Beginning today, Instagram will allow creators to add URL links to stories that can be navigated to without leaving the app, reports TechCrunch. The Facebook-owned photo sharing app also added the ability for users to be “@ mentioned” in a friend’s story, and the ability to add a Boomerang to stories without needing to create one in the separate Boomerang app.
Recall that Instagram introduced its own version of Stories; a feature that got very popular with Snapchat. Safe to say the feature was copied from Snapchat, but Instagram has added some nice features to make it stand out and more appealing to people and brands.
Creators can now add URL links to Stories
First on the card is Links—creators can now add navigable URL links to their stories. What that means is that viewers can now tap on a button and be taken straight to whatever website the creator wants them to be sent to. The tapped button opens up a browser within Instagram that automatically navigates to a specified page or website specified by the creator.
For now, only users with verified Instagram accounts will be able to add URL links to stories. Though, the company is yet to confirm if the new feature will be expanded to everyone, there is a possibility that this could ultimately be the case.
Boomerang was launched in 2015 by Instagram. The app lets you create GIF-like videos that loop forwards and then backwards. In today’s update, when you create a new story, you can swipe from “normal” to Boomerang mode and capture a Boomerang. This is a clear departure from the past where a user had to leave Instagram Stories and navigate to Boomerang’s standalone app.
Mentions will let creators use @ to “tag” any other Instagram user in their story. To use the new feature, simply take a picture or video for a story that can be tapped on by any user to add text. Instead of typing a message they just type @, and followed by a user’s Instagram username. and Instagram will autocomplete their username.
One thing Instagram got going for its version of Stories is its responsive interface and clean design. Unlike Snapchat’s version, users are easily attracted to how the feature is easily integrated into Instagram, which makes it more appealing.
Barely ten 10 days after launch, the feature became the toast of hundreds of publishers—including some from Snapchat. Many publishers flocked to Instagram sensing how successful they can be with their ads with the flexibility being offered by Instagram’s Stories.
Some of the big names mentioned that joined Instagram shortly after launch of Stories include those already on the books of Snapchat. Companies like CNN, Food Network, People, Tastemade, Comedy Central, and Cosmopolitan are among those that have started producing Stories on a regular basis. The results too have been highly impressive, with some publishers saying they are now seeing improvement in “viewership numbers.”
“What we like so far is that Instagram Stories gives us the ability to showcase content that might not have made it into our highly curated feed before,” said Amy Odell, editor of Cosmopolitan.com, per WSJ.