Instagram rumored to be testing a hashtag selector tool, geo-fenced posts

The company would not comment on possible features being tested but did confirm it was not building a native sharing feature.

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Instagram is rumored to be testing a number of new features including a hashtag selector tool, the ability to geo-fence posts and a video-tagging feature, according to a TechCrunch report.

Why marketers should care

Instagram is continuing to build out its platform to attract more advertisers and marketers. Now, with more than 1 billion monthly active users, the Facebook-owned app is rumored to be testing features that could help businesses in a number of ways.

Hashtag Selector Tool. Found in the Instagram Android apps’s code by a mobile researcher, TechCrunch says the hashtag selector tool would allow users to add hashtags to a post that would not be listed in the caption. The benefit is a shortened list of visible hashtags, limiting the amount of distractions within a post’s caption. It would also make it possible for Instagram to surface more content via hashtags.

The hashtag selector tool could give marketers a broader reach with organic posts, offering brands the opportunity to select multiple hashtags they may be hesitant to add for fear of cluttering a post’s caption.

Geo-fenced posts. The same mobile researcher who found the hashtag selector tool code identified a potential “Choose Location” feature offering up a list of countries where a post should be displayed. This would be a big benefit to any marketers with organic content aimed at different geographic areas, giving them the ability to localize posts by the country of their choosing. While ads are able to be targeted by a ZIP code or mile-radius, this would give organic posts a similar targeting feature by country.

Video tagging. Instagram would not confirm whether or not it was testing a hashtag selector tool or geo-fenced posts but did confirm to TechCrunch it had rolled out a new video-tagging feature, adding a button to videos that lists the people who were tagged in it. According to TechCrunch, the feature is still in beta mode and is only available to users who have been opted in to the test.

Pau Sabria, co-found of Olapic, an Instagram partner, sees the video-tagging feature as more evidence Instagram is moving further into ecommerce — giving brands greater video capabilities on the platform.

“This is an interesting development for Instagram in a number of ways. First, Instagram continues to hedge its bets on video,” said Sabria. “What this suggests, is that Instagram continues to see strong adoption of video as a format, in particular for Stories, and thus they are extending photo features into video capabilities.”

Sabria said he believes Instagram Stories are an important traffic generator and referral tool for brands.

More on Instagram’s rumored features

  • Instagram is also reportedly testing Stories Highlight stickers and quiz stickers. The Stories Highlight stickers let users create an overlay on a Story using someone else’s Stories Highlight. The quiz stickers allow a correct answer in a quiz to be highlighted via a sticker once a user answers a quiz question.
  • Adding GIFs to direct messages was among the rumored new features reported by TechCrunch on Thursday. Within hours of TechCrunch’s report, Instagram confirmed the feature was now available on both iOS and Android.
  • Instagram would not comment to Marketing Land on any of the new features reported by TechCrunch but did confirm it is not building or testing a native sharing feature as reported by The Verge.

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About the author

Amy Gesenhues
Amy Gesenhues was a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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