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2020 Instagram Updates... What You Need To Know!

blog estelle Jan 04, 2021

As we step into 2021 I thought now would be a great time to take a look back at what Instagram gave us in 2020…and boy did they pull out all the stops!


Earlier in the year Insta gave their Insights a little upgrade allowing for Business and Creator accounts to better track their follower growth. This particular update also lets us see which posts and stories generate the most followers!

Another mentionable update happened in the Activity tab … where you can now see other users Stories that have mentioned you in the past 24 hours.

A secondary inbox tab was also created for users with a business account separating primary and general messages. Not forgetting that new requests are also separated from these two main categories.


One of our favourite updates happened in the second month of 2020 when Instagram created New Following categories. You can now see the top 50 accounts that are most shown in your feed and the top 50 accounts you interact with the least. While in the Follower tab you can sort between accounts you don’t follow!

New support and appeal tools were added to put a stop to harassment. You can report content and accounts and even monitor the status of your reports. Most importantly accounts that have been disabled can appeal the decision in the app, rather than through the Help Centre.

Insta also launched their Instagram Comms account on Twitter sharing news, product updates and so much more.


As the coronavirus pandemic affected communities the world over, Instagram focused a majority of this months updates in response to it.

A COVID-19 Information Centre was launched to halt misinformation. This also included popular hashtags related to the pandemic being shadow banned.

New stickers in support of Staying Home and Thanks Health Heroes were added in the Stories feature including aggregating accounts which used the stickers.

Insta also ran pilots for their IGTV ads and monetisation for users with Creator accounts.




At a time when business really started to feel the effects of the virus new tools were added to support small business owners including Gift card, food order and donation tools.

Instagram also introduced the ability to run a fundraiser directly from LIVE as a way to raise money for non profits supporting those affected by the pandemic.

The IGTV app also got a redesign this month, with developers taking a page of out TikTok … of which we’ve seen even more similarities since. The change also included the ability to share a 15-second preview of IGTV videos into your Stories.

Taking it from your mobile device onto your computer Instagram users can now read and reply to direct messages from desktop browsers!


Insta Shops landed in May and with it the ability for brands and creators to open storefronts and showcase their collections and products that can be bought without ever having to leave the app.

The social media platform also added a new badge feature available during LIVE’s that users could purchase to support their favourite Insta accounts.

Our shopping experiences on the platform also made a new appearance on Insta LIVE. Between February and March of 2020, when stay-at-home orders were issued worldwide the viewership on Insta LIVE rose by 70%!! Insta opened up the ability for users to tag and display products in LIVE videos.

LIVE videos can also now be saved to IGTV meaning you can re-use your content and share it with even bigger audiences.

This was also the month where Instagram rolled out their Guides feature – a collected of curated posts and videos with headlines, tip ’n’ tricks. Have you seen our latest Guides? Check out our insta hacks for businesses!


With more than 500 million people using Insta Stories every day the social media platform tested a feature that would allow you to See All Stories in one grid. While we haven’t seen this one stay as the use of Stories continue to rise it may be one to keep our eyes out for.

Shoppable product tags began to pop up in captions taking users to a product page allowing them to purchase the item immediately.

Insta also saw it’s DM and Facebook Messenger begin to integrate. Since then you can now reply to DM’s from Facebook however the function isn’t going both ways just yet.


Insta Reels made its first appearance in India following the TikTok ban and since then has been a HUGE hit with users the world over. The 15-second video and audio clip feature is a great way to quickly share value, promote a new product or service launch and even attract new followers.

The platform also introduced the ability to pin comments which is great for small biz owners wanting to share their best feedback or highlight certain conversations. Have you tried it yet?


In the midst of Summer Instagram rolled out their new Reels function to more than 50 countries with some users finding that the Reels tab replaced the Explore tab altogether.

New fonts were added to Stories this month with four new type styles giving users even more versatility when creating content.

Insta DM and Facebook Messenger finally began merging across both platforms. The update brought with it more colours, emoji reactions and the introduction of Messenger Rooms with the ability to chat with up to 50 people!




After the massive hit that was Reels and Shops the platform began testing new home layouts with three different versions. Did anyone else find that their home layout changed as per their individual use of the social media platform?

In the U.S Checkout and LIVE shopping became available for eligible business and creator accounts with Instagram Shops. The expansion was in response to the shift in retail to online purchases.


Facebook rebranded their Pages Manager App into the brand new Facebook Business Suite which saw many having to re-learn how the new update worked. It means that you can now post across Facebook and Instagram from one place.

In a push to make Facebook and Insta more accessible IGTV creators gained the option to turn on automatic captions for their videos. These captions – powered by automated speech recognition AI – was first made available in 16 languages.

Insta also celebrated its 10th anniversary with the company releasing a number of features and pledging to continue their support of small businesses and creators.

Has anyone seen the new map and calendar tool that lets you browse old stories by date and location?

Reels also saw a significant update with the video length being expanded to 30 seconds from their first launch when you could only record a 15 second clip. Trim and editing tools were also added to offer the familiarity and ease of use that TikTok has.


Reels and Shop tabs finally found their forever home as they replaced the camera and activity tabs on the home screen.

Product tags also became available for Insta ads allowing users to see product details, add it to a wish list or make a purchase. This update also brought with it a Shopping Engagement Custom Audiences allowing users to target people who have previously shown an interest in the businesses content.

The social media platform also began to enforce branded influencer content tagging. A study made by the BBC found that more than 75% of influencer ads were not clearly labelled. It is no longer sufficient to simply use the #ad in your caption with prompts popping up.

Insta also expanded the length of their LIVEs, badges and more. This update would allow creators to broadcast for up to four hours and have up to 30 days to save the recording. Since then we’ve noticed that the platform actually notifies you of who is currently LIVE pushing their icon to the front of your Stories timeline.


What a year it’s been! Instagram has wrapped us 2020 with updates to branded content, guides and more.

Reels continues to expand with the rollout of product tags making them shoppable. You can now promote posts that have product tags from businesses and creators as ads!

Guides also saw an expansion. Initially, when they were launched in May the primary purpose was to offer more wellness tips amidst the ever-changing pandemic. Now users can create them around their business niche … and you can share them across your Stories and DM’s … making it easier to connect your followers with the content that will benefit them the most.



On the other hand Facebook is now facing a massive antitrust lawsuit which could potentially breakup Facebook Inc. Little reminder for anyone who isn’t aware Facebook own Instagram and WhatsApp. Since the 9th December when the lawsuit was made official we have seen some insights being affected .. as we reported you are currently unable to see data on the followers you have gained from particular posts with other people reporting similar changes.

Which one of these updates have you been the most excited about this year and what do you think the platform will do in 2021?

Don’t forget to follow me for more inst tips and tricks @estellekeeberofficial