Instagram has added three messaging improvements to its app that should make conversations easier to manage and more colorful.
The updates include the ability to quickly share a post, share a short clip of a music track, and customize the chat background to one that's not black and white anymore.
Meta's photo-sharing platform has been busy, recently enabling Instagram on the web, the return of the chronological feed, and a bigger focus on helping users message each other in easier ways.
These three features build on that last promise, especially in sharing posts without leaving your feed.
What do you get?
Quick send will enable you to hold down the share button on a post in your feed, and quickly send it to a friend or family member without going anywhere else in the app.
You can also share 30-second clips of music tracks from Apple Music, with Amazon Music and Spotify integration coming soon.
Finally, there's the new ability to change the background of the person you're chatting with, which means you can finally get rid of the black or white background. Instagram isn't breaking new ground here. WhatsApp chat has a similar feature.
But while some may think that these are minor updates, they're potentially substantial ones for those who use Instagram more than they use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. With the ability to personalize your chat background and more easily share content through the main feed, it looks as though Instagram isn't done refining how you can message others on its app, and we may see more improvements in this area later this year.
Analysis: why do these updates matter?
Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri promised toward the end of 2021 that there would be a bigger focus on messaging and now the platform is delivering on that promise.
Messaging friends and family on Instagram has become more common in recent years, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing posts or just keeping in touch with those who only use Instagram has become a new standard for some users.
According to Instagram, 44% of its users are on the app to shop for products, so it's safe to assume that the majority would want to use messaging services to see where their purchases are, and if they want to receive special offers through the messaging side of Instagram.
However small these new features may sound for messaging, they leave us with the impression that this is an area of interest to Mosseri and the Instagram team. Granted, Meta also has Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp in the same category, but Instagram is on its own siloed island where you can't get the same content through these apps and Facebook.
Instagram has always set itself apart from others, building bespoke services like Instagram Stories, Reels, and shopping. Meta usually holds a yearly conference called Facebook F8, where it gives updates on its products and platforms. We may see a similar event this year but with a name change (we'd suggest “Meta8”). So, there's a good chance we may be hearing more about messages on Instagram in the near future.