#SocialThrowback2020: A scroll through key Instagram updates in 2020

Instagram 2020

From Reels being launched in India to the integration with Messenger, here’s a roundup of all things that happened in the world of Instagram in 2020.

Instagram releases multiple major updates and features every year, changing the way people use the platform and in sync with the demands of users, businesses and the social media ecosystem. The platform, which completed a decade this year, started with being just a photo and video sharing app. Over time, it has evolved into a space that facilitates content creation and boosts creativity. It continued to evolve through 2020 while fighting off the ill-effects of COVID-19. Read on to learn more.

Reels enter India

A video format that offers a new way to create and share 15-second videos on Instagram, Reels was a top feature introduced by Instagram in India in 2020. These videos can be multi-clip, made with different effects, audio and creative tools. Soon after the launch of Reels, Instagram updated the feature by creating a separate tab for it, releasing new creatives, extending the recording timer and increasing the duration of the videos to 30 seconds.

Integration with messenger

Facebook took a big step and integrated its messaging platforms, Messenger and Instagram in 2020. Users on Instagram can find people with Facebook accounts and then text them on Instagram. They also get the option to choose either apps for chatting or video calling their friends. This integration brought in many new features for Instagram, like replying to a specific message, forwarding a message, customisable chat colour, themes, vanish mode and selfie stickers. 

Dealing with COVID-19

To spread the message of social distancing and highlight the importance of staying home during the pandemic, Instagram had launched a sticker, Stay Home. Individuals Stories with the sticker were featured on a shared Story, giving people a sense of collective comfort in knowing they aren’t alone even when they are stuck at home.

Instagram had also released several updates to help users access credible information on the platform. This included prompts that would redirect users to the WHO website when they searched for COVID-19 related terms on the platform. Misleading information, especially in the form of advertisements, was analysed by their fact-checkers.

Instagram for Small Businesses

Instagram introduced Shops for businesses who were facing challenges in selling their products during the pandemic-induced lockdown. The feature enabled businesses in driving product discovery and give a new shopping experience to their consumers. 

The platform also rolled out a food delivery sticker in an effort. Restaurants could share Instagram’s new food order sticker on their Stories, and people could tap on it to place their orders, via the food delivery website.

Live Videos

To amp up the experience of watching a live stream on Instagram, the platform allowed users to watch Instagram Live videos on a desktop. Instagram Live Rooms feature was launched in India, keeping content creators in mind. The feature enabled users to go live with multiple guests, expanding their reach. Adding up to three people in a live session helped in facilitating a greater audience and get better engagement.

Keyword Search and Guides

Keyword search was launched by Instagram to resolve the chaos created by irrelevant hashtags for engagement. Many posts have a number of hashtags that are not relevant and thus confuse the users. With Keywords, Instagram made it easier for users to discover the content that they were looking for. Instagram also launched Guides in 2020, allowing users and creators to share curated, scrollable content.

Instagram 2020

Here’s a quick look at a month-wise update on Instagram:

January 2020

  • Testing: Payment options within app UI
  • Instagram User Growth declines
  • Layout for Stories, New Boomerang features, Updated tools for brands launched
  • IGTV button removed from the home feed

February 2020

  • Testing: Monetisation tools for IGTV
  • New Instagram section in announced – Latest Posts
  • Instagram launches tools as part of Safer Internet Day initiative
  • Unlabel India launched to promote a safer internet
  • Testing: Trimming tool for Instagram Stories
  • Instagram start suggesting accounts users can unfollow
  • Platform Updates: DMs for desktop & Story sharing

March 2020

  • Testing: Gift Cards & Donation feature for business accounts, Ads with creators in IGTV, ‘Video Reaction’ option for IGTV
  • Co-Watching is introduced for Instagram users
  • Stay Home sticker is launched

April 2020

  • Live Donations to support causes feature is introduced
  • Challenges sticker & Stay Home AR collection are launched 
  • Testing: New features for Instagram Live
  • IGTV app revamped, Discover tab added
  • Now watch Instagram Live, send DMs on Desktop
  • COVID-19: Thank You Hour & Dhanyavad stickers are introduced

May 2020

  • New AR Tools for creators added: Effect Gallery, Effect Stories, AR Stickers Templates, Gallery Picker, Media Library, AR Music
  • Badges in Live, Ads in IGTV are introduced 
  • COVID-19: Guides to find information and inspiration is launched
  • Instagram Stories: Testing new navigation, New Fonts are added

June 2020

  • Instagram Shopping expanded to more types of businesses & creators
  • New features & a well-being guide for Pride month is launched
  • Testing: Suggested Tab in Instagram Home Feed
  • Instagram food order discovery sticker is introduced to help restaurants

July 2020

  • Personal fundraisers feature is introduced
  • Reels are rolled out in India
  • Testing: All Instagram Stories to feature on one page

August 2020

  • Instagram Shops Updates: Live Shopping, Checkout On Instagram
  • Testing: Messaging on Instagram Shops
  • Instagram enables Instagram Ads without a Facebook Ad Account
  • Instagram to ask users for ID proof in case of patterns of potential inauthentic behaviour

September 2020

  • Updates are introduced for Reels
  • Instagram considers rolling out clickable links for captions
  • Instagram head shares updates on equity work: New equity team, Harassment and hate, Verification
  • Separate tab for Reels is launched in India

October 2020

  • New updates for Live videos are introduced
  • Instagram integration with Messenger is rolled out in India
  • Features and AR filters are launched for Durga Pujo 2020
  • Messenger API support for Instagram businesses is introduced
  • Instagram announces intent to crack down on influencers engaging in hidden advertising
  • Love Runs Deep: Instagram launches its first campaign aimed at marketers
  • Testing: New updates for Instagram Threads
  • New anti-bullying features are launched

November 2020

  • Platform updates: Branded Content Tags, New Creation Flow
  • Keyword Search is introduced and Guides are expanded
  • AR effect and IGTV shows with creators are launched for Diwali

December 2020

  • Updates launched for Giving Tuesday: Shared Story, Fundraisers
  • Feature to help go Live with up to three users is launched 

Instagram amped up its game by launching Reels in 2020 and providing its users with a whole new way of sharing content. Only time can tell what more intriguing features the platform plans to roll out in the coming year.


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