyone wants in on the content game. See side by side examples here (with Snapchat on the left and Facebook on the right):

Third, and the most blatant of all, Facebook has introduced camera effects called “location frames”, which work just like Snapchat’s geofilters. Just like geofilters, users can create and submit illustrations tied to specific locations. Users can also submit more general designs with illustrations not tied to a specific location. No word on if Facebook will create pay-to-play versions of their Location Frames yet. Check out an example below.

Facebook Location Frames

So, it will be interesting to follow along as these two tech titans continue to battle in 2017. One thing is clear – Facebook does not want to relinquish its lead as the go-to social platform.

Update on 12/21/16: Instagram just added a stickers feature, in yet another copy of Snapchat. You can now add “contextual stickers” and “location based stickers” on Instagram. See an example below from Instagram.

instagram adds location and contextual stickers

Instagram Location Stickers

Update on 3/8/17: Instagram Stories launches geostickers. Snapchat launched their geostickers in 2014. Below are screenshots of Instagram’s new geostickers, courtesy of TechCrunch. Take a look at how blatant the copy is…

instagram stories geostickers

Instagram Stories Geosticker

instagram stories launches geostickers


Update on 3/10/17: Facebook launches a new feature inside of Messenger called “Messenger Day”. Take a look at the screenshot of the new feature below.

facebook messenger day snapchat clone

Be honest with yourself – is that not an exact clone of Snapchat?! Facebook’s executives are saying no. But I think we can all agree, it’s a clone. Yet another example of Facebook’s inability to innovate. The new feature is only available in the U.S. for now, but it is said to be rolled out to other countries soon.

UPDATE on March 28, 2017: Facebook launches Stories on its mobile app to the whole world. It essentially creates a second Newsfeed for mobile users. This form of “Stories” is basically a straight copy of Snapchat. See below:

facebook stories

UPDATE on April 13, 2017: Instagram announces three(!) new Snapchat feature copies: Geostickers (custom designed stickers at local landmarks), Sticker pinning (just like Snapchat’s motion-tracking emoji feature), and Selfie stickers (quite similar to Snapchat’s scissors tool).

P.S. – If you need custom Snapchat geofilters, we got you  :).

New Instagram Ads Feature

Instagram is testing a new ad feature to help improve its platform and ad ROI. Take a look at the screenshots below.

instagram ad test

That prompt at the top is the first thing you see. It says “Personalize What You See”, followed by “Quickly compare what you see on Instagram to help us know what you like.”

When you click that Get Started button, you see a series of ad comparisons where you are required to click on the one that appeals to you the most. Here are some examples:

instagram ad example

instagram ads testing

new instagram ads test

Then after you finish indicating which ads you like better, you see one final screen:

instagram thank you page

A simple message stating “We’ll use your responses to help improve Instagram”.

It will be interesting to see how the ads change going forward? Need help running your own Instagram ad campaigns? Contact us today!

The Most Liked Instagram Photo of 2016 Was An Advertisement…

Instagram and Snapchat have been the hottest social media platforms of 2016. Adweek recently did an article about the most liked photos on Instagram during the last year. Check it out here.

What is interesting is that the top Instagram post of 2016, the picture with (by far) the most likes, was an ad. The picture (below), was a collaboration between Coca Cola and Selena Gomez. It has more than 2 million more likes than the next most liked post ever on Instagram (also by Selena). How did Coca Cola pull this off? It’s about knowing your demographic and knowing what content works well for the demo/platform combo. Coca Cola teamed up with Selena to put some of her lyrics on a bottle. When she shared the post, all she wrote was “when your lyrics are on the bottle”. This allowed Selena to keep her “voice”. If you browse her feed, you’ll see that on almost every picture she shares, the caption is either a short phrase or just one word. The fact that her actual lyrics were on the bottle helped too. She also wore red to match the Coca Cola brand in the picture. All in all, it really was a perfect ad.

What did Coke have to shell out for this one post? Reportedly, the number is around $550,000, according to Us Weekly. That’s a lot of money for one post. But with over 6 million likes, almost 250,000 comments, and roughly 80 million impressions, that cost breaks down to less than one cent per view.

How can you win at social media marketing? Finding the perfect recipe is always key. Coke did that here. If you want help growing your brand via social media, reach out to us today.