Instagram is getting a slew of product updates

Instagram will receive several new features and a product change over the coming months. Broadly, the changes are aimed at encouraging Instagram users to post more often and browse content for longer periods of time.

Achieving these objectives would keep Instagram competitive with its social rivals and convince some of its 2 million monthly advertisers to spend more heavily on the platform.

Below is a closer look at Instagram’s key product updates and why they could help the company shore up against its social competitors:

The ability for third-party apps like Spotify to post directly to Instagram Stories.

Spotify users are now able to click a button in the app to share a sticker on Instagram Stories of the song they’re listening to, for example. The Spotify integration is live, with other third-party app partnerships coming at a later date. Third-party integrations will likely help boost the number of Stories created, as they eliminate the friction associated with posting certain content to Stories. Instagram’s not alone in pushing users to post more content — Twitter is reportedly developing a tool that simplifies the video-posting process, for example.

A new video calling feature that facilitates one-on-one or group chats.

Users will be able to access this feature by tapping on a new camera icon in their direct messaging threads. Users can also minimize video calls on their screens to browse while chatting with friends. Instagram is currently testing the feature and will roll it out globally “soon.” With this move, Instagram is playing catch-up to its social rival Snapchat, which released a video chat feature — that lets up to 16 people video chat at once — in April.

A redesigned Explore page that groups content into scrollable categories.

The new tab, which will roll out over the coming weeks, will feature a horizontal scrollable carousel of buttons sorted by themes, like animals and architecture. Users can click into these categories to browse more of the content. Prior to the update, content sorted by categories wasn’t as closely grouped together in the Explore tab, implying the update will likely help save users time in scrolling through Explore to find content they’re interested in. This could allow Instagram to capitalize on Snapchat’s major app redesign, which some users have complained has somewhat hurt discoverability in the app.

Source: businessinsider.com; 3 May 2018

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