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Instagram just became a bigger deal for professional sports teams

Instagram has just published an update to its app - one which professional sports teams are sure to find of interest.

If you login to Instagram on your mobile, you’ll now see a revised layout to the app. The primary menu bar at the bottom of the screen now includes dedicated tabs for Reels and shopping, while notifications have been repositioned to the top right-hand corner.

The revised menu bar is a small, but significant change for brands and creators.

For a start it provides a specific space for Reels, Instagram’s take on TikTok - a Chinese app which has become a global success among 13-24-year-olds. Reels has only been released a couple of months but has already made leways into taking a slice of TikTok’s market.

A recent study on NBA’s teams showed that 20 of the 30 franchise teams were using Reels daily, with posted content receiving 22% higher engagement on average compared to that of a standard newsfeed post.

The new Reels tab is only going to further improve those engagement rates, making it easier for users to discover short, fun videos for creators all over the world.

For British sports teams, this change should cement Reels into their content strategies, similar to how ‘stories’ became an integral communication form over the past couple of years. The ‘big’ football clubs such as Manchester City and Liverpool have already begun publishing Reels content, but with this update, professional teams in lower leagues should also start considering how to produce regular Reels content.

Meanwhile, the addition of the shop tab gives a more prevalent way for retail brands to connect with their customers by improving product discovery from within the app.

Many sports teams will already have Facebook shopping implemented and will have been tagging their products in their posts. The new shopping tab strengthens this capability with the @shop channel.

This is especially relevant as consumer spending habits are being forced online as a result of the global pandemic. Young people are now looking to their favourite brands and creators for recommendations on what to buy online and with Club Shop’s closed, there’s a big gap in the market.

Are you a sports publisher? Let us know on social media how the new layout is affecting your engagement rates on our social channels @niftycomms.

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