The times they are a-changin’ at Instagram, or at least they’re about to be. Hiding inside the recently refreshed photo sharing app’s code are four unreleased features that a keen-eyed engineer has discovered.
The engineer in question is Elliott Murray, the head of innovation at social media agency Social Chain, who posted about his finds on Medium shortly before emailing us directly to let us know what he found.
Basically, hiding among the many features we already have access to on Instagram were a few boolean variables (we had no idea what they were either, click here to find out) all set to “false” and ready to be turned on by Instagram with a few keystrokes. They were:
(1) can_see_organic_insights, (2) can_convert_to_business, (3) show_insights_terms, and, the most intriguing one of the bunch, (4) can_boost_post.
The can_see_organic_insights and show_insights_terms values very likely have to do with the analytics and insights we told you about a week ago, so it was the other two that really intrigued us, and particularly number 4.
can_convert_to_business, Elliott speculates, will probably have something to do with forcing businesses who currently have regular IG profiles to switch over to the business profiles once they’re live and ready to go.
“You may remember when Facebook started forcing businesses to convert their regular profile accounts to pages,” he writes on Medium. “The fact that this variable says convert suggests Instagram will soon begin encouraging or forcing some pages to migrate over.”
But the biggest reveal is the can_boost_post value, which suggests something that has not been rumored as of yet: Instagram will begin allowing businesses to pay to reach more people in the same way that Facebook does. This is not necessarily good news. As many photographers with large FB followings will tell you, the advent of boosted posts on Facebook has been accompanied (conspicuously) by a big drop in reach. Elliott said much the same thing upon finding the value.
“Worryingly for businesses that have amassed sizable social audiences, is the prospect that this paid method of boosting may become the only way to efficiently reach followers,” he writes, “as many businesses found with their pages on Facebook.”
Of course, a value hidden in the code does not a feature make. We’ll have to wait and see how business profiles really operate before we can pass judgement on Instagram’s upcoming changes. But this sneak peek at what’s to come definitely raised some eyebrows here.
Click here to read Elliott’s full report on Medium.
Image credits: Screenshot via Elliott Murray and used with permission.