Facebook, i.e. Instagram’s parent company, recently hosted its annual F8 conference and had some pretty excited news for all of us Instagram addicted peeps.

Feature #1 – The Gang’s All Here!

People love to video chat because it makes them feel closer to the person on the other side of the screen, allowing them to “be with them” without physically being there. With Facebook’s mission to bring people closer together, it is no surprise that they are constantly creating features to help further connect people.

Instagram video chat

This new feature allows you to talk with one or more person privately over a video call from within the Instagram app. To do this, a camera icon will appear at the top of an Instagram Direct thread (private DMs). Tap the icon and it will call the other user, just like Facetime or WhatsApp.

For people who like to video chat and surf the gram at the same time, have no fear. You can minimize the chat and continue to scroll and double tap to your heart’s desire.

Instagram video chat 2

This feature should be coming in the next few weeks. Yay for video calls to see your pals amazing summer trip IRL (kind of.)

Feature #2: Spotify Deep Links + Instagram Stories = Musical Sharing Heaven

You know that friend that posts a screenshot of what they’re listening to on Spotify with the “mood” sticker and you’re like “Cool, I don’t know what that song is.” Now, you don’t have to make all of that effort to go look up the song or never even hear this IG Story-worthy song because you’re lazy.

Spotify and Instagram have teamed up to allow you to share a deep link to both Instagram and Facebook Stories! Now, you can be jammin’ to your current tune, album or playlist and tap “share” in the Spotify app to create a sticker to place in your Instagram Story. Since the sticker is a deep link, your friends only need to click the sticker to start listening to the song and seamlessly keep scrolling through Instagram Stories.

Bonus Feature: Instagram is also partnering with GoPro so that adventure-holics can share their Go-Pro footage directly to Instagram. This partnership is just the beginning of many more apps to come!

Bonus Thought: This new feature has endless possibilities for brands in all kinds of industries. Brands like H&M, Wayfair and LOFT could post to their Story and let you shop the look instantaneously in the Story rather than having to “Swipe Up”. With other stickers like polls, locations and gifs, Instagram is really letting brands personalities shine via their Stories.

Feature #3: Bye, Bye Bullies…Maybe

Since 2016, Instagram has been working to take steps that eliminates online bullying from their platform. They’ve had the ability to filter comments based on keywords for a few years now, but they are now using machine learning to help identify language that is intended to hurt or upset people. When the filter identifies this type of language, it is automatically removed.

Per Instagram’s announcement, the filter is aimed at finding “comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health.” It is hard to predict or understand the depth and breadth of their interpretation of this, but we always applaud efforts at making social media a more positive, encouraging experience.

This feature is automatically enabled for every user. If you’re feeling scandalous and want to see all of the unfiltered comments, you can disable this feature in the Comment Controls section of your settings.

Feature #4: Adventure Is Out There

The Search and Explore page has undergone some pretty drastic changes since it first launched in 2015, but this update is a BIG ONE. Like the biggest of the big. Until the next one, but it’s fine.

The Explore page now looks more seamless with a fresh redesign, shows you popular content based on what you’re double tapping AND lets you browse new content by interests via the brand spankin’ new “channels” feature.

This means that if you’re a person who really loves puppies, hot air balloon adventures, stuffing your face with gourmet food and home decor, you can now search by category of content. Aka, you can now get lost for hours in a feed of content solely of puppies. DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE!

For us brand peeps, this also means that users will have much more control over what they see. Before you freak, this also makes it easier for users to find and engage with your business on Instagram. Thanks, Instagram!

Instagram explore page design update

Feature #5: Create Your Own Flower Crown

In case you live under a rock, VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality), are kind of a big deal and one of the hottest things in tech right now.

The Gram already stole Snapchat’s ability to turn your face into a puppy dog, but soon, people and brands will be able to create and share their own filters for Instagram Stories. This ability already existed with Facebook and Messenger, but Zuck is now bringing it to IG using Facebook AR Studio.

There is a catch though – you can only access these new filters IF you follow the influencer or brand on Instagram. This is a HUUUUGE incentive to get your brand on the AR bandwagon. If you don’t follow a brand, you’ll also be able to use a filter if one of your friends uses the filter on their Instagram Story or DMs you using it. These were designed to go viral and I’m pretty sure a brands favorite word is “viral”.

So there you have it, five new features to use for your brand, personal life or for growing your chances of becoming a #lifestyleblogger like every past contestant of The Bachelor.

We’re excited to put these to work for our brands and are looking forward to the creative ways that these allow brands and influencers to connect with their audiences.