Instagram is rolling out some big changes — we look at what’s in store, and how their parent company Facebook may plan to monetise the updates.
Instagram is making changes to its app by adding shortcuts to link to external web addresses and share with other people in its Stories. This tweak to Instagram is one of many changes to be rolled out this year with a new focus on TikTok like Reels and the introduction of shopping tools.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook also wants to overhaul how you share content on the popular Stories feature, which shows an ephemeral slideshow of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. This update will be a huge boost to users with a small profile if it’s rolled out more widely. To share links on Instagram Stories you must have over 10,000 followers or have a verified account. This gives you the ‘swipe up’ function letting you link a website or promote a product.
Instagram wants to give the power back to people by testing a new ‘link’ sticker which could let anyone add links to their Stories. It will work the same way a ‘swipe up’ link does but can be placed anywhere on the image. Anyone will be able to reply to the Story containing the link which is something that currently you can not do.
If this feature however leads to too much spam or fake news then Instagram will switch it off again.
Their second update might have already landed in your app. At the moment it’s common for users to share other people’s Feed posts on their own Story. According to Instagram this is a bit annoying for other users so it’s making the process a little bit more complicated. Instead of pressing the ‘share’ button you’ll have to open a new Story and select ‘stickers’. Buried among the option to add location hashtags or polls you find the ‘reshare’ option.
Selecting this option will bring up a list of posts you have recently viewed. There are also options to see your saved posts and you own Feed posts. Select any of these to add the image and link to your Story. The company hopes it will encourage users to get more creative.
Their final update that we are highlighting today is the launching of ads on the Shop tab. This allows brands to showcase their products to social media users who are already in the mood to browse. Ads will appear as tiles on the Shop tab homepage enabling browsers to click on the ad and be brought directly product details where potential purchasers can read up on the item and browse additional products from the brand.
If you don’t want to purchase right there and then Instagram has also provided a handy feature to save the product on a personal wishlist or share it with your friends. This International roll out will encompass all countries where Instagram Shop is already in operation.
This marks the latest stage in Facebook’s ongoing commercialisation strategy to monetise every corner of its social media empire with adverts already on Reels, Stories, Sticker ads as well as individual feeds, the Explore tab and suggested posts.
Partner brands including Fenty Beauty have already started pre release testing for the new format which can include either a single image or a carousel in categories such as travel beauty and interior design.
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