Instagram expands new features including polls and shoppable photos

5 Oct 2017

Now you can do more shopping straight from your Instagram feed. Image: Natee Meepian/Shutterstock

Instagram is integrating some useful new functionalities into the app.

Instagram is constantly adding little tweaks here and there but recently there has been a spate of new features and functions, from AR masks in live video to creating alerts to support people with mental health problems.

E-commerce integration

Another new feature announced is the ramping up of in-app shopping, in collaboration with e-commerce outfit Shopify. The feature had been in testing with several merchants for the last few months, but it is now being expanded in the run-up to the festive gift-giving season.

Now merchants selected by Instagram and Shopify can tag their posts with in-app product purchase links to make it easier for customers to buy from the app. Instagram said: “Discovery is at the heart of the Instagram experience. Together with Shopify, we are enabling new ways to turn discovery into exploration, allowing Instagrammers to find new things from brands they love and businesses to find opportunities to build relationships with these valuable customers.”

Polls on user stories

On 3 October, Instagram introduced a poll sticker function for Stories, lettings users ask a question and see results from friends and followers. Currently, you can only set up polls with two options.

Instagram stated: “After you’ve shared your poll, your friends and followers can immediately start voting and see real-time results. Once someone has voted on your poll, they’ll see which choice is in the lead at any given moment. And if they watch your story again later, they’ll see the latest results.”

Instagram Stories now has a polling option. Image: Instagram

There’s now also a colour picker for text and brushes, and an alignment tool for text and stickers.

Most recently, TechCrunch reported users will now be able to integrate their Instagram Stories with Facebook Stories. The feature should be on most people’s devices in the coming weeks (except for businesses as they aren’t allowed on Facebook Stories yet).

This increasing interoperability between Facebook and Instagram may worry those at Snapchat, as user growth has been dropping over the last few months. Facebook Stories got off to a slow start, but this new integration should see more engagement with the relatively quiet feature of the social networking app.

Main image of Instagram use via Natee Meepian/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects