After it was first spotted in testing back in May, Instagram has this week officially launched its new 'Join Chat' sticker for Stories, which, when tapped, will connect Stories viewers into a private discussion.
Introducing the new chat sticker in Stories. Now, there's an easy way to start conversations with a group of friends right from your story. pic.twitter.com/A1An7d9TjJ— Instagram (@instagram) July 2, 2019
As you can see in the example video, tapping on the new 'Join Chat' sticker in a Story will notify the creator that a viewer has asked to join the chat, giving them the option to approve them as a chat contributor and bring them into the discussion. And given the overall rise in messaging use across various social apps, it makes sense for Instagram to look to facilitate the same, porting more engagement and interaction into Direct, as opposed to seeing users switch to other networks - like, say, Snapchat - to hold more intimate discussion.
Indeed, Snapchat is also reportedly working on its own version of a group chat sticker, aligning with the exact same use case.
Again, the overall trends towards more private sharing point to this being a key opportunity, and both Instagram and Snapchat have the capacity to capitalize on the same, if they can better prompt users to engage via messaging within their respective apps.
And definitely, Instagram should be looking to put increased emphasis on messaging. More than half of the app's billion users now also use Instagram Direct, while Direct has also proven to be a strong driver of engagement and connection on the platform, with around 85% of the messages shared on Instagram distributed among the same three friends, as opposed to broader groups. Facilitating connection with your closest friends is a clear way to make your app an essential interactive tool, a connective utility which users can rely on to stay informed of the key happenings and events in their world.
If Instagram can further boost this element, that can only be a bonus, which makes this a logical, sensible addition, aligning with the trends in both Stories and messaging.
And for brands, it could provide another way to build stronger community connection, and bring your biggest advocates closer, by sharing exclusive content and/or seeking consultation.
That could be particularly helpful on Instagram, given the power of influencer marketing on the platform - if you can build stronger connection with your top followers, that could give your brand building efforts a significant boost.
A more intimate discussion option could help on this front, providing another way to establish exclusivity, and deepen bonds with passionate users.
The new 'Join Chat' sticker is being launched in all regions this week.