This is an interesting one - Instagram looks to be rolling out a new option which would enable users to share a direct link back to an Instagram Story, providing a new way to boost Stories awareness and engagement.
Spotted by user Lindsey Gamble, the new option looks to provide a separate URL for an Instagram Story - either your own or someone else's.
The addition could be a big bonus for brands who are looking to maximize their investment in Stories creation. Part of what's initially caused some businesses to hold off on going all-in on Stories is the ephemeral nature of the option, with that content you've worked hard to create - and/or paid good money for - disappearing after 24 hours. The addition of Stories Archive and Highlights in late 2017 changed this, while more recently, Instagram's also been looking to add in more ways to help brands raise awareness of their on-platform content, including Nametag Codes and simplified Stories cross-posting to Facebook.
The ability to share your Stories via a separate link was actually rolled out on Snapchat early last year, though limited to only certain Stories. Given that, it's actually surprising Instagram has taken so long to catch up - they normally replicate Snapchat's features at a much faster clip.
In addition to this, Instagram's also giving more users access to its Promote option for Stories.
The Promote tool, available via the 'More' menu at the bottom right of your Stories frame, enables users to either drive traffic to their website, to their Instagram profile or to prompt viewers to send them a message via their Direct inbox.
Given parent company Facebook's broader emphasis on Stories, it makes sense for Instagram to be rolling out these tools, and both could have significant implications for brands looking to make best use of the option.
The capacity to drive traffic back to your Stories via other social networks - or even via your website or e-mail newsletter - could be hugely beneficial for brand use, while Stories promotion could also provide another avenue to boost interest in your content, even if, initially, some users might be a little surprised by Stories content from profiles they don't follow appearing in their feed.