While it continues to add new features to Threads, the Instagram team is also building more engagement elements into its main app as well, including a bunch of new stickers that it’s looking to have ready for the upcoming holiday season.
First off, Instagram’s developing a new “App” sticker, which looks to be a way for users to directly promote other apps within their Stories.
As you can see in this example, shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi (who spotted all of these new stickers in testing), the App sticker would provide an easy way to link your viewers through to another app, which could be good for promoting special deals, products, helpful creation tools, etc.
And if it is indeed launched before the holidays, you can bet that various retailers will be looking to get IG influencers to use the sticker to help promote their apps and offers, in the lead-up to big sales events.
It could be one to watch for marketing teams.
Instagram’s also experimenting with a new “Secret” sticker, which would only be visible to those who respond to the Story with a message.
Presumably, that would then enable the creator to decide if they allow each user access to the secret or not, and it could be an interesting way to drive more direct response and engagement.
Instagram’s also trying out another music sharing option with a “Music Pick” sticker, which would enable respondents to share their top tracks of the moment.
So, it’d be like a group mixtape of sorts among your friends, which could be good. But then again, people’s music tastes do vary a lot, even within smaller groups, so maybe not so great for continuous playlists.
These new stickers are in addition to the latest updates that Instagram announced at its “Instagram University” event in New York last week, including audio Notes, close friend groups, and new birthday reminders.
Most of these features lean into more enclosed group sharing, which has become a key trend in IG usage, as users shift away from public posting, in favor of maintaining smaller group chats with friends.
In July last year, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri explained that users now “post a lot more to stories, and send a lot more DMs, than they post to Feed”, which has become a key focus for the app’s development, with the main IG feed now becoming more of a discovery platform, in highlighting the best trending, primarily video content, while the social elements shift out of public sight.
That’s why both Instagram and Facebook now feel a lot different. And while for some users, that’s made each app feel less engaging, for most, it’s seen their overall usage of each platform increase, even with fewer personal updates to check out.
You can expect this to be the main push from IG as we head into the holiday break, when more users will be spending more of their time in apps. If Instagram can add more ways to facilitate expanded engagement, and get people sharing, that could help to keep them in the app, as opposed to drifting off to TikTok instead.