Instagram has unveiled some new Stories features that are designed to compete with Vine and Snapchat’s brief-but-entertaining video platforms. While Vine may have gone the way of the dodo, Snapchat has rebranded itself as a camera company and doesn’t plan on going anywhere but up. This puts the pressure on Instagram to attract more brands and influencers, which it seems to be doing just fine.
The first addition to Instagram Stories is Boomerang mode. This new tool allows creators to snap a burst of photos that are strung together to create a short video playing forward and backward. This option makes Stories a bit more animated and opens the door to creativity—leaving a lasting impression before that video expires.
Mentions is an obvious choice for users and brands, allowing anyone to tag another Instagram account using text enhancements. The tagged account will appear prominently underlined on the image and tapping the name will take a user to that profile. While fun for friends and family, the implications for influencers and brands are obvious. While tagging is already an option, Mentions puts that account front and center for everyone to see.
Lastly, Instagram is giving extra incentive for users to become verified with its “see more” feature. This option has rolled out as a test and can already be seen at the bottom of a few verified accounts like Bustle and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. As implied by the name, the words “see more” or variation will appear over a posted image, inviting users to check out a link to whatever you want them to see. The call to action can be tapped or users can swipe up over the image to view the link without ever leaving the app.
While it’s unclear how a business partner will be able to measure traffic arising from influencer mentions, “see more” would benefit from a vanity URL to test its effectiveness. These new features are good news for influencers who have made the move from Snapchat and Vine to grow their audience among the 400-million-plus users on Instagram. Brands and influencers alike are taking advantage of Instagram’s attractive features like more privacy options, searches, pausing and the ability to view a Story without following the poster.
The site may soon be adding live video to its offerings, according to Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom. “Live is really exciting for us, Systrom told The Financial Times. “I think it can enhance what we’re doing.”