According to the Marketing AI Institute, artificial intelligence is “the science of making machines smart.” By now, most people vaguely know what AI is. But few know how it actually works, and even tech savvy marketers and business owners don’t always know how to employ it. In this blog, we’ll explore AI for Instagram and all the ways the two intertwine to make content creation as easy as possible.

AI instagram

Table of Contents

Instagram and AI

You probably don’t realize it while you’re scrolling Instagram, but many of the platform’s basic features are powered by AI. Core features like content recommendations, which we’ve all gotten used to, are made possible by AI.

Whatever shows up in your reels, explore tab, or at the top of your newsfeed is dictated by AI algorithms. The better you understand Instagram AI features, the more social media savvy you can be. And if you’re running a business or marketing one, it’s even more crucial that you pay attention to IG updates and new features.

Instagram’s AI Features

AI Backdrop

instagram ai backdrop
AI can generate whatever background you think of

One of Instagram’s newest additions to the platform is AI backdrop. It’s a convenient tool that allows you to change the background of a photo without messing up the foreground. 

Here’s how to use Instagram’s AI backdrop:

  1. Select a photo to post to your story
  2. Tap the first icon of an image with a + sign along the top of the screen
  3. Instagram will automatically remove the background of the image
  4. Click next. Then you’ll be prompted to describe the type of background you want
  5. Once selected, the subject of the photo will be shown with the bg chosen
  6. You can hit refresh in the bottom left corner if you don’t like what AI generate
  7. Then hit next once you’re ready to share or save the image

This feature really comes in handy when the background of your image is confusing, chaotic, or simply inappropriate for the vibe you’re going for.

Automatic Alt Text

instagram alt text

Have you ever wondered how Instagram makes its platform more inclusive for people with visual impairments? One way is through a feature called Automatic Alt Text.

Alt text is basically a short description of what’s in an image. Think of it as a way for people who can’t see the picture to still understand what it’s about. So when you upload a photo to Instagram, AI kicks in. It “looks” at your image and determines what it is. It identifies objects, people, scenes, even text. Based on this analysis, it generates a brief, descriptive alt text. This gets attached to the image as metadata. So, when someone who’s visually impaired comes across your image, a screen reader can read out the alt text description.

But here’s the best part: you’re not stuck with whatever Instagram’s AI comes up with. You can edit the alt text if you feel like it needs more context. This can help your SEO efforts and get your image seen by people who would be interested in it. Alt text makes IG more accessible and it helps creators with SEO – a win-win.

AR Filters

Everyone knows Instagram filters, like the infamous dog ears or the one that makes it look like you’re in space. But it turns out, AR (Augmented Reality) filters can help you make scroll-stopping ads too.

For brands looking to spice up their Instagram ads, AR filters can get people interacting with your brand in a playful way. Businesses can create branded filters (cheesy example: adding sunglasses to your logo with your brand colors as the backdrop). Create a relatable filter and you can even get others using it. This is how AR filters can foster engagement and brand recognition.

You can create an engaging game via a filter or showcase a new product line for people to interact with. Team up with a few reputable influencers, and your AR filters can get even more traction. You can then check your metrics to see how many people are using the filter, how long they’re engaging with it, and even whether it’s driving conversions. This way, you can tweak your strategy and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

AI Labeling

instagram's ai labeling
an example of what AI disclosure would look like

Generative AI’s popularity is growing, and transparency has become a huge concern. Fortunately, Instagram is taking the lead in labeling AI-generated content, letting users know when an image was created using AI tools. This is one of Instagram’s newest features, announced in early 2024.

There’s not much to know about this feature, other than the fact that it will protect content creators so that false information isn’t shared. According to Meta, they will be “putting visible markers that you can see on [AI] images, and both invisible watermarks and metadata embedded within image files.” Safeguards like this will likely become necessary as AI image generators become ubiquitous.

AI Generated Stickers

In 2023, Instagram launched its most adorable feature yet: AI stickers.

how to make ai stickers instagram
custom stickers are stored in your Instagram account

Here’s how to create a custom sticker: 

  1. Open Instagram and click “Your story” in the top left corner
  2. Choose any image (you don’t need to post it)
  3. In the top right corner, tap the square smiley face sticker icon
  4. Then click “cutouts”
  5. Select what image you want to cut into a sticker
  6. Then wait for AI…

For this feature to work well, the image should be in the foreground so AI can clearly know what to cut out. If it doesn’t work, you can tap “select manually” to try on your own. Or tap “use sticker” if AI captured the right subject.

The next time you go to post an Instagram story, all of your cutout stickers will be displayed so you can use them again and again. 

Brands can use AI stickers in a number of creative ways on Instagram. For example, you can grab reusable sales and discount stickers to jazz up posts. You can have a sticker of your logo and add it to branded posts. 

AI Message Summaries

For brands that use Instagram direct messaging to communicate with potential customers, AI message summaries could be useful. This is another new feature Instagram is rolling out that gives users a quick recap of what has been said in conversations. So if a conversation has taken place over several days or longer, you can use AI summaries to jog your memory of what has been said. The feature was being tested as of the summer of 2023 and will likely be available in the near future.

An AI-Powered Social Media Strategy

instagram ai graphic of phone screens

More and more, brands are looking for ways to fuse AI with their creative workflows, and that includes social media. Some examples of tools being used include:

  1. Hootsuite: Hootsuite’s AI-powered analytics provides insights into audience demographics, engagement patterns, and optimal posting times.
  2. Brandwatch Consumer Research: This tool uses AI to analyze social media conversations, including those on Instagram, to understand trends, sentiment, and competitor strategies.
  3. Sprout Social: With AI-driven social listening capabilities, Sprout Social monitors Instagram and other platforms for mentions of your brand, industry trends, and relevant keywords.
  4. Tailwind: Tailwind’s AI-powered scheduling and content optimization features analyze your Instagram post performance to recommend the best times to post and the most engaging content types for your audience.

Penji is a graphic design company that harnesses the power of AI to streamline processes and enhance creativity. We help modern brands to achieve more with less legwork, offering solutions to streamline advertising, content creation, branding, and of course, design. By integrating AI-driven tools, you can get high-quality visuals in less time for any project you’re working on.

In the future, brands will need to adapt to trends rapidly and maintain a consistent brand image across platforms like Instagram. With AI as their ally, brands can unlock new levels of efficiency and creativity in their marketing endeavors.