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As Meta looks to merge users into its metaverse experience, you can expect to see it promoting the use of avatars in more places, as a means to get people more accustomed to engaging via their digital depictions.

Today, it’s Instagram’s turn to get on the avatar train, with a new feature that lets you add an alternative avatar profile photo, which users can then ‘flip’ in-stream.

As you can see in this example, the new ‘dynamic’ profile photos, as Instagram’s calling them, will now include your regular image and an alternative avatar display, which will help to get users more accustomed to representing themselves in digital form within the app.

Meta’s been evolving its 3D avatars over time, with a view to broader metaverse interaction, where, eventually, more of us will be engaging via these cartoonish doppelgangers that we can dress up and customize as we see fit.

That follows on from trends among younger web users, who are now accustomed to interacting via avatars in game worlds like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite, among others. Logically, it follows that these users, as they grow up, will find it increasingly natural to engage via digital characters, which is a key element in Meta’s metaverse push, in moving us towards more interactive, immersive experiences, either via AR, VR or just your PC.

Essentially, by promoting the use of avatars as a form of digital identity, Meta can then encourage more people to engage through their digital characters, which will be a key part of metaverse engagement.

Meta’s already added a range of avatar stickers and other reaction tools to get users more familiar with this process, with these dynamic profile photos being another step.

It’s an interesting initiative, and it’ll be equally interesting to see who, exactly, takes up the option, and how many people start adding avatar PFPs to their profile.

To add an avatar image to the other side of your profile picture, select ‘Edit Profile’ from your profile page in the app. From there, you’ll see a new option to edit your picture or your avatar at the top of the screen.

Instagram dynamic PFPs

As you can see here, if you don’t have an avatar active, Instagram will then take you through the process of creating one to add on the flip side of your profile image.

When people visit your profile, the image will automatically flip over, once you’ve activated the option. 

It’s a simple way to spark more avatar engagement, and another step towards Meta’s next-level vision.