• Katie Louise

New Updates Instagram Have Released in April 2020 and How Best To Use Them

Here's a quick update on new features which have been rolled out by Instagram this April 2020. This includes; new desktop features, new buy and order buttons for shopable stories and IGTV features.

Instagram Rolls Out Direct Messages to Desktop: Instagram took to Twitter to announce that everyone is now able to send and receive DM's on desktop via your web browser. The company notes that the ability to access direct messages on the web is a long-awaited feature sought by many businesses, creators, and users. This is definitely a useful one for those monitoring and responding to direct messages for customer service, without having to use a third party application.

Instagram Live Videos Now Stream Directly to Desktop: Instagram Live is now accessible to view on desktop as well via your web browser. Accessing Instagram Live videos on the web offers an improved, more comfortable viewing experience. Instead of overlaying comments and emojis on the videos via mobile, Instagram Live’s web version moves the comment feed to a separate column on the right, for easier communication.

Instagram Adds Gift Card, Online Ordering, and Fundraising Tools to Help Small Businesses Impacted by Shutdowns: Following Facebook’s lead, Instagram is rolling out new features to assist small businesses impacted by ongoing shutdowns. These new Stories and profile tools include support for gift card purchasing, online ordering, and fundraising on its platform.

Instagram notes that Fundraisers, which are “coming soon,” will open on Facebook first. Gift cards and food orders for delivery or takeout are available with the help of partner sites in the U.S. and Canada starting this week and will be released globally in the coming weeks.

Instagram Makes Restaurant Food Photos Shoppable: Instagram partnered with ordering platform ChowNow to add shoppable stickers to restaurant food posts and stories. By clicking the story stickers, users will either find order forms pre-filled with the depicted meal or a page for buying gift cards to the restaurant. Customers can also share these stickers to increase awareness. A great way to support restaurants and caterers during lockdowns.

Instagram Encourages Further Engagement Between Users and Friends With A New "Challenge" Sticker: Instagram appears to be testing a new Challenge sticker for Stories. If rolled out publicly, these stickers would enable users to prompt more engagement by calling on their friends and followers to participate in visual competitions on the platform. This new feature was discovered by reverse engineer and tech researcher Jane Manchun Wong, and we imagine, if successful this will be rolled out before the end of April, especially to encourage nomination and donation challenges such as "Run 5k, Donate £5" and "Donate Your Drink".

In conclusion, Instagram are rolling out a lot of features this April and going into May 2020, with the majority of these features being based around more support for online businesses or businesses looking to get online, whilst in lockdown due to COVID-19.

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