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Instagram Broadcasting Channels are here: What to expect from the new feature

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This just in: Meta announced the launch of Instagram Broadcasting Channels. What are they? Who can use them? When can businesses start sending broadcasts on Instagram? We sum up what you can expect from the new feature. 

Instagram is getting broadcasting channels! As Meta announced on February 16, the new feature will roll out gradually, and enable creators to send out broadcasting messages to their followers. Read on to find out what the new feature offers, how you can use them, and why Instagram has just gotten more interesting for businesses.

How do Instagram Broadcasting Channels work?

Similarly to WhatsApp broadcasting messages, the new Instagram Broadcasting Channels allow creators to send one message to multiple users at once. So far, the feature is only open to creators. According to Instagram, it's meant to "help followers stay in-the-know with the latest updates and behind-the-scenes moments using text, photo, video, voice notes and polls."

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Creators can also set up polls in their broadcasting messages. (Source: Instagram)

Followers, that receive the broadcasts, can react to the content and participate in polls. As of now, reactions and poll answers are the only two ways for followers to respond to a broadcast, but Instagram promised that more features are to come soon.

Until now, creators mainly shared news with their followers through stories. The one-to-many broadcast offers a new option to connect with followers more directly, and on a more personal level.

The feature has launched with a few select creators in the US and some first features. A broader roll-out will follow in the next few months with more users, countries, and features, such as adding other creators into a broadcast for a collaboration.

Meta also wants to integrate the broadcasting feature into the Facebook Messenger soon.

How to sign up for a broadcast

Users can find broadcasts in the Discovery section on Instagram. This means: Everybody can find a creator's broadcast and follow it. All followers then receive a first notification to join the broadcast channel. After this, only users that join the channel receive notifications for updates. So, in order to receive a channel's broacast notifications, users have to follow a two-step process:

  1. Follow a channel.
  2. Join a channel.

Aside from discovering a broadcast channel, creators can get followers by sharing the channel link in their stories (through a sticker, for example). They can also pin a link to their channel in their bio. After followers join the channel, the broadcasting notifications will show up in their DMs. For now, followers can't respond directly to broadcasting content, but they can send other users a link to follow and join the channel.

Safety features

Meta said that it'll treat broadcast messages differently from private messages. And since broadcasts are publicly discoverable, it won't have the same privacy features as a direct message. However, Meta said that it's planning on adding different tools to verify users' profiles, and that the content will be moderated. In addition, users can choose how often and prominently they want to receive a broadcast notification.

When will businesses get access to Instagram Broadcasting Channels?

As of now, Instagram Broadcasting Channels are only open to creators. If successful, it's likely that Instagram will open the usage up to more users, including businesses. It'll then most probably be integrated on the Instagram API.

Instagram Broadcasts and Meta Verified: new possibilities for businesses

Overall, the new broadcasting channels, have just made Instagram more interesting for business communication. Especially, if businesses get to use the feature in the future, it'll open up new possibilities in conversational marketing on Instagram.

Combined with the in-chat payment possibilities on Instagram Direct, Instagram (and possibly Facebook Messenger) will then all offer business the possibility to manage the entire customer journey on one messaging app.

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Meta Verified

In other news, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also announced that he wants to test a new subscription service, "Meta Verified", that'll allow users on Instagram and Facebook to pay for getting verified. The verified subscription will start at 11.99 US dollars per month (14.99 US dollars for iOS users), and will also come with some other perks, such as extra protection against fake accounts and direct access to Meta's customer support.

Zuckerberg's announcement follows a similar move by Twitter CEO Elon Musk who also launched a paid subscription model for the blue check mark on Twitter.

Meta Verified will first roll out in Australia and New Zealand this week, with more countries "coming soon".

Both changes show a significant shift in Meta's business model. As ad revenues have dropped over the last quarter, Meta is now looking for new revenue sources. Given that Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger currently have 2.9 billion users combined globally, it's a smart move to leverage the world's most popular messaging apps for broader business use.

Image of Marinela Potor, editor-in-chief at Sinch Engage.
Written by: Marinela Potor