With messaging becoming a bigger part of the Instagram experience, the Meta-owned app has today announced a raft of messaging upgrades, including quick sharing, music previews, new chat themes and more.
First off, Instagram’s adding a new ‘reply while you browse’ option, which will enable users to reply to a message in-stream, without having to tap through to their DM inbox.
You can see this new option in the first frame above, with an incoming DM appearing in a new drop-down panel, and the user then able to reply, then and there, without having to tap through to their Direct inbox.
As you can see in the second image, Instagram’s also adding a new quick send option, which will highlight your closest friends when you tap and hold the share button on a post, again making it easier to send a DM without disrupting your browsing experience.
And as per the last frame, Instagram’s also adding new online indicators in your DM panel.
“At the top of your inbox, you can see who’s free to chat at that moment, helping you find serendipitous opportunities to connect with friends.”
That could be a good way to encourage more engagement in the app, which could get more people sending more Direct DMs.
Instagram’s also adding new chat themes, along with its expanded messaging control options (@silent) and polls within your group chats.
The new @silent control was announced on Messenger earlier this week, along with a range of other shortcuts that you can use to activate various Messenger features. Only the @silent operator has made its way across to Instagram as yet (and only in the US, due to EU privacy restrictions), but it does seem that, eventually, more of these shortcut controls will make their way across to Meta’s other messaging apps.
And as you can see in the last frame above, Instagram’s also adding new music sharing in your DMs.
“Enabled by integrations with Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify coming soon, you can now share a 30-second preview of that song you just can’t get out of your head, and your friends can listen directly from the chat window.”
That could be a handy way to share the latest tracks with friends, and with music discovery becoming a bigger element within the social media experience (led by TikTok), it could help Instagram integrate more music engagement in the app.
Some of these features have been in testing at different times, so you may have seen them in the app previously. But now, they’ll be made available to all users (pending EU restrictions), which will provide a range of new considerations for Direct usage in the app.
As noted, DM usage has become a staple of Instagram engagement for many, and with messaging, in general, becoming a more prominent usage option, it makes sense for IG to lean into such trends, and facilitate more Direct engagement.
Eventually, as per Meta’s grand messaging integration plan, all of these features will also be integrated with WhatsApp and Messenger too, enabling you to send messages to any of your contacts in each app, and bringing many of these same functionalities to Meta’s other messaging platforms.
As such, every messaging upgrade in any Meta-owned app should be viewed as a precursor for that next stage, when messaging is enabled on a broader, more inclusive scale, providing more capacity to connect and engage, in a wider range of ways.