Instagram remained active as ever in May, rolling out updates and new features across its platform. Feeling overwhelmed? I’ve got you – here’s everything you may have missed this month!
Fullscreen Video as Home
While they say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Instagram might be taking it too far. In yet another attempt to challenge TikTok’s monopoly over the Reels format, Instagram is copying TikTok’s home screen.
In a trial with a select user sample, the social media platform’s experimenting with a feature where users will see full-screen vertical videos immediately when they open the app. Meta claims that this is for a more immersive experience on the platform, with a greater emphasis on videos — which has been a focus area for Meta recently.
Honestly though, I think it’s another FOMO reaction by the behemoth platform. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year’s time it’s announced that Meta’s purchased TikTok because frankly, it’s a more logical course of action instead of constantly releasing new features to copy TikTok.
‘Get Quote’ Feature
On May 4, Instagram began testing the waters with a ‘Get Quote’ feature with select businesses.
The aim is to streamline the process of acquiring quotes from businesses by allowing them to create a questionnaire for users to answer prior to starting a conversation. After the potential customer answers the questionnaire, the business can reach out and provide an estimated price for the service.
These select businesses will be able to place a ‘Get Quote’ button on both their Instagram profile page and on their Stories through a custom sticker.
NFTs Move to Instagram
That’s right: on May 10, Instagram began rolling out a new feature called ‘Digital Collectibles’ which uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to a small group of US users. These Digital Collectibles include art, images, videos, music, and trading cards, and they give users the ability to display NFTs on their feed, story, and messages.
They will function very similarly to tagged profiles and products, displaying both the NFT’s creator and owner once clicked on. Ethereum and Polygon blockchains will be initially supported, with plans for Solana and Flow in the near future.
This move by Instagram fits into Meta’s larger goal of incorporating NFTs onto their platforms. Their action, however, escalates tensions between Web3/NFTs and Meta. A decentralized internet is key to the former’s vision, which many see as incompatible with Meta’s highly centralized platforms.
Story Mentions Updates
Yes, Instagram is revealing yet another set of changes to its Stories feature, which can be summarized with these three updates:
First, you’ll now be able to edit and mention accounts to Stories even after the Story is posted. This gives users greater control over how they present their content.
Second, Story mentions will no longer be shown to the public; instead, only the mentioned accounts will receive a notification.
Lastly, you’ll now be able to add up to twenty mentions in one story — which is an upgrade from the previous maximum of ten.
Meta is continuing to rev up its attempts to dethrone TikTok with its latest update to Reels, Instagram’s TikTok clone.
Released on May 12, Reel Templates will feature yet another feature taken directly from TikTok, providing users with times that would go along with a song or other prominent trends. Users are then able to plug in their own videos to easily match the audio.
By making Reels easier than ever to produce, Instagram continues to show its potential to overtake TikTok.
Collapsed Stories Trial
Five days later, Instagram announced that it’s testing a new concept for how stories are viewed. A small sample of users received an update in which stories auto-collapsed to three slides, with the option to expand for viewing the entire thread.
This feature received an incredibly negative reception on Twitter, however, with concerns that it will disrupt how users will be able to transmit information on their stories.
There you go! I’m sure more Instagram news will be coming out soon if this year is any indication so far. Don’t worry though – I’ll keep you updated so you can use the platform as effectively as possible.