Instagram could be close to launching a new set of direct connection tools, which could add to your considerations for the app.
According to TechCrunch, files in Instagram’s code suggest that the Facebook-owned app is planning to launch audio and video calling options, giving you more ways to stay in touch without leaving the platform.
This would add to Instagram’s popular direct messaging capabilities – which they’ve upgraded over the last 12 months, and would further compliment their live-stream guests option, which gives users a means to connect, in real time, through the app.
The potential use case for enhanced connection options on Insta is fairly clear – first, considering direct messages, where Instagram’s seen a significant rise in interest of late. More than 375 million people now using Instagram DMs each month – almost half the app’s total audience - while Instagram’s research also indicates that 85% of people's direct messages go to the same three friends.
That points to an intent to use the app for more intimate, immediate communication – voice and video calling both seem like obvious additions to this element.
The other aspect to consider is that Snapchat already has video calling, with audio notes, and recent data shows that personal communications between friends far more important to Snapchat users than posting to Stories.
If Instagram wants to continue putting the pressure on Snap, then adding more advanced, in-app calling options makes sense.
Worth noting too that Facebook has also seen significant growth in video calling on Messenger over the last year.
For marketers, the addition of new calling options on Instagram would provide new options to connect with users, with video calling providing the opportunity to conduct walk-throughs and direct connection to further solidify relationships. Of course, as noted, the main use case would clearly be communications between friends, but it is worth considering the potential options the tools would add, and how you might be able to either incorporate them directly into your strategy, or keep them in mind for use as needed.
There’s no guarantee that Instagram’s actually going to release these new features – the back-end code was spotted by user Ishan Agarwal, and Instagram declined to comment on the discovery. But generally, when such features are found in the code, they do crop up at some stage. When, and further specifics on how Instagram might do so, are not available at this time.
As Instagram continues to expand, and add more features and tools, it’s interesting to consider the potential of such additions, and how they can be used to benefit. The logic of these additions seems fairly clear – and Instagram could soon be an even more consuming channel for users.