While some of us may still be in the process of getting back to the regular ‘grinding’ schedule after the holiday season, Instagram has been testing and bringing new abilities one after another like there’s no tomorrow.

Unfortunately, not everything new is being documented on Instagram blog, so I piled up all Instagram updates important to users and especially marketers, that came up over the first month of 2018.

Facebook bringing Instagram stories to WhatsApp

According to TechCrunch, Facebook is trialling the ability to post Instagram stories directly to WhatsApp. The ability is allegedly being tested by a small number of users. They get an option to tap their stories to open sharing screen and approve sending the stories to WhatsApp.

Facebook expressed interest in further expanding of Instagram cross-posting abilities to make sharing of important moments easier for the platform’s users.

Type Instagram stories

Another feature in testing is the new kind of Instagram stories called Type, an alternative to photos and videos. The feature allows using text-based messages in different fonts on top of colored background of choosing.

Type has firstly been spotted among Instagram users in Japan and now spreading in some regions of Europe.

GIF stickers

Yet another Stories upgrade has been introduced by Instagram in collaboration with GIPHY, the famous online database of GIFs and animated stickers. All Instagram users can make their photo and video stories more expressive and fun by opening the stickers pannel and picking the new GIF option to search and add animations from GIPHY’s extensive library.

Stories support photos of any size

Previously Instagram stories allowed uploading photos in a portrait layout exclusively, but with the new changes it’s now possible to fit all parts of horizontally framed photos. After uploading users can pinch the image to share it in it’s original dimensions, regardless whether it’s landscape, portrait or square. Extra room can be filled with a custom color gradient that matches the colors of the uploaded photo.

Screenshotted stories alerts

In addition to an already existent practice of notifying users of their private messages being screenshotted, Instagram is trialling Stories screenshot alerts. Users who took screenshot of other Instagram accounts’ Story will receive a warning (as pictured above) that information about further screenshots will be sent to the Stories uploaders.

Last active status shown in DMs

Instagram has added an ability to show the time when you were last active on the platform. The status displays in direct messages to the users you talked to.

The ability’s silent lauch has caused a massive freakout amount the users due to its intrusive nature and being enabled by default. In case you are not eager to share your activity status, you can easily turn it off in the mobile application’s settings. Note that disabling the feature means you won’t be able to see the status of others either.

Post scheduling

The latest changes of the Instagram Graph API let users schedule posts (at last!) In case you weren’t aware, the handy business profiles statistics and comment moderation were introduced thanks to the Graph API updating as well.

The most recent change allows businesses to view posts they’ve been tagged in, view other business profiles, and schedule posts through the applications of Facebook Marketing Partners or Instagram Partners.