It’s become clear that collaboration and community interaction are powerful tools for user retention and engagement on social media platforms. Just look at the success of TikTok’s duets. Taking this on board, Instagram’s rolling out a new communal feature that lets users interact with each other publicly through their stories.
Instagram wants full participation
The feature is a sticker, called “Add Yours” and it’s found just like any other sticker you’d find while preparing to post a story, but it’s got an admittedly fun little twist. See, if you post an “Add Yours” sticker, other users can select it and post their own story using it. Eventually, a chain of users utilises the same sticker forms.
Responses to these stories are publicly visible and you can see exactly who else responded to an Add Yours sticker by tapping it.
“With custom prompts and public responses, you can share the sticker and see who responds to it in their own Stories,” reads Instagram’s Twitter announcement.
While it’s an admittedly entertaining new feature, it’s not hard to see who it’s targeting: teens. Instagram considers teenagers its most important demographic, the fundamental root of its success. An internal strategy memo from 2020 obtained by The New York Times lays out how important retaining a teen audience is for the social media platform:
“If we lose the teen foothold in the U.S. we lose the pipeline.”
The Meta (previously Facebook) owned app is currently competing with Snapchat and Instagram, and the competition is pretty fierce. With Add Yours stickers and other new features, Instagram is looking to hold on to its teen users whilst being simultaneously aware that it creates an unhealthy environment for the majority of them. Which isn’t exactly surprising. Instagram, and indeed Meta, quite clearly cares more about its bottom line than anything else.