Instagram will now let creators add URL links, tag friends, and create Boomerangs in Stories

By Fitz Tepper as written on
Instagram is adding three new features to Stories in what they are calling the biggest update to Stories since its launch.
Starting today the company will let creators add URL links to their stories that viewers can navigate to without leaving Instagram, add the ability for users to be “@ mentioned” in someone’s story, and add the ability to add a Boomerang to your story without having to go create one in the separate Boomerang app.


First and most importantly, Instagram will now let creators add navigable URL links to their stories – meaning viewers can tap a button and instantly be taken to whatever website the creator wants to send them to.
When tapped, this button will open up a browser within Instagram that automatically navigates to whatever website or page the creator has specified. consumption-see-more
Creators will add a link at the same time they are creating the Story – after capturing a video or picture there will be a button to add the link – just like there are already buttons to add text or a drawing to a Story.
But Instead of actually showing the URL (which could have created a cluttered experience), Instagram will add a “See More” button to the bottom of any story that has a link added to it. This will keep the photo itself free of ugly links, while still letting users navigate to the link with just one click.
While this does mean users won’t actually see the link they are going to before they click it, Instagram will be blocking inappropriate links, just like they already do with links in profiles.
At launch this feature will only be available to verified Instagram accounts. While there’s a chance it may eventually expand all users, Instagram currently won’t say if or when this will ever happen.
Expect to see this tool used by professional creators who want to direct users to consume content they have created on other platforms, like a video on YouTube or song on SoundCloud. Or celebrities and retailers using Links to direct users to purchase something on an e-commerce site. You’ll also probably see media properties use Links to direct users to read articles on their own website.
The addition of Links is sure to satisfy brands who want to promote products, and creators who need to promote their others social channels.
One of the biggest gripes with Snapchat is that creators can’t add links to their Snaps and Stories, meaning their viewers are stuck inside the Snapchat ecosystem. This makes it extremely hard for creators (and brands) to monetize. Creators may now be more inclined to start using Instagram Stories over Snapchat Stories, since they can link viewers out to their own sites.
Plus, it allows Instagram to sidestep the issue of not allowing links inside actual Instagram pictures in the feed, which is something brands and creators have long complained about. Currently only ads can contain links to websites in the Instagram feed.


The second feature Instagram is adding to Stories today is Mentions. The feature will let creators use @ to “tag” any other Instagram user in their story.
Here’s how it works:
After taking a picture or video for a story users can tap to add text, and instead of typing a message they just type @, followed by someone’s Instagram username. And just like in comments and captions, Instagram will autocomplete their username.


Once “tagged”, the username will be underlined and tappable in the story. When tapped, the tag will take users to the profile of whoever is tagged in the picture. And also like comments and captions, users will receive a notification if they are tagged in the story of someone they follow. If they are tagged in a story by someone they don’t follow, it will show up in their “requests” folder.
You will able to tag up to 10 people in one Story. But remember that you’ll have to actually add everyone’s username in a text box, which could mean that lots of usernames will clutter up your picture or video.
Unlike Links, Mentions will be available to all users.


The last feature is that Instagram is adding Boomerang, its stand-alone app that creates one-second video loops, to Instagram Stories. So when you go to create a new story you can just swipe from “normal” (which lets you capture photos or videos) to Boomerang mode, and capture a Boomerang. Previously users had to leave Instagram Stories and navigate to Boomerang’s stand-alone app.
Interestingly, Instagram is only adding the ability to create Boomerangs to Stories, and not regular Instagram. This means if you want to add a Boomerang to your Instagram feed you’ll still need to use their separate app.
These features launch today, and besides Links (which is now only available to verified users) you can start playing with them today.

Instagram’s Redesign Goes Live with a Colorful New Icon, Black-and-White App and More

Explore this blog on Instagram's Redesign written By Sarah Perez as written on

Instagram’s new icon is pink. Well, it’s pink and purple and yellow and orange. It’s definitely different. And that’s not all the company has changed today.

Instagram this morning is rolling out a radical redesign of its mobile application, which not only includes this new, brightly colored app icon but also a revamped user interface that does away with color in favor of a black-and-white look and feel.

You may remember that screenshots of this redesign leaked last month, prompting many to wonder if such a change was actually in the works.

As it turns out, it was.


Instagram’s interest in updating the icon was to better reflect how its community has changed over time.

“When Instagram was founded over five years ago, it was a place for you to easily edit and share photos. Over those five years, things have changed,” says Ian Spalter, Instagram’s Head of Design. “Instagram is now a diverse community of interests where people are sharing more photos and videos than ever before, using new tools like Boomerang and Layout, and connecting in new ways through Explore.”

The new icon, however, still references Instagram’s history with its now simplified and softer camera that appears in the much more colorful design.

In addition, the colors that blend and blur from purple to pink to orange and yellow are also supposed to reference Instagram’s iconic rainbow in its older design. (This isn’t entirely obvious, but we can see how the designer would want to make that connection.)

Meanwhile, where Instagram’s icon is now filled with color, the app itself has had the color removed. Instead of using blue and white in the app’s chrome, the new black-and-white design allows the color in the app to come from the community and what’s being shared. The user interface is no longer competing for attention.


Though this design change will impact users the most, given it’s the app that’s actually interacted with on a regular basis, it somehow feels less jarring — at least, initially — than the change to the app icon.

Perhaps that’s because nothing has been fundamentally changed with regard to the app’s workflow. The buttons remain in the same positions, and pops of color are still shown to highlight things like notifications, for example.

And there are some slight under-the-hood changes. For instance, Instagram now uses standard iOS and Android components, fonts and patterns. But the app itself is simply a cleaner, more modern version of the Instagram we know and love.

That’s not to say it doesn’t take some getting used to. Seeing the editing tools laid out in black-and-white simplicity will prompt a double take the first few times you use them. But the process of using the tools has not been changed.


However, the icon’s update feels as dramatic as iOS 7 once did when Apple’s Jony Ive unveiled the operating system’s newer, flatter look-and-feel and its brighter color gradients. This initially prompted some user backlash among Apple fans who had trouble adjusting. (Remember the Jony Ive Redesigns Things Tumblr, anyone?)

What’s funny is that the iOS revamp years ago eventually prompted Instagram’s user base to call for the company to update its look as well. The older app icon began to feel out of place on the iPhone home screen, as other app icons were updated to better fit Apple’s new design language.

Then, when Google rolled out its own take on flat design with Material Design, Instagram’s icon began to feel a little out of place there, too.


Besides the icon change and black-and-white revamp, Instagram’s larger suite of apps, including Layout, Hyperlapse and Boomerang, have also received new icons. These new icons now better reflect what their app does in some cases.

For example, the collage maker Layout has gone from a square to a grid. They also now match the new Instagram icon’s color scheme.

While the makeover is dramatic, it’s not tied to the other forthcoming changes, like the rollout of Business Profiles due in a few months.


Instagram has been working on this redesign since last summer and ended up testing more than 300 icons before arriving on a lead candidate in late November. The company then worked on the user interface update, which had been tested internally since the beginning of the year.

Those tests finally made it out into the wild in the past couple of weeks, which is when users spotted them and the news of the redesign was leaked. The company doesn’t share details on its internal tests or how the changes impacted key metrics like user engagement.

However, with 400 million users worldwide who share more than 80 million photos and videos daily, it’s not likely that the company would roll out an update of this magnitude if it were worried the changes could negatively impact any of its numbers.


the death of instagram - managed solution

The death of Instagram for brands

By Steve Feiner as written on
Earlier this week Instagram updated its news feed algorithm. Posts will no longer appear in chronological order and instead be sorted “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.”
What this means is that Instagram will choose what to surface and when – essentially mirroring Facebook’s news feed.
This change is being spun as a way to optimize a user’s feed, when actually it grants Instagram the power to control ad content. “On average, people miss about 70 percent of the posts in their Instagram feed,” says Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and CEO of Instagram. “What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible.” While this certainly is true, make no mistake, Instagram is about to do this for monetization.

Why does Facebook care?

Facebook, which owns Instagram, just announced $5.8 billion in Revenue in Q4, a staggering 51 percent growth over the prior year. While Facebook’s growth rate has consistently been over 40 percent, maintaining that growth is not simple by any means.
By applying Facebook’s historical growth rate, it needs to produce an incremental $2 billion in growth next quarter and another $3 billion in growth in this quarter next year.
In the most recent earnings call, Facebook’s CFO mentioned “core Facebook is really driving the top line”. This growth is being driven by an increase in average revenue per user, not an increase in user growth. Can this growth continue to be driven by core Facebook?
Facebook needs to grow an incremental $3 billion more in this quarter next year. If we apply historical user growth numbers, of 13 percent that would mean average revenue per user would need to increase 33 percent. Can Facebook continue to do that given that Facebook has already increased Rest of World growth by 4x since and U.S. & Canada growth by nearly 5x since Q1 2012? How much further can Facebook average revenue per user growth grow before that too reaches a saturation point?
So this places an importance on monetization in new areas such as Instagram. According to eMarketer, Instagram revenues hit $600 million in 2015 and are forecasted to grow by 149 percent in 2016. Surely this will not be driven by user growth as a 149 percent growth in users would equate to nearly 600 million new users just in the next year.

Implications for brands

Here’s where Instagram comes in. Over the past few years, thousands of brands have joined Instagram after realizing that it is the social media platform brands and consumers engage in most. What happens when Instagram begins to monetize? The path of least resistance would be to follow a path similar to Facebook and limit organic reach — we have seen this story with Facebook before.
So what happens to brands that have heavily invested in creating wonderful content on Instagram? While larger brands have the marketing budget to pay for what was once free media, blogshops and other small businesses may not be so lucky.
Consider this your wake up call, because if your business relies heavily on Instagram as a channel, customer acquisition is about to come with a hefty price tag instead of a perfectly edited photo.

Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.