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Instagram Updates: New features, tools, and upgrades in 2023 (so far)

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Instagram adds ‘Channels’ for creators to share updates with followers in a one-way group chat format. The platform also tests a paid verification feature and introduces new updates such as color filter accessibility, zooming in on stories, and custom lead forms for profile CTAs. The platform has also been looking to expand its ‘Gifts’ monetization feature in the US to allow more creators to receive direct monetary support from fans.

Instagram introduces ‘Channels’ – a community-based broadcast chat

Designed to let creators broadcast a message or update to all of their followers at once, Instagram’s new ‘Channels’ feature is the latest move to support and empower social communities.

How it works: It’s like a one way group chat in which followers can only react to content and participate in polls. According to Meta, the goal is for creators to be able to “help followers stay in-the-know with the latest updates and behind-the-scenes moments using text, photo, video, voice notes and polls.”

Once a creator gets access and start a channel, a message will go out to their followers. Creators can add a “join channel” sticker in Stories or add the channel link to their profile.

For now, it’s being tested amongst a small handful of creators – but if you want access to the beta, you can join the waitlist here.


Blue checkmarks for sale on Instagram and Facebook

We said it might happen, and it is. Meta is testing paid verification for Instagram and Facebook for $11.99 per month on web and $14.99 per month on mobile.

“Meta Verified is a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support “This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services.” Zuck stated.

You’ll also get:

  • Exclusive stickers for Stories and Reels
  • 100 free stars per month, (or the digital currency you can use to tip creators on Facebook.)

Businesses can’t yet apply for a Meta Verified badge, and you can’t change your profile name, username, birthday, or profile photo without going through the verification process all over again.

It looks like Zuck is borrowing Elon’s playbook for this one. Let’s just hope it doesn’t cause the same chaos it did at Twitter.


The rundown of new features coming soon

IG is working on introducing a new color filter accessibility feature. The idea seems to be adding a unique dimension to the usual colors observed on Instagram UI. This feature will be especially helpful for those who are colorblind to specific colors (such as red or green) with this setting they can adjust their screen as per their needs.

Zoom in on Stories

Need to do some closer stalking on stories? IG is giving users the ability to zoom in by simply pinching the screen, similar to how you can see images on the platform.


Instagram announced today it’s expanding access to a new monetization feature called Gifts to more creators across the U.S. The feature allows fans to provide a favorite creator with direct monetary support in the form of themed virtual gifts.

Gifts are purchased in the Instagram app using the virtual currency “Stars” and can cost anywhere from 10 stars to several hundred stars. (Users can purchase 45 Stars for $0.99, 140 Stars for $2.99 or 300 for $5.99.)

While sending Stars was already available across live and on-demand videos, including Reels, the addition of Gifts allows Instagram to better compete against rivals like TikTok, where virtual gifts are already available.

Creators in the U.S. will be able to check to see if they’re now eligible to receive Gifts from their Professional Dashboard in settings. If so, they can toggle on the option if they choose.

We love the fact that more social apps are opening up options for creators to bring in revenue.


Instagram adds dynamic PFPs, which can flip to show your Meta avatar

It’s Instagram’s turn to get on the Meta avatar train, with a new feature that lets you add an alternative avatar profile photo, which users can then ‘flip’.

To add an avatar to the other side of your profile picture, navigate to the “Edit Profile” button. After adding the avatar, your profile picture will automatically flip over to your avatar when people visit your profile.

It’s a simple way to spark more avatar engagement and another step towards Meta’s next-level vision.


Custom lead forms to profile CTAs

This new update (it’s not live for everyone yet) will allow business profiles to add a CTA button Add Lead Form as an action button on your profile. You can choose either a standard data collection CTA or add custom questions in order to further guide queries.

The process enables you to choose multiple-choice or short-answer responses, giving you another way to gain insight from your IG profile visitors.

With these queries, you can unleash your inner sleuth and segment or prioritize your audience and maybe even showcase your brand’s quirky personality. It could also help you gather information on your business – like how people heard about you, etc.


Would you pay for a subscription?

Speaking of paying for verification, rumor has it that Instagram could be working on a subscription model of its own.

Spotted by Alessandro Paluzzi, the move could still be a ways out. Paluzzi followed up with a tweet stating, “At the moment there are only a few small references in [Instagram’s] code about this, nothing visible so, until I post a screenshot that can confirm my assumption, consider it a mere rumor.”


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