Instagram has always been the photo-sharing app. Since its creation, budding photographers and bored teens equipped with first-gen smartphones signed up to show the world their snaps.
These generally came in a square format and donned weird and wonderful filters that made selfies look overly edited. But it wasn’t Facebook, it was visual and promoted creative work in various ways. Since then, a lot’s happened to the app, most notably — Facebook bought it. And now it’s a different monster altogether.
Rise of the ‘gram
It’s accumulated over 1 billion active users, gave rise to what we now call influencers and paved the way for many creatives and brands. But there’s a new fad on the block, and Instagram doesn’t want to be left behind. Gotta have the newest toys, eh Insta?
Now the social platform is investing more time and resources in video content. This may establish its position as a major player as a video platform, but it may push away the very people that helped grow the photo-sharing app’s popularity.
Just look at TikTok’s wild growth over the past few years. Video is the current format of choice. It’s every brand, influencer and media platform’s major focus, and if it’s not, they’re dragging behind. Then there’s old faithful YouTube which is currently the second-most visited website on the internet. People love videos, and Insta wants to capitalise. As we all know social platforms have one end-goal, and it’s not to keep their users happy.
Instagram feeling the video vide
Last week, Instagram‘s CEO, Adam Mosseri (who dethroned the co-founders of the app in 2018 — thanks Zuck), said in a video that the platform’s now focusing on ‘creators, video, shopping, and messaging’. There was a distinct focus on ‘video’ throughout his video, and he even name-drops the Chinese short video format app we mentioned earlier.
Changes are coming to video on Instagram 📺
At Instagram we’re always trying to build new features that help you get the most out of your experience. Right now we’re focused on four key areas: Creators, Video, Shopping and Messaging. pic.twitter.com/ezFp4hfDpf
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) June 30, 2021
“One of the early experiments Instagram is going to try out is playing with your feed and giving you more recommendations on topics or interests you might not be explicitly following on the app yet. A recent test by the app puts suggested posts from different topics on your timeline, and let you choose if you want to see more or less content related to that topic,” TNW details what Mosseri plans to do with the app in coming months.
Insta launched IGTV in 2018, but it never really took off — more recently it launched Reels, which has been far more popular. Simply because it follows the full-screen short-style format we know from TikTok. Then there’s also Stories — the wildly popular disappearing content feature blatantly stolen from Snapchat.
More of the same
Right now, social media platforms all seem to feature at least one or two rip-offs from competitors when it comes to features — Facebook’s become an absolute mess of random features that Zuck thought would work because they’re successful in other apps. And a similar thing’s happening to LinkedIn and Instagram.
Nothing’s really unique in Silicon Valley anymore. It’s all about seeing how well you can copy a different app’s features without getting in trouble — a method Facebook’s suite of apps has been increasingly guilty of.