Instagram is rolling out a new feature called ‘Instagram Channels’, which is essentially a group messaging function within the app where you can stay up to date on specific topics, brands, people, etc.
As you can see in these screenshots from Mark Zuckerberg’s most recent IG Story, Instagram Channels is a ‘broadcast chat’, which will support text, images and polls, all within IG Direct.
Once you join a channel, it will be added to your IG Direct chat list. You can then read and react to messages posted in the chat – though you can’t post yourself to the chat feed.
It’s another way for Instagram to lean into the shift towards more private messaging in the app, which is where more Instagram users are now engaging, as opposed to posting to Stories or the main feed.
This is a key area that Meta wants to address. A recent internal report showed that while time spent on Facebook and Instagram is on the rise overall, creation and engagement is declining, with fewer people posting personal updates than they have in the past.
That, as noted, relates to the broader trend of users reverting to messaging instead, as opposed to sharing public updates, and Channels could be another way to feed into this, helping creators and brands engage with their audience in more organic and native ways, as opposed to trying to keep pushing declining feed engagement.
It could be a simple way to align with this usage, and build community in a new way. Channels is in the process of being rolled out to selected users, while as Zuckerberg notes, it will soon also be expanded to Facebook and Messenger as well.
A potentially valuable consideration for your brand-building efforts.
Creators who are interested in Channels can sign up to be considered for early access here.