Instagram is rolling out three new features for Stories to help content creators make more fun, unique and shareable images and clips on the social platform. The arrival of Links, Mentions and video loop format Boomerang is also designed to boost engagement by enabling users to “dig deeper” into the content that they consume.
Instagram has billed the latest update as its biggest since the launch of Stories earlier this year. Initially, Stories was an offshoot of the Snapchat format, but it is now beginning to become a more distinct offering, serving up popular social features that enable brands and users to create, communicate and engage from one hub.
The first new feature will finally allow creators to add URL links so that viewers can access other content. These links will be placed at the bottom of creators’ Stories under a “See More” caption and will open up within the Instagram app when clicked on. Instagram claims that this will allow professional creators to direct users to videos on other platforms or enable brands to link to products on an ecommerce site.
The second major addition is Mentions, which will allow users to “tag” others when posting a picture or video. Up to ten people can be added to a Story, and the feature will work in exactly the same way as it does for comments and captions on Instagram. This is another feature aimed at getting more people involved with creative clips and stories by highlighting brands, users and places.
The third and final feature is called Boomerang, a format that can create one-second video loops. Instagram introduced Boomerang as a standalone app late last year, but it is now being integrated within Stories for the first time. A blog post detailing the feature added: “A new format picker under the record button lets you select ‘Boomerang’ mode. Tap ‘record,’ and the camera will stitch together a burst of photos into a mini-video that plays forward and backward. Then share it to your Story.”
All of the features launched on Thursday and can accessed via the Android, iOS and Windows mobile apps, though Links will be restricted to verified users for the time being.