Instagram's been on a feature-adding roll this year, unveiling (or leaking) new features nearly every month. For instance, this summer we saw the social network add interactive stickers to Stories, its own group video chat platform, and even usage statistics to the mobile app.
And last week, we learned that Instagram is testing even more awesome features.
In this article, we'll walk you through each of the new features that Instagram's testing. Stay ahead of the curve and keep these in mind as you plan your late-2018 and early-2019 Instagram strategy.
Further, we'll also show you two new features that Instagram officially launched last week. These features are mostly consumer-focused, but give us good insight into where Instagram is taking the social network in the new year.
Let's get started!
A new quiz sticker is in-development
Instagram is testing a ‘Quiz’ sticker for Stories!— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) September 20, 2018
Unlike question or poll sticker, the Quiz sticker lets your story viewer know if they got the correct answer to your question.
h/t @WABetaInfo pic.twitter.com/a7WLAdNZis
Earlier in the summer, Instagram added an "ask me anything" sticker to Stories. This sticker lets you add an "ask me anything" button to your Stories posts with a question of your choice. Your audience can tap on the sticker and type an answer to your question, and it's sent to your Instagram inbox.
According to a leak from WABetaInfo, Instagram is now testing a quiz sticker for Stories. Like the ask me anything sticker, you'll soon be able to add questions to your Instagram Story. However, your followers will be able to pick from a list of answers that you set.
The quiz sticker will be huge for brands. Instagram is giving your brand yet another awesome way to interact with your audience. Some ways you can use this include opinion polls, surveys, and just-for-fun questions.
The quiz sticker is still in development, so we'll update you once it goes live in the mobile app.
And so are location-restricted posts and Stories
Instagram is testing geofencing posts and stories.— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 20, 2018
It allows creators to limit the specific countries where their content will be visible. pic.twitter.com/rRE24BPnkj
Additionally, Instagram leaker Jane Manchun Wong made an interesting discovery in Instagram's code: it's adding location-restricted Stories. According to Wong's tweet, you will soon be able to limit your posts and Stories to a specific country of your choosing.
This opens up a huge new playing field for Instagram marketers. Soon, you will be able to make different Stories and posts for each of the countries where your brand is active. Then, you'll be able to make local ads for each country, so you can share local promotions and other content.
We hope to see Instagram introduce even more localized features in the future. For example, being able to limit Stories and posts by city, ZIP code, or State would be a welcome addition for brands with a presence in multiple cities.
Instagram adds GIFs to direct messaging
Introducing GIFs in Instagram Direct. Message your friends with the perfect GIF or send a random one if you like surprises. Happy DMing! pic.twitter.com/uKocwLaQ68— Instagram (@instagram) September 20, 2018
It was only a matter of time, but Instagram brought GIFs to direct messages last week. A small gif icon is now located to the left of the photo button in the direct message screen. When you click this button, you can search through Giphy's massive inventory of gifs. Just tap on one to send it to a friend.
While this doesn't have a direct impact on marketers, it does show Instagram's commitment to making Instagram messaging the way for millennials to communicate—both publicly and privately.
And with more private sharing comes increased "dark social" sharing. In short, "dark social" means all social media shares that happen privately, like sending a link to a YouTube video to a friend over email or using Instagram direct messages.
Here's how your company can track dark social shares.
Video tagging officially released
It's here! Now you can tag your friends in the videos you share to feed. pic.twitter.com/NdZ2hLycmz— Instagram (@instagram) September 19, 2018
Last but not least, Instagram publicly released video tagging. This feature works the same as photo tagging: once you've uploaded a video to Instagram, click the tag people button in the caption screen and tag friends that appeared in the video.
It's good to see Instagram finally add this feature to videos. And unlike GIF messages, this feature actually has an impact on brands and how they use Instagram video. For example, Instagram influencers working on branded projects can finally tag partnered brands directly in the video.
Video tagging can also be an effective way to alert fans of new videos as tagged users are immediately notified. However, we don't recommend that you do this often. If you overdo it, your account may look spammy to your audience and raise eyebrows from Instagram's moderation team.
Now, plan your Instagram strategy!
And that's a wrap! Now we want to hear from you: what do you think about Instagram's new features? Will they affect your Instagram strategy next year? Let us know on Twitter.
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