Instagram's added a new way to reply to direct messages with a photo overlaid with text.
The process is fairly simple - when replying to a DM, you type your reply text, then tap on the camera icon at the left of the composer. Your message text will then be overlaid onto your camera view. You can also change the color hue to add some extra personality to your response.
Facebook's pretty keen on pushing the background colors at the moment. Back in December, they added colored backgrounds for status updates on Facebook, which they later also added to Instagram Stories. More recently, they've been experimenting with adding background colors to comments, though it's only in limited testing at the moment.
This new option adds another variation on the theme, which likely suggests that user response has been positive - and definitely, it'll add something more to your Instagram interaction process.
In terms of brand use, there's actually an increasing number of reasons why businesses might want to encourage their audience across to Instagram DM interactions.
First off, Instagram Direct is growing, with more than 375 million people now using Instagram DMs each month - over half of the platform's 700 million user base - and up from the 300 million Instagram reported late last year. Catering to this, Instagram recently added the capacity to share Stories via DM, but more importantly, back in May, they added the capability to add links in DMs, which is a huge benefit, considering you can't add links to individual posts.
The new option adds another element to Instagram Direct - brands could look to use the photo/text replies to add more context to their interactions, maybe by including a relevant product image or for 'how to' explanations.
But really, the option is aimed at everyday interaction. It's not a major change, but it adds something else to consider, which could help further boost Instagram DMs.
The new option is now available for Android users, coming soon to iOS.