Snowy pine trees in Blue Sky Basin in Vail, Colorado taken by Instagram user @thatkasper on a sunny day.

3 Instagram Updates For Marketers To Smile About

Custom Alt-Text on Images

Instagram users can add custom alt-text to their images, which means users who are visually impaired will have greater access to content on the platform.

Alt-text, unlike a caption, is a function where users simply describe the image they’re sharing, allowing people using a screen reader to hear a description of the image.

Captions can be fun and witty, thought-provoking or conversation-starting, but alt-text should tell users what is in the image.

For example, the alt-text of the above photo is

Snowy pine trees in Blue Sky Basin in Vail, Colorado taken by Instagram user @thatkasper on a sunny day.

To add custom alt-text to your image, on the sharing screen, select “advanced settings.” Write your alt-text and click done. Then, add your caption and post your photo!

If you don’t write custom alt-text, artificial intelligence will attempt to describe the photo for users based on easily identifiable objects in the photo. The result will be a list of recognizable items, such as “tree, sky, snow” for the above image.

For more tips on writing good alt-text, check out Moz’s alt-text guide.

Why is this important for marketers?

If you’re in marketing, particularly if you’re a destination, event or product, including alt-text is an inclusive way to reach your entire audience. Solidly written alt-text can help ensure your marketing efforts reach everyone effectively.

Automatic Video Splitting for Stories 

Finally! You can now upload a video longer than 15-seconds to your story and watch Instagram automatically cut it into 15-second segments for you! No more using third-party tools to cut and trim your video.

Segments will transition seamlessly, so you don’t have to choose where to stop one segment to start the next.

You will have to add filters to each segment if you’re using them, as well as any stickers, hashtags or text, but you can easily see how many segments you’re working with when you select the video from your photo album.

Why is this function fun for marketers?

If you’re given a longer piece of content to share on Instagram stories, you no longer have to do the legwork of splicing the video yourself. Now there’s no risk of leaving out a piece of your story when uploading to the platform or getting segments out of order.

Edit your video content, upload to Instagram and BAM! The tedious work is done for you, leaving more time for developing strategy and creating great content.

Countdown Stickers

The new Countdown sticker for stories makes it easy to remind your audience about important dates.

When you use the countdown sticker for the first time, you’ll set a name and date (you can also set a specific time).  Your countdown will be saved and it is usable in future stories. There are a few limitations though – you can only select from 12 color themes, the countdown cannot be longer than a year.

When users see countdowns, they can set reminders and share them in their own stories.  

How should marketers use them?

Whenever you have a date to put into your story, consider if a countdown would be a good way to engage your audience. Sales events, product launches, webinars, and contest winner announcements are all great spots to use this new sticker.

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