Today Sandro goes over five updates in the world of Instagram that small businesses & marketers should know.

Episode 0351


Instagram Updates Aug 2019: What Marketers and SMBs Should Know


Liz [00:00:00] Hey there, welcome back to Liz and Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We help companies and marketing departments control their business, control their brand and get the word out. Today Sandro is gonna be giving us a bunch of Instagram updates. There’s been a lot happening.

Sandro [00:00:17] Thanks Liz. Yeah, it’s crazy. We took off those couple of months in the summer so there’s been a lot happening and a lot going on with Instagram.


350 Episodes!


Liz [00:00:25] And side note, before you jump in. We are super excited because this, we just published our 350th episode.

Sandro [00:00:35] This is number 351, can’t believe it.

Liz [00:00:36] Which is crazy, I know.

Sandro [00:00:37] I was happy when we got to a hundred. That was a lot.

Liz [00:00:40] And we’re still going.

Sandro [00:00:41] Still going strong. And just like Instagram is still going strong. I remember when it was only for iPhones for the first four or five months and…

Liz [00:00:53] Really? I don’t even remember that. Wow.

Sandro [00:00:54] Yeah. Yes. And then it came out for Android phones and everybody was complaining, “Oh, the quality of photos went downhill.” Because everybody was used to it on iPhones and we had our photos perfect and then Android came on board and we were all complaining.

Liz [00:01:10] We ruined it.


You Can Now Schedule to Instagram Natively Through Facebook


Sandro [00:01:11] Yeah. You guys ruined it. Totally went downhill. But no, Instagram is still going strong and stronger than ever. A lot of updates. Let’s get into them. First up, my favorite one – you can now schedule Instagram posts on Facebook. Finally, you don’t have to go to a third party.

Liz [00:01:27] This is big.

Sandro [00:01:28] Yeah like Buffer or Later or…

Liz [00:01:30] Hootsuite.

Sandro [00:01:31] If you were paying for those you don’t need to anymore. You can just go to And there you just add your Instagram accounts and start scheduling. Upload 10 photos or some videos and set the time, add your hashtags. Right now it’s not like Later and Buffer, you can save your hashtags and just click your button and it’ll throw in all the hashtags for you. You can’t do that yet, but it will tell you if you’ve added too many hashtags or not. You can also schedule Instagram TV posts, which I’ve never used Instagram TV, but…

Liz [00:02:08] I have not either and I haven’t watched a ton of it. Yeah.


Still Can’t Schedule Instagram Stories


Sandro [00:02:13] I feel like they’re still trying to make that happen. But one thing you cannot schedule are Instagram Stories yet. So you can’t do that yet anywhere that I know of.

Liz [00:02:21] Unless it’s an ad. But that’s, that’s a different concept.

Sandro [00:02:26] Absolutely. So yay! You can now schedule Instagram posts and Instagram TV posts all within Facebook. And in the past Facebook has deprecated posts that were scheduled through third party things. And I don’t see any signs of that happening with Instagram just yet. But you never know, that may happen. So you may all want to start at least testing scheduling natively through Facebook right now. And we’ve been doing it, I’ve been doing it for like two weeks, it’s pretty great. I love it.


Instagram Engagement Rates Are in Decline


Sandro [00:02:51] And kind of going along with that, we are seeing interaction or likes slowdown on posts for businesses. I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter on that over the past few months on Twitter and sure enough we’re seeing that. To the point where I think I’ve mentioned this before where a recent post for a business got 30 likes and they said, and we got a notification, ‘This is doing better than 85 percent of your posts.’ And I remember we’d get 75 likes. I don’t know what that 25 likes is now better than 85 percent of our posts. So I think what’s coming is they’re going to start deprecating business posts unless you pay to play.

Liz [00:03:27] Of course.

Sandro [00:03:29] And so yeah, we are seeing likes and interaction going down on some of our posts. Not a ton. Still better than Facebook. Way better than Facebook. But it is starting to seem to slow down.

Liz [00:03:42] I remember we spoke about peak ad load on Facebook. Have we seen that on Instagram yet?


Instagram Stories Ad Load Doubling


Sandro [00:03:52] Great question, because this morning, we’re recording this on Friday, August 23rd. The big headlines this morning is that Facebook has asked Instagram to start carrying their load and they’re now going to be doubling up on Instagram story ads, you’re going to be seeing two companies for the ads.

Liz [00:04:09] So I’m following, I’m following two people and in between them I’m going to see two ads now, wow.

Sandro [00:04:15] Yeah, an ad for AllState and an ad for Wendy’s between that. So they’re doubling up their load for some people. So I guess they’re not at peak ad load because they’re adding more space on Instagram stories at least.

Liz [00:04:28] Yes.

Sandro [00:04:28] But I am seeing, I only see two or three pictures before I see an ad through the feed when I’m scrolling through Instagram.

Liz [00:04:33] Yeah I would agree. I would, yeah I don’t feel like my feed is overwhelmed.

Sandro [00:04:39] Some people think it is overwhelming but I, yeah, it’s not that bad yet.

Liz [00:04:43] Well, I mean and I guess I’m not trying to live my entire life on Instagram either.


Instagram Carousel Ads Are a Bargain


Sandro [00:04:48] Right. So with those Instagram Stories ads, you’re going to be seeing more Instagram Stories ads, but also for the past six weeks we’ve been running Instagram Stories ads for a client and we’ve been loving them. We’ve been loving the reaction, we’ve been loving how cheap they are or were. They have been increasing in costs slowly. We were getting about 11,000 views per ten dollars, so. Which wasn’t too bad. And people were clicking or swiping up.

Sandro [00:05:19] If you don’t have 10,000 followers on Instagram, then you have to pay to get that swipe up to go to your website. Which is what we were doing and we were seeing good results. But one thing we also learned is that you can do three Instagram Stories for the same price. It’s called carousel ads. So we were running three different stories and they all show one right after the other for not an extra penny more. It’s the same cost. So you can do 45 seconds basically upload instead of one 15 second ad.

Liz [00:05:47] I see what you’re saying.

Sandro [00:05:49] Yeah.

Liz [00:05:49] Yeah. Now that you mention that I have been, I have been noticing that. It used to be a stories ad would appear and it was just kind of that one 15 second. But some of them I’m like, oh, I’ve got to click a couple times to get past them.

Sandro [00:06:04] Yeah, or swipe through or something. Yeah. So for no extra cost you can do up to three Instagram stories per ad. So 45 seconds basically. It’s called carousel ads. We’re experimenting with it. And I would encourage you to also.


Carousel Ads Can Be a PITA


Liz [00:06:20] The last time I played around with carousel ads I just about threw my computer across the room. Yeah. And I’m sure it was just, I’m sure Facebook’s system was just being buggy. But you know, I wanted to test a new thing for a client. I’m like, yes, this is one I’d want to try. Could not get it to work.

Sandro [00:06:39] Is this a photo or Instagram Stories? Or…

Liz [00:06:41] It was…let me think. It was a carousel ad on Facebook, on Facebook. And it wasn’t that long ago. It was only like two months ago. I was like, this should work! What’s going on?

Sandro [00:06:54] We had huge problems. The three videos were 9 by 16. The standard stories.

Liz [00:07:00] Sure.

Sandro [00:07:00] But it kept saying, “The second ad is not the same as the other two ads.” Proportionally. It wasn’t 9 by 16. And I’m like, “Yes it is!” So we had to like delete it, upload it like two or three times before finally Facebook said, okay all three.

Liz [00:07:13] They matched, they’re good to go.

Sandro [00:07:15] Carousel ads have to be the exact same aspect ratio. So yeah, we had problems, it’s pain in the butt.


Facebook Ads Manager Outages Lead to Outrage


Liz [00:07:19] Yeah. I just think they’re making so many changes that the system just gets buggy from time to time. I really think that’s what’s going on.

Sandro [00:07:30] There was actually three outages in the past summer, this past summer on Facebook ads manager and there was a story I read about you know, people like Ogilvy and huge Johnson & Johnson they were so mad.

Liz [00:07:42] Oh yeah. When you are spending millions on behalf of your clients and you can’t get those ads out, that’s a big deal.

Sandro [00:07:50] Horrendous. Yes. And everybody uses the same ads manager.

Liz [00:07:54] Right.

Sandro [00:07:55] Whether you’re a little mom and pop mechanic or big Johnson & Johnson.

Liz [00:07:59] Yeah.

Sandro [00:07:59] You’re using the same ads manager. Which is a great tool, but if it’s down for an hour or three hours…

Liz [00:08:06] Yeah, it causes problems.


Instagram Removing Number of Likes From Posts


Sandro [00:08:07] Yeah it’s horrible. So hopefully they’re getting their stuff together. Next up, Instagram is removing likes. It’s been tested in five countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland… oh also Italy, Japan and New Zealand. They’re taking away likes and it looks like it’s going to go worldwide here soon. You know, for a lot of people getting a like is like a dopamine hit and you want everybody to see you got 5,000 likes or you got a hundred likes. Well, other people are not going to be able to see that. You can still see how many likes you get but other people, it will just say, “Liz and others liked this post.” It won’t say how many others.

Liz [00:08:45] Sure.

Sandro [00:08:46] And in a way they’re trying to encourage more authentic posts, not posts that get on the bandwagon. They want you to be more authentic with your posting and not care about how many likes you get. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I’m not one that actually cares.

Liz [00:08:57] And this is just on Facebook?

Sandro [00:08:59] No, Instagram.

Liz [00:09:00] Instagram. OK. I’m on board. I think that’s fine. Probably a good thing for society because we are addicted to getting those likes. So, no I think it’s a good thing.

Sandro [00:09:11] Yeah, I know somebody wrote about how their sister was bugging them to like their posts because, “nobody is liking my post,” or “I’ll delete my post if I don’t get enough likes.” “If this post only shows 30 likes then I’m going to delete the post.” Well maybe now you’ll leave it up and maybe you’ll care less.


What About Influencers & Their Marketability?


Liz [00:09:26] And it will be interesting to see how this pans out for influencers on Instagram. Because I’m assuming that that is kind of a key indicator of success of a post on behalf of a brand. You know, how does, how does that all play into it? And certainly yes, likes don’t translate into sales for a brand. But I’m sure it’s one of the things that are, one of the indicators that’s used to evaluate both partnering with an influencer and the success of the campaign together.

Sandro [00:09:57] Seeing how many likes they get. Yeah. And the influencer will be able to show you how many likes you got from theirs. But if you’re shopping around for an influencer, they’ll be like, hmmm, I don’t know.

Liz [00:10:07] It’s going to make it harder.


Ray-Ban Hack on Instagram


Sandro [00:10:08] How many likes did they get? I don’t know, I can’t see. Next up, what I’ve been seeing a lot is a Ray-Ban hack. I’ve seen at least two of my friends get their Instagram accounts hacked. And I’m like, why are they advertising Ray-Bans? Have you seen this?

Liz [00:10:21] I have not.

Sandro [00:10:21] At least two of my friends have been hacked and suddenly there’s Ray-Ban images on their Instagram. And I’m like, why are they selling Ray-Bans? So make sure you change your Instagram…

Liz [00:10:33] Keep your passwords updated. Keep them difficult on that on that difficulty scale.

Sandro [00:10:40] Yeah. And you know if somebody says you know, every time the timezones change here in the United States in the spring and the winter you should change your alarm batteries, your fire.

Liz [00:10:53] Smoke detector batteries.

Sandro [00:10:56] Smoke detector batteries. And your passwords. Because I’m sure Instagram’s been hacked at some point. So just be on the lookout. If you’re suddenly posting Ray-Ban.

Liz [00:11:03] No, I think it was. Someone accessed some files that were, I think they were unencrypted Instagram passwords or Facebook passwords. Because I feel like I read this and I, like within the last six months I’m like, oh okay, I’ll change my password.

Sandro [00:11:20] Yeah Instagram was hacked March 21, 2019. So yes.

Sandro [00:11:24] Change your password. And finally one last thing. It’s not about Instagram but I will just say I was telling Liz we transcribe all of our podcast episodes using Trint. We love Trint. T R I N T.


Video Captioning – SRT Closed Captioning on Facebook


Sandro [00:11:39] Yay Trint! And we’ve been uploading those, A, to our website, B to YouTube where we also publish, as SRT which is a closed captioning for video. What I’ve been noticing is that Facebook, when we upload Facebook videos for clients or for anybody, there is a big thing that Facebook is now saying, letting you know, make sure if you have transcription for this, upload it. We really want transcription. Or they will automatically generate transcription for you and they’re not the best. So if you’re uploading videos, if you’re uploading to YouTube or to Facebook you may want to consider having a professional service transcribe your videos. Because we uploaded a trailer for a movie client the other day for the new Downton Abbey trailer.

Liz [00:12:25] Oh yeah, that’s coming out. It’s gonna be big.


Downton Abbey Example


Sandro [00:12:26] And suddenly, yeah it’s going to be huge. I love Downton Abbey. But somebody posted in the comments, “The funniest thing about this is the transcription.” And I thought, what? We didn’t transcribe anything. And Facebook’s automatically transcribing these videos. And sure enough, it was horribly transcribed. So I ran the trailer through Trint, uploaded a good transcription and it was fixed. You know, and my nephew is, he has to wear an ear thing. He’s kind of deaf. So I’m learning more and more that transcriptions, that closed captioning is really important for people.

Sandro [00:13:02] And when you’re scrolling through, people have their audio off so it’s good to have the transcription up there. So I’m just letting you know if you upload videos you may want to consider having a transcription service or you transcribing it because Facebook is not doing a very good job of transcribing. And they’re asking more and more people to transcribe. And with the Americans With Disabilities Act, big businesses are being sued.


Americans with Disabilities Act Compliant


Liz [00:13:26] Yeah, I got a crash course in ADA compliant websites when I went to Wordcamp Kent back in June and it really, it’s really opened my eyes just to everything. You know, buildings that aren’t ADA compliant. You know, just things that I hadn’t ever really thought of or I take for granted. I’m like, wow, if you had some mobility challenges this, coming to this venue wouldn’t work. So yeah, I just think it’s good to be aware of that and try to build some of that into your marketing.

Sandro [00:13:54] Right. Jeff kind of mentioned it in his marketing agency horror story.

Liz [00:14:00] Yes.

Sandro [00:14:00] Nobody with a wheelchair could get into the building. There was no way for them to get into the building. So yeah. So consider using a service like Trint or something else or you yourself transcribing your videos for Facebook and for YouTube. It helps.

Liz [00:14:16] I love it. Well thanks for these updates. Yes, it has been a busy couple months for sure. I know for Sandro and I, life happens. And we’re excited to be back and recording. Obviously we had Jeff on a couple episodes and he was great. We will definitely be having more guests in the future so stay tuned for that, we’re pretty pumped. But that wraps up today’s episode. Don’t forget that you can find us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. We haven’t mentioned that. We’ve gotta drop that in. Send us your questions and your comments. We’d love to hear from you. We’ll give you a shout out on the show. Don’t forget to show us some love on iTunes and we’ll see you next time.