Instagram Stories just got a considerable update, adding three new features that make up the biggest upgrade to Stories since its debut.
The three new features are URL links, tagging and Boomerang integration. With URLs, creators can add links to their stories and allow viewers to navigate them without having to leave Instagram. For tagging, all users have to do is use "@mentioned" in a story. Lastly, users can now add a Boomerang to their story without leaving Instagram to create a Boomerang in the separate Boomerang app. Let's get a closer look at each new addition.
Allowing creators to add navigable URL links to their Instagram Stories makes everything easier, as viewers can simply tap a button and seamlessly access the linked website in a browser within Instagram.
Adding such a link is easy. When creating a Story on Instagram, you'll see a button to add a link just like you have button to add a drawing or text. To avoid cluttered Stories, Instagram will not show the URL, it will simply add a "See More" button at the bottom of a story containing links.
On the downside, you don't know what you're accessing unless you actually click on the link. On the bright side, Instagram will block inappropriate links.
The feature will be available only to verified Instagram accounts at first, but it may eventually roll out to all users. Instagram has yet to announce plans to expand the feature anytime soon (or ever) but anything's possible.
"This is a test that lets verified accounts add links so it's easy to learn more," says Instagram.
This should give Instagram Stories an edge over Snapchat Stories, as the latter doesn't allow creators to add links to their Stories and Snaps. Adding links could help creators and brands monetize and advertise their products, so it could convince some users to give Instagram Stories a shot rather than Snapchat Stories.
Instagram Stories now also integrates Boomerang, allowing users to seamlessly create one-second video loops straight within Instagram, without having to access the standalone Boomerang app.
To take advantage of this feature, simply swipe from "normal" to Boomerang mode and capture your short clip. Oddly enough, this feature rolled out to Instagram Stories, but not the main Instagram app.
Tagging People With Mentions
Lastly, Mentions allows Instagram Stories users to tag others simply by using "@" followed by the username you want to tag (see image above). For instance, after you can take a picture for a story, tap to add text, and easily share it with another Instagram user by typing "@" and the username in question. Once tagged, the username will be underlined in the story, allowing others to tap it. Tagged users will get a notification if they're mentioned in a story from someone they follow. If they're tagged in a story from someone they don't follow, the mention will appear in their message requests.
Instagram Stories users will be able to tag up to 10 people in a Story.