Instagram is working on a couple of new stickers for Stories, as well as new Star Wars themed backgrounds for Direct chats, adding more options for engagement and presentation within the app.
First off, on the new stickers - as spotted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Instagram is currently developing a new 'Link' sticker for Stories which would theoretically enable users to place a link onto their Stories frame, in the location of their choosing, as opposed to relying on a swipe-up link.
As noted, users with more than 10k followers can already add links to their Stories, but only via swipe-up links. And given that the 'Swipe-up for more' prompt is displayed at the bottom of the screen, maybe, by adding a Link sticker, that'll give users more presentation options to help drive traffic to their links, by featuring them more prominently within the frame.
That would enable you to build visuals that draw attention to the link button specifically, and/or frame your links with stickers, GIFs, etc. The full functionality is not entirely clear as yet, as it's still in testing, but that seems to be the key benefit of the option, given that links do already exist.
Will that also mean that users with less than 10k followers will also get access? Probably not.
I mean, we'll have to wait and see, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.
Paluzzi has also spotted a new 'Super Mention' sticker in testing, which seems to be linked to Instagram's donation tools for creators.
As you can see here, the Super Mention sticker comes with what looks like a shopping tag, and could be a way to help users get their mentions seen by influential users.
It seems like an extension of the badges that Instagram added to live-streams back in October, which enable fans to buy badges, of varying amounts, which are then displayed next to their comments within the live chat.
The more you pay for a badge, the more heart icons it has attached, which also sees that donation allocated to the broadcaster, and highlights your comment, increasing the chances of them responding to your mention.
Super Mention could serve a similar purpose, with fans able to purchase a Super Mention sticker for their Stories, which would then ensure that the user mentioned is alerted to that action, increasing the chances of getting them to respond.
We don't have much info on the option as yet, but will keep you updated on any progress.
And lastly, there are new Star Wars themed backgrounds coming to for your Direct chats.
It seems like a fairly simple, fun option, which some have suggested may be linked into to May the 4th, the date when fans traditionally come together to pay homage to the classic sci-fi series (not the most recent two, because they were just rubbish).
Instagram already offers various colors and some color themes as background options for your chats, so it's not a major update or announcement. But it could be a precursor for a new sponsored content option, with new release films and games potentially being offered their own custom Messenger backgrounds to tie into launches and the like.
Or it could be just a one-off. Instagram's parent company Facebook has run similar themed tie-ins before, with Star Trek inspired Reactions and even Star Wars themed backgrounds and AR tools for Messenger.
Those haven't evolved into full-blown sponsored content offerings as yet. But they still might, and they could end up being a means for Facebook to lure big campaigns with dedicated, themed content built into your regular Instagram and Facebook tools.
There are some interesting options here, and some interesting considerations - though its too early to speculate too much on the full functionality and process.
We'll keep you updated on any progress.