As Instagram continues to pile pressure onto Snapchat, the Facebook-owned app keeps adding in smaller variations and tools to better differentiate its Stories option.
This week, users have reported a few different options in testing, expanding the possibilities of what you can do within the app.
First off, they’ve added a new text-only Stories option, called ‘Type’, which enables you to create a blank screen over which you can overlay text.
It’s fairly basic, and you’ve been able to do this manually to some degree since Stories was first introduced, but they have also added some new text tricks and fonts to spice things up (as reported by WABetaInfo)
It’s an interesting take on a fairly basic addition, adding to your creative options – but that’s not the only trick Instagram’s trying out.
As reported by TechCrunch (and first flagged by The Next Web back in November), Instagram’s also testing out a new, transparent background GIF library for Stories, in collaboration with Giphy.
As you can see in the options in the first screenshot, there’s a new GIF category, which connects you to a custom set of GIFs, powered by Giphy. Each of those GIFs is custom-designed to stand alone, as opposed to being posted by themselves, so you can add the animations to your Stories posts.
The new option is now available to some users in the Philippines and Brazil, though Instagram hasn’t outlined any plans to roll it out any further at this stage.
But wait, there’s more – Instagram’s also adding a new notification when someone takes a screenshot of your Story, similar to Snapchat.
While there’s also a new active user status indicator in your direct messages, letting you know when your connections are available.
You can switch it off if you like - though if you turn your active status off, you won’t be able to see anyone else’s either.
They’re all small updates, for sure, but each adds something more to the Stories experience, and the new GIF option, in particular, could prove very popular, adding another weight to the scales in their battle against Snapchat.
There’s not a lot of brand-specific use cases that spring to mind, but more creative options is always good, and maybe the active indicator in DMs could help encourage more users to get in touch.
Either way, more to consider, more to try out, and more ways to expand your messaging via Instagram Stories.