Real-time connection has become a key engagement focus for social platforms. Snapchat’s ‘Snap Map’ shows an approximation of active users, LinkedIn has its ‘Active Status’ icons showing when users are online. Facebook, aside from its existing indicators in both its main app and Messenger, has also been testing out communal video viewing tools which enable users to engage with each other in real-time, and new indicators for when Page admins are active, so you can connect straight away.
The capacity to be able to message someone, and know that they’ll see it immediately, prompts more engagement, which is why the platforms are so keen to add in more ways to fuel that immediate call and response.
And now Instagram’s also getting in on the act.
This week, Instagram has announced a new ‘green dot’ indicator to show when your connections are active.
As explained by Instagram:
“When your friends are active on Instagram, you’ll see a green dot next to their profile picture in various spaces within the app, including the Direct inbox and your friend list when you share a post from feed. You will only see status for friends who follow you or people who you have talked to in Direct. You can easily hide your own status and turn off the ability to see when your friends are active in your settings.”
Instagram’s been working on the option for some time – back in January, some Instagram users noticed its initial stages in testing, with active user notifications listed beneath their DM contacts.
Instagram’s also been working on tools focused on facilitating more intimate discussion and sharing, like ‘Favorites’ lists so you can share posts with only specific friends, and group video calls, which provide more direct, real-time connection.
Active indicators further add to this – and when you also consider that 85% of people’s messages within the app are shared with the same three friends, it makes sense for Instagram to hone in on those smaller audience behaviors to help boost engagement within the app.
As noted by Instagram, you’ll only be able to see the active status of friends who follow you or people who you have talked to in Direct, so it’s not a broad-ranging connection tool
From a business perspective, with the active notifiers extending to those people have communicated with via DM, it may help prompt more engagement with those who you’ve already established a connection with. If people see that a brand is active in their messaging inbox, they may be more likely to get in touch about a new product or offer – through they will also likely expect a quick response.
For brands to use this, you could prompt users to connect via DM so that they can see when you’re active in future, helping them to get a real-time response from your business for ongoing queries. They’ll have to have communicated with you via DM for this to be an option, so you’ll need to spark that initial interaction first.
Overall, it’s a minor, but interesting, prompt which, as noted, will no doubt see more people engaging, knowing that the recipient is available.
Instagram’s active indicators are rolling out from today.