In order to continue competing with the various social media platforms available today, Instagram has begun working on a number of different features and experiments aimed at boosting engagement within the app and tapping into the rise of NFTs, or digital products, in stream.
First and foremost, Instagram has begun testing a new Stories option called ‘fan club’ stories. This new option would allow users to post exclusive Stories content that can only be viewed by members of an Instagram based ‘fan club’ or approved group.
As can be seen in the example shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, fan club stories can only be seen by members of specific groups. Moreover, those who are able to view these exclusive Stories will not be able to take screenshots of said Stories posts.
The new feature would add another option to the current Stories system. As of writing, users can either set their profile to ‘Private’, allowing only followers to see Stories, or can create a ‘Close Friends’ list for intimate Stories sharing, as opposed to sharing publicly. The new ‘fan club’ option would add in another category which is part of Instagram's initiative to add more tools for creators to monetize their on-platform efforts. It is quite likely that users will only be able to enter certain fan club lists through monetary means.
While as of now, not much is known about the new feature, we are likely to get more information straight from Instagram within the next month.
In addition to the new ‘fan club’ feature, Paluzzi also discovered a new ‘Collectibles’ option in testing.
It can be noted that this new option is most likely linked to the current NFT craze, and would seemingly allow Instagram users to bid on digital items in-stream.
Similar to the ‘fan club’ feature, we don't have much information on at this stage, so it’s largely speculation, but ‘Collectibles’ appear to be a new way to encourage digital art purchases by facilitating a means to show off various pieces on Instagram. Moreover, when shared through stories, ‘Collectibles’ also display a Collectibles tag.
This new feature is likely to spark new engagement and purchase behavior within Instagram. Plus, it's possible that the new feature could help digital creators make more money from their work by enabling them to showcase their craft through auctions to Instagram’s billion-plus users.
In that context, everything makes perfect sense. With the platform looking to encourage buying behavior within the app, this may just be another way to prompt people to share digital artwork and spend in-stream.