Instagram started testing a new video feature to compete with TikTok and YouTube, which will take place over the next six months with a focus on creators, video, shopping & messaging.

This new feature will be different from Reels, which launched in August 2020, with the aim to compete with creators and users of TikTok, including algorithm-recommended videos from accounts that people do not currently follow.

This emphasis on video comes as TikTok continues to dominate the social media space. Among the top five non-game apps in May, TikTok was ranked No. 1 by downloads and was the only app not owned by Facebook, to make the list. It is estimated that TikTok was installed 80 million times in May, compared with 53 million for Facebook’s main app.

Facebook’s goal with this testing seems to be to transform Instagram from a photo-sharing app to more of a social video app TikTok. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced the plan to show full-screen, recommended videos in user feeds.

“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app,” Mosseri said. “Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge. YouTube is even bigger, and there’s lots of other upstarts as well.”

Why this is important:

Users will start to see Instagram’s changes in their feed including recommended videos and accounts. Since this is a new feature that will be slow to roll out, there will be many updates along the way. As Mosseri acknowledges:

“We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly — full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video. You’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months.”

That said, this new feature is perfect for brands that already have a social media presence on Instagram, allowing them to post more TikTok-like videos. If this is an opportunity your brand would like to pursue, contact us about testing.

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