Social Snapshot 2021

Start 2021 by giving your social channels a boost. Are you aiming to increase your engagement and expand your reach? See a summary below of the latest news and updates in the world of social, including a rare glimpse of what Instagram’s algorithm likes to see.
 

Instagram Tests New Stories Layout on Desktop

Instagram is testing out a new way to display Stories on the desktop version of the platform, designed to make it easier to scroll through various Stories on the bigger screen.

The new format presents Stories in a carousel, as opposed to a single-Story frame taking up the screen making it easier to flip through in a more dedicated, Stories-focused way.

Over time, Stories have become increasingly popular, even surpassing the regular news feed in terms of engagement. It seems likely that Instagram will put more focus on Stories over the main feed, at least as an option, which could eventually see the app open to Stories, like TikTok does with its full-screen feed of video clips, making it the key function of the app.

 

Instagram Reveals Its Algorithm's Preferred Posting Frequency

Instagram has privately shared information about the best post frequency to adhere to in order to maximise channel growth.​ The news came to light as a number of influencers revealed information to the public that was shared privately by Instagram to its top creators. ​

After seeing the best practice recommendations, many creators have said that the frequency is far too high to maintain. However, it offers an interesting view into what the algorithm favours, which other creators and brands can potentially make work for them.​

According to the creators, the social media giant recommended:​
* 3 in-feed posts a week (including in-feed Reels or IGTV posts)​
* 8 to 10 Stories a week (and at least 2 a day)​
* 4-7 Reels a week​
* 1-3 IGTV a week (including Instagram Live)​

 

Innovation

TikTok Launches First LiDAR-Enabled AR Effect

AR effects are becoming increasingly popular on social and are expected to gain more momentum in 2021 as technology advances. TikTok has taken a step further with its AR tools, by adding a new LiDAR-enabled effect to ring in the new year. It's one of the first to use LiDAR, which has been built into the iPhone 12 Pro.

It features a New Year’s countdown, which explodes into confetti. The LiDAR scanner (which stands for 'light detection and ranging') is used to gather information of the environment so that the confetti can then realistically fall onto objects just like real life, so the glitter falls onto the couch, the floor and the person within the frame. 

This will eventually facilitate the creation of new AR tools which can better interact and respond to real-world cues and objects. Snapchat has already announced that it will be looking to incorporate LiDAR enabled effects into its Lens Studio.