Instagram unveiled a slew of initiatives for Indian content creators on its platform at the ‘Instagram Experience’ (IGX) event in Mumbai, India. These include new ‘Unlabel’ content series and an initiative called ‘Born on Instagram’. The keynote was hosted by Vishal Shah, VP of Product at the company.
Instagram has partnered with Yuva for the Unlabel, which will be a series of programs featuring individuals who have their story to tell or talent to showcase. Born on Instagram will focus on discovering new talent going deeper into smaller cities and towns.
“I’m particularly proud of the work we’re doing here in market in India with this new program called Born on Instagram,” Shah said. “Creators are not just from the biggest cities in the market. They’re from all over. There is a secular shift where it used to be that the people who could tell their stories were the ones who controlled distribution and had their own channels. We are now moving from power concentrated in the hands of a few to the individual who has a story to tell,” he added.
Instagram hosts over 250 Indian creators and marketers on its platform, including known names like Taapsee Pannu, Priya Varrier, Mallika Dua, and more. The Born on Instagram will roll out in 15 cities beginning this year, though an exact timeline is unclear at this point.
When it comes to safety, Shah insists that privacy is a really important factor at Instagram. For instance, the company announced tools that would allow businesses to turn off comments altogether, which he says was a controversial decision in the social space at the time. “We believe when people are expressing themselves, that’s their space and they get to decide. So safety is a really important thing for everyone that’s using the platform.”
Instagram also launched new features for advertisers. Instagram claims 500 million accounts use Stories everyday with 60 per cent of businesses using an interactive element on their organic Story every month. So, businesses will now be able to use interactive elements such as polls in their Stories.
Another interesting feature that the company is testing is the ability to try products directly on the platform, thanks to Augmented Reality (AR). But this is a small test at a very early stage, Vishal said. The company has partnered with a small number of brands to allow users to say try on various lipstick shades, eyeshadows, fashion accessories, etc.
‘“This is very early I wanted to share something that was very experimental, but it gives you a sense of how the visual inspiration of the platform can also lead one to discover new products and services directly inside,” Shah pointed out.
Separately, a small test for users to directly make payments and buy from Instagram is being run the US as well. “There’s a clear consumer benefit,” Shah said. But the experience should be smooth, he explained. “If they (consumers) have a bad experience with even one brand that’s ruining their experience for everyone. So it’s a very deliberate, very slow rollout,” he said. The feature could roll out more broadly over time and include more brands.
Disclaimer: The author is in Mumbai on the invite of Instagram India.