Instagram's adding a new method for conducting polls, with a sticker option that lets you pose a question within your Instagram Story and see the results from your followers as they participate.
As explained by Instagram:
"Whether you're trying to plan tomorrow's outfit, choosing which class to take or figuring out where to go for dinner, now it's easy to share a two-option poll right in your story. After you've taken a photo or video for your story, select the "poll" sticker and place it anywhere you'd like - you can write out your own question and even customize the poll choices."
Polls have proven a popular option on other platforms - Twitter introduced their native polls tool back in 2015, while on Facebook, you can create polls in Groups, events pages and on Messenger.
But more relevant for Facebook might be the recent use of polls within Facebook Live streams. As you've no doubt seen, many Pages have been creating polls in streams which use Reactions as a voting mechanism - something Facebook advises against.
But those Live polls perform very well, so much so that Facebook has sought to add in new Live tools which enable publishers to create Live polls which don't rely on Reactions as a voting tool. The addition of a similar option in Instagram is something of an acknowledgment of their popularity, adding in another interactive option to boost Stories engagement.
When you're ready to view the results of your poll, you swipe up to open the viewers list for that part of your story.
"There you'll see everything you need to get the best answer for your question. Not only will you see how many votes each option received, but you'll also see who voted and what option they chose. That way, you'll be able to compare votes from the friends and followers whose opinions you trust most. And just like your story, your poll and its results will disappear after 24 hours."
From a marketing perspective, polls could be great for brands trying to make the most of Stories, giving them another way to gather audience feedback and generate response. The ability to narrow down your audience responses could also help businesses segment their audience and get a better understanding of specific preferences.
In addition polls, Instagram's also adding in two new creative options for Stories.
The first is a new color picker tool which enables you to select any color from your image or video and use it in your text or drawing tools.
How it works is, when you go to choose a color, you'll see a new eyedropper icon at the far left (as shown at the bottom of screen above). Tap on the eyedropper and you'll be able to select any part of the image to duplicate its tone, which Instagram will then apply in your own drawing/text.
The other new tool (on iOS) is an alignment guide, which overlays your images with lines to help you center your content and/or avoid placing it anywhere that might get covered up when someone watches your story.
'And when you rotate text or a sticker, new guides will also help you snap your sticker back to horizontal.'
Both are small updates, for sure, but they further add to the options available, making it easier to create more personalized, and better composed, Stories content - which could also prove especially helpful for brands (particularly if you have trouble matching your corporate colors).
Stories is now up to 250 million users, while Instagram more broadly is up to 800 million, and rising fast. If you've not considered how you might be able to use the platform to better connect with your audience, it may be worth investigating as you plan for 2018.
Polls and the new creative tools are available as part of Instagram version 17 and above in Apple's App Store and Google Play.