Today marked the kickoff of Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, which was predictably full of announcements. In a keynote this morning at the McEnery Convention Center, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri shared that Instagram, the company’s popular photo- and video-sharing app with more than 1 billion users, is getting three major enhancements: curated product collections, donation stickers, and a revamped camera interface.
“People come to Instagram to be with their close friends. They stay to be inspired by art, fashion, sports, and entertainment — as well as the people behind those crafts,” Instagram wrote in a blog post. “Enabling expression and fostering those connections are at the heart of Instagram, and today we’re announcing new ways to strengthen those connections with the people and things you love.”
Remember Checkout? It’s the feature Instagram debuted earlier this year that lets businesses sell goods directly to U.S. users, who can check out and pay via Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, or PayPal within the app. Starting next week, Checkout is gaining a tagging tool that will let users shop looks from brands and creators like Vogue, Hypebeast, GQ, Refinery29, Elle, Kim Kardashian, Kimberly Drew, Kylie Jenner, Chiara Ferragni, Camila Coelho, and Huda Kattan.
Here’s how it works: Over the coming weeks, a “small group” of creators will be able to tag products from businesses participating in the Checkout beta. Followers will be able to quickly view these items with the option to buy, while tagged creators and brands will receive insights within Instagram to help track the performance of shopping posts.
Product tags, which Instagram began testing in March, will no doubt boost the company’s bottom line. Instagram last revealed that more than 130 million users were tapping product tags in shopping posts every month, up from 90 million in September.
Donation sticker in Stories
Instagram is not just making it easier to buy things — it’s also introducing a new way to solicit donations for nonprofits. As previously announced by Facebook director of project management for social good Emily Dalton Smith, users will be able to raise money through Instagram Stories by launching the camera, snapping a picture, tapping the sticker icon, and selecting the new donation sticker from the tray.
Once the stickered Story is live, swiping up on it will reveal the total amount raised, 100% of which goes to the registered nonprofit. The many participating organizations include Black Girls Code, JED Foundation, No Kid Hungry, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, ASPCA, Malala Fund, GLAAD, and the Nature Conservancy.
“The donation sticker will help us create two-way conversations with current and new supporters that will elevate awareness for the Boys & Girls Club brand in a whole new way,” said Boys and Girls Clubs of America senior vice president Karl Kaiser in a statement. “Instagram is one of our fastest-growing channels, and it’s critical for our mission to have the ability on this platform to inspire advocacy around issues that impact kids and teens everywhere.”
Camera and Create Mode
If you are tired of the Instagram app’s old-in-the-tooth camera UI, good news: It’ll soon be replaced with a new one. Instagram says that in a few weeks it will launch a “fresh look” with a slick, semicircular mode switcher feature — Create Mode — that will let users share photo- and video-free Stories and posts with Quiz stickers, GIFs, and other content. Another noticeable change: Modes like Superzoom and AR Effects have been relegated to a new Normal tab.
“This new camera will make it simpler to use popular creative tools like effects and interactive stickers, so you can express … what [you’re] doing, thinking, or feeling” more freely, wrote Instagram in a blog post, “especially for those moments in-between when there isn’t photo or video to share.”
App researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who spotted the new UI in March, noted that it looked a bit like a DSLR mechanical circular switcher.