Popular photo-sharing platform Instagram has recently updated its messaging service to combine both permanent and vanishing direct messages.
Up until now, the two types of messages would appear in separate spots within Instagram Direct, with Snapchat-esque disappearing messages located at the top of the screen, with permanent messages located at the bottom of the page.
Starting at the end of last week for some users, the vanishing messages will now appear within the conversation threads of the permanent messages. Despite being located in the permanent threads, they will continue to disappear once the video or photo has been viewed by the intended recipient, but there will be a small note informing the user that something had been shared.
According to the site, the intention behind the merging of the two sets of messages is to make it much easier for users to have an ongoing conversation, even if it involves sending lots of the disappearing messages.
The Snapchat-style messages were only added to Instagram Direct in November last year meaning that this is just a minor update for the company. However, with the change being made, it would suggest that the regular style of messaging was working a lot better for users.
General consensus on the subject would suggest that the vanishing messages coupled with Instagram Stories has become something the platform’s user base has taken in their stride, and it has encouraged people to start using the app as a messaging tool.
The company announced figures stating that the number of users who are using Instagram Direct has increased to 375 million monthly users, rising from 300 million in November just before it added the vanishing messages feature. Furthermore, when Instagram Stories was added back in August 2016, the feature only had 250 million active users, so this means that it has seen some significant growth this year.
Furthermore, Instagram has made another minor amend to the Direct interface, which is relocating the “new message” button from the bottom of the screen to the top and replacing it with a camera button. This would confirm that the company views visual content – photos and videos – as the primary driver of communication on the platform.
Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, will be delighted to learn of the news that disappearing messages is attracting more people to the site, as it is an indicator that Facebook’s long and well-publicised strategy of overhauling Snapchat by copying it, may be beginning to work.