Instagram is bringing three new features to the newly introduced Stories, today. This is the single biggest update to Stories since its launch in August. Instagram Stories will now allow creators to add URL links, mention users and convey their story using Boomerang.
Instagram, now owned by Facebook, is in a far better position to compete against Snapchat than its parent company. The new features being rolled out today will allow Instagram to push Stories to more creators and audience. Here's how you can make the best use of the new features:
Instagram will now allow creators to add URL links to their stories, which viewers can tap and instantly be carried to a webpage or blog. When tapped, Instagram will open a browser within its own app, and show content on the URL mentioned by the creator.
Instagram says, there will be a button to add the link after capturing a video or photo in Stories mode. The interesting part here is the way the company places URLs within a story. Instead of a cluttered experience with URL placement, Instagram will add a "See More" button at the bottom with link added to it. Instagram will not show the link by default, and will block inappropriate links.
The option to add links to Stories is only available to verified profiles. The tool will be used by professionals to share their short story on Instagram, along with a link for full story.
Instagram will now allow creators use '@' to tag any other Instagram user in their story. After taking a photo or video story, users can simply tap @, followed by the intended person's Instagram username. The feature is as accessible as typing text. Instagram even automatically populates username suggestions and autocompletes once you tap a profile.
Once tagged, the username will be underlined and tappable in the story. The tag will take users to the profile of person tagged in the photo or video. Instagram will allow creators to tag up to 10 people in their story. Once tagged, users will get a notification in the story of someone they follow. If a user is tagged by someone they don't follow, the notification will show up in their "requests" folder.
The last but most important addition here is Boomerang. We all like GIFs and with Boomerang, Instagram users can create one-second video loops. Now, creators can add these video loops to their Stories.
The new format picker allows creators to select "Boomerang" from the Stories camera. Tapping Boomerang will stitch together a burst of photos into a mini video loop.
Mentions and Boomerang are available to all Instagram users today, while Link is available only to verified profiles. Instagram Stories is already a great platform for showcasing things happening around you, and with the new feature set, it becomes an excellent storytelling platform.