The process of recording and sending a voice message is fairly straight-forward - hold down the new microphone icon within the messaging UI and you can record your message, which, when sent, will appear as a wave-form within the chat thread. As reported by TechCrunch, voice messages can be up to a minute long, and remain permanently listenable rather than disappearing. Voice messages will also work in both one-on-one and group chats.
How popular will voice messaging on Instagram be? It's hard to say - voice messaging is already available in WhatsApp and on Facebook's main platform, but there are no stats on actual usage available.
When Facebook launched voice messages as a status update option earlier in the year, a key benefit noted by several analysts was that it would alleviate the requirement to be able to type in different languages, which can sometimes prove more difficult than speaking them, especially if you’re regularly exposed to such within normal conversation.
In Facebook’s case, that likely has specific benefit in India, which was the main testing ground for the option, and where a broad range of different languages and dialects are spoken due to the diverse cultural mix of the region.
While the addition of voice clips is an interesting novelty in western, predominantly English-speaking markets, it may actually have more practical usage benefits in other regions. As such, the option may be more valuable than you likely realize.
In terms of digital marketing, the applications seem fairly limited, though it may add another creative consideration to your messaging efforts. A voice clip might help get more attention - though you would have to have an open messaging thread with the relevant user/s in the first place.
The new option is being rolled out globally on both iOS and Android this week.