Instagram has seen a number of huge updates and developments this year, with a few controversial ones along the way! Here I’ve listed 7 which in my opinion were the most exciting.

1. Instagram business profiles

A notable update on Instagram was the addition of business profiles. Now businesses across the world can have professional business profiles that are easily distinguishable against the personal profile design.

The benefits include a Contact button, which will help audiences easily get in touch with you through your business account. In addition, you now have access to an Insights tool to find out what content is working for you and boost your posts. Instagram is now being used by 48.8% of brands and this is expected to rise to 70.7% by 2017 (read more stats here).

2. New logo and redesign

In May, Instagram updated its brand with a modern twist and a bright new colour palette. People were unsure at first, with some calling it a ‘travesty’. Now that the dust has settled, comparing it to the old, brown branding, all I can say is that it’s a vast improvement in my eyes!

3. New algorithm feed

The first of my two controversial updates from Instagram in 2016; the algorithm update. People were extremely against this update, and even celebs were taking to the platform to share their distaste at the news of what Instagram was up to. If you don’t know what I mean, let me clue you in.

Back in the day when you were scrolling through your feed, it would be in chronological order – so if someone had posted a photo 10 minutes ago and another 1 hour before, the newest post would show first. This is no longer the case. Instagram now decides what to show you in what order, but how do they decide? They look at your likes, interactions and searches to see what they think you’d like to see. Personally, I’m still not keen.

4. Manage multiple accounts

For me, this was a great update. Having the ability to be logged into more than 1 account at a time was a God send. I have my own personal profile and manage a couple of business accounts, having to log in and out of each was a tedious task! Now, you press your username at the top and hey presto!

5. Instagram stories

Yes, this is the second controversial update from Instagram (I even wrote an article comparing it to Snapchat back in August). To be frank, it did look like Instagram carbon copied Snapchat and popped it at the top of our Instagram feeds. There were a couple of interesting differences, including when you press down on a photo it pauses the story and when you click on the left side of your screen it goes back. Looking into it further, I think Instagram Stories have benefited businesses and celebrities the most – mainly because you don’t need to follow an account to see their story (as long as their profile is public), so people can get an insight into businesses and lives when visiting their profiles before following them.

6. Introducing ‘Save’

My final two points are the most recent updates from Instagram. To begin with, there is now a private area on your profile where you can save images and videos from your news or explore feed (you don’t even need to be following an account to save their images or videos). This private space is aptly named Save and as you can take from my overview here, it reasonably similar to Pinterest’s own pinning feature.

7. Liking comments

Last but not least, you can now like comments on your posts. This is a great way to stay active on Instagram and interact with your followers, especially if you get a lot of comments that you can’t reply to! It’s in keeping with Instagram’s branding, with a little pink heart popping up when you like a comment (much like Facebook).

It’s been a busy year for Instagram to say the least, and with around 500 million active accounts across the globe I’m sure 2017 will bring lots of exciting updates for the social media platform. Stay tuned!