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In a further effort to stick it Snapchat, which has seen lower user engagement and even more declining profits in the past year, Instagram is looking to find new ways to engage users on its increasingly popular Stories feature. These new additions may also help brands and consumers to bypass the timeline for their content, since they can potentially get more reach and engagement on their stories, unlike the Instagram timeline, Stories are still shown in chronological order. Now let’s get down to the new features!

First up, something that Instagram users are naturally doing on the platform, so why not make it an actual feature, it’s called Type. Type allows Instagram users to share text only messages on their stories. Not only will users potentially be able to share these text only messages, they’ll also be able to test out different fonts (in addition to the traditional Instagram block lettering we’ve all become so fond of).

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Preview of TYPE from The Next Web

Next up, in partnership with GIF powerhouse GIPHY, Instagram is now allowing users in Brazil and the Philippines to add transparent GIFs to their Stories. Let’s just hope that this new feature doesn’t take us back to the days of overly busy MySpace profiles that often caused our web browsers to crash, and on rare occasion, our computers as well. There is no word on whether or not this feature will be rolled out to more users globally or not.

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Instagram GIF search – Tech Crunch

 

Still with me? There’s only two more updates to get through! The next update (again creeping in on Snapchat territory) is the screenshot notification. It’s exactly what it sounds like, when someone takes a screenshot of your story, you get a notification. Simple, but still effective.

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Credit: WABetaInfo

The last feature, is again, something simple, notification of when your contacts are online, and the last time they were online, now if you’re like me, and don’t like people all up in your business, you can turn the feature off, but it does mean that while others can’t see when you’re on, you also won’t be able to see when your contacts are on. You can find out how to disable it here

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So what do these changes mean for you, or brands you work on? It just means you’ll have more options when it comes to creating Instagram Stories. You’ll also be able to utilize some of the newer features to tell more complex stories, and engage your audiences on a deeper level. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity, and potentially your ability to sell in an idea.

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