Instagram bulks up Live capabilities with collaborative broadcast feature

The new feature is currently being tested with a small percentage of Instagram users

Instagram is building out its live capabilities with a new feature which lets users broadcast in real-time alongside their friends.

The Facebook-owned image-sharing app said it wants to give people "more ways to have fun" sharing moments online, with the latest tool being one of several new ones introduced by the platform to encourage the use of live video within its walls.

The fresh capability is currently being tested with a small percentage of Instagram users. It is baked into the app's Stories service and will be rolled out more widely over the coming months.

"Live video helps you share in an authentic way, but sometimes it can be intimidating when you're on your own," said Instagram in a blog post explaining how to use the new function. To add guests to their live broadcast users need to tap an icon on the bottom right of the app, viewers can then like and comment as they follow the stream.

Guests can be removed or added at any point in the conversation, with the aim being to encourage collaborative streams. Instagram is taking a leaf out of Snapchat's book by touting the feature as a more "authentic" way to engage with online followers.

Brands have taken a shine to Instagram's ephemeral Stories Snapchat-style offering using it both natively and for paid-for slots. The company claims that 250 million people now use Stories on a daily basis, and there's a chance it could be looking to transfer some of this equity into Live Stories.

Facebook has been slowly trialing mid-roll ads on its own Live platform; something its sister company could turn to potentially turn to in the future if it wants to open up further revenue streams. The latest feature has the power to support this strategy by encouraging users to share real-time content in a less intimidating way alongside friends, rather than individually.

Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

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