Instagram appears to be working on a couple of different experiments aimed at boosting interaction in the app, and tapping into the rise of NFTs, or digital products, in-stream.
First off, Instagram is experimenting with a new Stories option called 'fan club' stories, which would enable users to post exclusive Stories content that can only be viewed by members of a fan club or approved group.
As you can see in this example, shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, fan club Stories would only be viewable by group members, while users would not be able to take screenshots of these exclusive Stories posts.
That would add another option to the current Instagram Stories options. Right now, you can set your entire profile to 'Private', so that only your followers can see your Stories, or you can create a 'Close Friends' list for more intimate Stories sharing, as opposed to sharing publicly. This new option would add in another category, which appears to be aligned with Instagram's broader push to add more tools for creators to monetize their on-platform efforts, with paying members likely added to the fan club list, where you could then share exclusive content,
We don't have a lot to go on at this stage, but going on Paluzzi's previous discoveries, we'll likely get more info from Instagram in the next month or so.
In addition to this, Paluzzi has also discovered a new 'Collectibles' options in testing.
As noted, the option seems to link into the current NFT craze, and would seemingly enable Instagram users to bid on digital items in-stream.
ℹ️ Posts with collectibles will have the "Collectible" label. pic.twitter.com/imbwGmtx1a— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) June 21, 2021
Again, we don't have much to go on at this stage, so it's largely speculation, but it appears to be a new way to encourage digital art purchases by facilitating a means to showcase them on Instagram, with the Collectibles tag added to Stories when shared.
That could spark new engagement and purchase behaviors in the app, and again, help digital creators make more money from their work by enabling them to showcase such auctions to Instagram's billion-plus users.
In that context, it makes perfect sense, and with the platform looking to encourage more buying behavior in app, it may be another way to prompt people to spend, and share digital artworks in-stream.
We've asked Instagram for more info on both options and we'll update this post if/when we hear back.