Skift Take

Instagram Direct is a nice new feature, but hardly anything revolutionary. Travel marketers might make some use of it, but it doesn't look like anything that could provide any scale to such attempts.

Instagram┬átoday launched a private photo and video-sharing feature, Instagram Direct, that CEO Kevin Systrom likens to the old days of “gathering people around the table and showing photos of your vacation.”

Instead of sharing photos and videos with all of your followers, Instagram users can now use Instagram Direct to optionally share photos and videos and converse privately with one person to 15 people at a time.

Instagram Direct has implications for travel marketers, who can personalize messaging by sending photos and videos to up to 15 travelers who follow them on Instagram. Photos and videos can also be sent to non-followers where they would appear as pending requests.

There are also multiple means to ignore and block unwanted messages.

This may be an opportunity for travel marketers to mine data and send personalized messages in the form of photos and videos to small groups of their followers, although the limit of 15 people curtails the practicality of it all.

And, Instagram undoubtedly has some safeguards against spamming.

Instagram Direct is available in Version 5 of its iOS app, which was updated today and is optimized for iOS 7.

Here’s how Instagram Direct works:

Access a photo or video from your camera roll, and then add a filter and caption. Tap direct and send it to up to 15 followers. Recipients get a notification when they receive a message, and the sender can see when the message is delivered.

The sender and the recipients can then type messages back and forth about the photo or video.

“Posts sent with Instagram Direct can’t be shared through Instagram to other sites like Facebook or Twitter,” Instagram states. “You also can’t tag people or use hashtags in these shared posts.”

Instagram conducted a webcast (which crashed) about the launch of Instagram Direct, and detailed it in a blog post.

A video about the Instagram Direct launch shows plenty of traveler moments, including people driving to various landmarks and doing their Instagram thing.


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Tags: instagram, ios

Photo credit: Instagram updated its iOS app and launched a private-messaging feature, Instagram Direct. Instagram

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