At least six months ago, voice messaging within Direct on Instagram was observed by industry gurus as being in a testing mode, which meant logically that when perfected, it would be rolled out to the general population of users. That time has now come for both iOS and Android users, and Instagram is rolling out its voice messaging within Direct, to provide users one more way of keeping in touch with each other.
How to record and send voice messages
In Instagram, the process of recording and sending voice messages is pretty simple, so no one should have any trouble figuring out how to keep in touch with their friends. First, you have to hold down the new microphone icon which appears in the messaging user interface, so that you can record your message. Once you’ve recorded the message you intend to send, it will appear iconically as a waveform within the thread of your chat. Any messages which you record can be up to 60 seconds in duration, and they will remain in the system rather than being automatically deleted after a certain amount of time passes by.
You can record voice messages for either one-on-one transmissions or for group chats which include a number of people. The usage procedure for Instagram’s voice messaging differs from that of WhatsApp, where you first choose the recipient and then send your message. On Instagram, you’ll have the capability of recording the message first, and then sharing it with either a single contact you have, or a group of contacts all at once. Although this is not a major difference, it may appeal to some users who prefer to record first before deciding who the recipients should be.
Popularity of voice messaging
It’s difficult to tell how popular the new voice messaging will become for Instagram users, especially since voice messaging is available on other platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. Since there are no statistics available on usage, there will be no way to tell just how popular voice messaging within Instagram is becoming, unless the powers that be choose to announce those numbers to the general public. Earlier this year, Facebook launched its voice messaging as a kind of status update option, and it became very popular, because it included a benefit which negated the requirement to have to type in different languages.
Typing in different languages is often much more difficult than speaking in those same languages, especially when you’re exposed to those conversations on a frequent basis. This was especially useful in Facebook’s case, because the country of India was the main target at launch time, and because so many different languages and dialects are used within that country, due to its cultural diversity.
LinkedIn also launched a version of voice clips for messaging in July 2018, and interestingly, India is also LinkedIn’s second biggest market after the US. It’s probably no coincidence then that Instagram’s second biggest market is also India, which makes it fairly clear that the major platforms are accommodating Indian users with their new voice messaging features.
Since Instagram is a Facebook property, this voice messaging rollout is seen as a deeper penetration of Facebook’s entry into the voice messaging market. Facebook has had a pronounced interest in the accessibility of voice messaging for a long time, beginning with its very first efforts in 2013, right on up to its current voice control system Aloha, which works on Facebook’s recently launched Portal video chat screen.
It seems that with this rollout in Instagram, Facebook’s long-standing interest in voice messaging is now heating up, since it is making a concerted effort to install messaging across all its products in 2018. This also raises the interesting question of whether or not Instagram and Portal will eventually team up to provide additional voice messaging and calling capabilities to users. This would undoubtedly make Portal more useful to the legions of Facebook users, but it might also run the risk of reducing Instagram’s credibility with its younger set of users, by the more obvious alignment with Facebook.
Usefulness of voice clips
This new feature provides an off-camera asynchronous option which is intended to be an alternative to the video calling feature which was unveiled by Instagram earlier in the year. This will put it in direct competition with Viber, Zello, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp for voice messaging. This new hands-free direct messaging might position Instagram as a more appealing chat application for people who are on the go all the time, or perhaps drivers, who must keep their hands on the wheel at all times.
It could also be appealing to users in developing nations who desire a more intimate connection, but don’t want to pay the data rates for long audio calls or even video sessions. It may also prove to be very popular for users in those countries where less popular languages are spoken, or where the language is not very compatible with a smartphone keyboard. This would allow them to talk with friends rather than having to type out messages as a means of communication.
With the rollout of Instagram’s new voice messaging clips, it will undoubtedly prove to be at least a novelty which gathers a good deal of attention and usage in Western countries dominated by English-speaking users. However, the practical benefit of voice messaging will probably be more useful in other regions of the world, where non-English speaking users will find greater use for it.
There may also be some appeal to digital marketers, although that aspect of the rollout seems somewhat limited. An additional creative consideration to messaging efforts might bring more attention to your marketing and advertising campaign, although it would require having an open messaging thread with your target audience in the first place. At any rate, the voice messaging option for Instagram has now been officially launched for both iOS and Android, and it’s true usefulness and popularity will soon be evaluated by industry experts.