Instagram is targeting Gen Z with 4 new features, as it looks to younger users to shape its product strategy

  • Instagram’s cohead of product Ashley Yuki just announced new Instagram features.
  • These will be targeted to Gen-Z users of the platform.
  • They will include audio notes and close-friend groups.

Instagram is celebrating its 13th birthday by releasing a slew of new tools aimed at young users.

Instagram will launch four new features aimed at the platform’s Gen-Z users, according to Ashley Yuki, VP and cohead of product, at the platform’s “Instagram University” event on October 6 in New York City.

“We really always are looking to the youngest generation for what’s new and how to evolve,” Yuki went on to say. “And that really shapes our product strategy.”

The IGU event, which Instagram hosts several times a year, brought together emerging creators, social media managers, and journalists at Meta’s Hudson Yards headquarters to learn about what Instagram has to offer.

The platform is attempting to appeal to the generation of users aged 16 to 25, who appear to be gravitating toward TikTok.

The new features were inspired by Gen-Z users’ requests for more authentic and less polished content on the platform, according to Yuki.

These will be as follows:

  • Several close-friend groups. Instagram understands that people “don’t always want to share everything with everyone,” according to Yuki, which is why it is now testing a way for people to share stories with different close-friend groups. These groups can also be named by users. This announcement was well received by some happy (or relieved) creators and users in the audience at the IGU event. “Judging by the reaction, I think it’s going to go well,” said Meta VP of global marketing Eshan Ponnadurai during the presentation.
  • Birthday greetings. “One thing that we’ve seen from Gen Z — all of you, really — is that you all like to shout each other out and hype each other up,” Yuki chimed in. This new tool will make it easier to share content in honor of a user’s birthday, as well as provide reminders that someone’s birthday is approaching.
  • Sound clips for the Notes feature. The notes feature, which allows users to share a quick status update on Instagram’s DM page, will start testing voice recordings that users can use as their status. According to Yuki, Instagram released a music tool for the feature in June, which has been a hit with Gen-Z users.
  • Users will be able to share a “selfie video” via Notes as well. There’s a new place to post a quick update to your stories if you don’t want to. Yuki explained that if someone was hanging out with their friends, they could record and share a short 15-second voice memo accompanied by a selfie video.

In addition to these four features, Yuki stated that Instagram will start iterating on new ways for creators and young users to express themselves through music on the app.

“The through line is we want to be a place that anyone can find their own creativity, anyone can connect with their friends through that creativity, and just share what’s on your mind in a way that feels most comfortable for you,” Yuki said in a statement.

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