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Instagram Updates 2021 + Marketing Strategy: What You Need To Know

If you haven’t heard, the battle between the top social media platforms has hit a turning point with the most recent Instagram updates: the platform is moving away from pictures and focusing on other avenues. According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, the app now identifies as an overall entertainment platform rather than a square photo-sharing app. 

Some of the new features set to roll out this year include full-screen videos (think Tik Tok style), and a new algorithm to promote videos from recommended profiles rather than from followed users.

As expected, avid users of the app are upset and unsure of how these changes will affect the way they’ve come to utilize the platform. And businesses are left scrambling trying to figure out a new strategy for their social media marketing.

Keep reading for a quick breakdown of what to expect for businesses using Instagram to promote their products or services.  



Throughout the years, Instagram has made some controversial updates like adding video capabilities in 2013 and then later introducing stories and even taking away the chronological order of posts. And for some of these changes, the backlash was immediate and it was intense.

However, none of the past Instagram updates are quite as significant as this one in 2021. After all, Instagram is moving away from its original identity and purpose: photo sharing. 

So, what does this mean for businesses that use Instagram as a marketing tool? 

Increased Engagement

For one thing, businesses should expect increased levels of engagement with these Instagram updates. We know from the success of Youtube and Tik Tok that videos generate much higher levels of engagement than photos alone.

Even when compared to sponsored posts, organic videos on Instagram earn 38% more engagement than pictures. In a survey conducted with 694 marketers, 61% said that videos are “extremely important” or “very important” to their overall marketing strategy.

Although videos typically do not get as many likes on Instagram as photos do, they win overall engagement by beating photos in the number of comments and shares per post.

Brand Loyalty

Another benefit to using videos is that it creates more trust between the customer and the business. Videos allow brands to educate the public about what they do. Being able to show real, tangible evidence to prove that your product or service is valuable can be a game-changer for many customers. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend your hard-earned money on something you couldn’t fully trust, right?

Just think of all those Instagram video advertisements that have turned you into a purchaser: The soft look of a Casper mattress, the perfectly shiny application of Glossier lipstick. It wasn’t necessarily the product that brought you in—it was the realistic depiction of the product. It became more of an experience than a purchase.

According to research done by Wyzol, 94% of marketers said that the use of “explainer videos” has increased consumer understanding of their product or service.

Not only is there less confusion about what a product or service is, but 84% of consumers are more likely to purchase after watching this type of content.



To receive the benefits of these Instagram updates that promote video content over photo content, businesses will need to take the necessary steps to create video content that consumers will want to engage with.

By no means do you need to be a professional videographer to make great video marketing content, but you will need to implement some of these tips into the social media marketing plan. 


Because creating video content is inevitably more time-consuming than taking a snapshot photo, brands should be intentional about the types of videos they post as well as when to post them.

As previously mentioned, people are likely to purchase after watching an “explainer video” that clearly shows the tangible benefits of the product or service and how to use it.

This is just one example of good video content, and each brand is different, so spend some time thinking about the demographics of the brand and what kinds of content would be the most effective with your target audience.




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Subtitles and alternate text options are important for people who are hard of hearing and anyone scrolling through Instagram in public without headphones. Subtitles have become extremely important in video marketing as many people prefer to watch video content with the sound disabled.

Facebook research has confirmed that adding captions increases the length that people watch by 12%. 


Similar to websites, brands should also be using an SEO strategy for their Instagram as the algorithm becomes more and more competitive.

One of the easiest ways to optimize your profile in the midst of these recent Instagram updates (in addition to actually producing video content) is to hone in on your username and bio. Make it username memorable, easily searchable, and relevant to your brand/industry.

Using keywords and hashtags in your bio is a great way to increase traffic to your page. An example of this is if someone were to search for #DigitalMarketingKC, then a brand that has optimized correctly for that subject would be a top search result.

It is a good idea to put hashtags containing keywords in video captions as well. As of November 2020, Instagram has updated the search feature to allow searches for general words in addition to hashtags. This means that users can find any content containing the keyword searched.



Instagram is continuing to evolve and therefore the way marketers use it is changing as well. MAKE understands that it can seem overwhelming to keep up with social media and learn the best ways to optimize your content.

We want to help you establish your brand on social media and see the success that can come with social media optimization. Contact us to see what MAKE can do for your brand.


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